Steven Sotloff's Family Breaks Silence, Says He Wasn't A Hero But A "Mere Man"
As the Obama administration struggles with serious threats of danger from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the family of slain journalist Steven Sotloff broke their silence on Wednesday, remembering his spirit and virtues yet emphasizing that the 31-year-old writer was "no war junkie." Family spokesperson Barak Barfi told reporters that the family wanted to highlight Sotloff's work, which always tried to find "the good concealed in a world of darkness." Sotloff was freelance reporting in Syria at the time of his abduction by members of ISIS in August 2013.
According to his family, Sotloff was called to the Middle East because he wanted to tell true stories of its people — not because he was addicted to war or danger. The family said that Sotloff was "no hero," but a "mere man" and dedicated reporter who also desired a simple life.
The Sotloff family released this statement through their spokesperson:
[Steve] yearned for a tranquil life where he could enjoy Miami Dolphins games on Sunday, and a banal office job on Monday that would provide him a comfortable, middle-class existence. He was no war junkie. He did not want to be a modern-day Lawrence of Arabia. He merely wanted to give voice to those who had none. From the Libyan doctor in Misrata who struggled to provide psychological services to children ravaged by war, to the Syrian plumber who risked his life by crossing regime lines to purchase medicine, their story was Steve's story. He ultimately sacrificed his life to bring their story to the world. Steve was no hero. Like all of us, he was a mere man who tried to find good concealed in a world of darkness. And if it did not exist, he tried to create it.
"Today we grieve. This week we mourn," the family added. They also sent their prayers to the family of James Foley, calling the photojournalist murdered by ISIS two weeks earlier "an inspiration to others."
Barfi said the family has asked for privacy as they continue to grieve. A memorial for Sotloff has been scheduled for Friday at a local temple in Miami.
Sotloff's alma mater, University of Central Florida, also held a candlelight vigil for him on Wednesday night. According to The Orlando Sentinel, a sign posted in the university's communications building read: "Bravo Steven Sotloff for he sought truth unto death."
UCF President John C. Hitt has also released a statement:
Our UCF family mourns Steven’s death, and we join millions of people around the world who are outraged at this despicable and unjustifiable act.
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