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Kingswood graduate being held in Libya

James Foley remembered by many friends in Wolfeboro

KINGSWOOD GRADUATE JAMES FOLEY was captured in Libya on Tuesday, April 5 along with three other journalists. (Courtesy photo) (click for larger version)
April 14, 2011
WOLFEBORO — The war in Libya may seem distant to some, but not to the family and friends of James Foley, a 1992 graduate of Kingswood Regional High School. Foley, a freelance journalist on the ground in Libya for GlobalPost.com, a Boston based news organization, was captured on Tuesday, April 5 along with three other journalists outside of Braga.

Atlantic editor James Bennet made a statement that they, including a reporter for the Atlantic, were seen in official detention in Tripoli, but according to the Atlantic, "they have not been allowed contact with anyone outside of the Libyan government, which has not acknowledged it is holding them."

Foley's parents, Dr. John Foley and his wife Diane, moved to Rochester shortly after Foley's graduation. Former neighbor, Terrie Rogers, speaking for the Kingswood community, said that the family is in "our thoughts and prayers."

High school classmate Jeremy Osgood describes Foley, "as one of the most passionate guys in the world," and said that he last saw James, who was a groomsman in his wedding party not long after graduating from college, in January. They met for dinner at the Wolfeboro Inn.

"His Facebook page disappeared the day after he was captured," says Osgood, who had been reading Foley's Twitter feeds and watching the video clips posted by Foley from the warfront. Reading the messages on Foley's Facebook page over the time Foley was embedded in Iraq and Afghanistan, he says it was obvious that "the soldiers looked up to him." Perhaps the age difference had something to do with it; they're in their twenties and he's 37. "He's so laid back," says Osgood.

"They'd write, 'Are you coming with us?'…He's all about the down and out, who needs their story told. He's always in the hot spots."

A visit to GlobalPost.com provides access to numerous Foley reports. "Who are the Libyan rebels?" gives startlingly intimate footage of the war – interviews, punctuated by sudden loud gunfire and rockets. An accountant cradling a rifle says that his family "came here (Libya) to take our freedom." Another usually works in oil fields. Rockets go off. The soldiers scatter.

The camera comes in for a closeup of the face of a rebel as they ride in a truck. Shots ring out. The citizen turned soldier reacts, "Oh, God!" then mutters bitterly,"I love freedom. I hate Qaddafi."

Foley describes the rebels as "dedicated volunteers who retreat in the face of fire… brave as individuals but many show a dangerous lack of weapons training…They want to defeat Qaddafi themselves and be part of the world that is now on their side."

In the silence since Foley's capture, Peter Bouckaert, director of emergencies for Human Rights Watch, said in recent press reports that the confirmation that the journalists are being held is an important step in a process to get them released. The world, and Wolfeboro, awaits a positive outcome.

To read Foley's reports from the front, go to GlobalPost.com or google "A World of Troubles" James Foley to visit his blog.

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