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JIM: The James Foley Story
by Karen Pecota

A Documentary Film by  Brian Oakes (A close childhood friend of Jim)

Featuring the Original  song: "The Empty Chair" Music & Lyrics by J. Ralph & STING

Thanksgiving Day 2012,  American conflict journalist James "Jim" Foley was kidnapped in  Syria. By whom, no one knew. This was Jim's second experience being captured.  In 2011, he was detained by Colonel Gadaffi's Libyan regime. Held forty-four  days and then released.

The Syria kidnapping  was different. Prior to his kidnapping on Thanksgiving Day 2012, Jim traveled  in and out of Syria as a freelance photojournalist since January of that year.  He was home with family in New Hampshire during the month of October for his  birthday. A week before he was kidnapped was the last time his family heard his  voice.

Jim was publicly  executed by ISIS on August 19, 2014, in the Raqqa region of Syria. The infamous  video shown around the world was ISIS showing the world evil on steroids.  Sinister minded power, control and inhumane brutality.  For what measure we ask?

Filmmaker Brian Oakes,  a close childhood friend of Jim Foley, honors Jim's life with his documentary JIM:  The James Foley Story. Oakes wanted the world to know that the kidnappers  took the life of an inspirational human being. One whose legacy will live long  and continue to impact the world for good. ISIS took his life for their selfish  ambition guided by a skewed ideology. To rid the world of a humanitarian who  fought for the underdog, the poor, and the weak. Jim's fight for freedom and justice  will never be in vain because of the lives he touched  and his legacy that lives on and keeps  giving.

While at Marquette  University, Jim served four years with Teach for America, teaching in the inner  city in Phoenix, Arizona. Later while completing an MFA program in writing at  Amherst University, he taught unwed mothers to help them achieve their GED.  And, English to inmates at the Cook County jail. Jim was a man with a heart of  compassion. He used his skills to be of value to society.

Jim's passion for  writing was the avenue he needed as a conflict journalist to reach out to the  poor, the disadvantaged and those suffering amid conflict. His job took him to  the front lines of conflict but not as a traditional journalist. Yes, he  reported on and filed many frontline stories for his outlets. Jim was a  relationship builder. He connected with the people. He lived among the locals  everywhere he went. He was loved and received by many who were not his own.

Who better to tell  Jim's story than a true forever friend. A comrade. A pal. Brian Oakes. Oakes  takes the opportunity to attempt to erase the last visual the world has of  Jim's public death. He takes his film audience on a journey that honors Jim's  incredible integrity and lover of people. Oakes interviews family, friends and  fellow journalists who share intimately the impact Jim left on their lives.  Moving were the descriptions by former hostages sharing chilling details of  their captivity. An untold story of courage and perseverance. Oakes includes footage  Foley shot himself, animated diagrams, and "carefully rendered  recreations" of his daily life in captivity. Striking are the  recollections of his nineteen fellow captives who could not express enough how  thankful they were to have known Jim. His behavior as a comrade will never be  forgotten. His His example of bravery, valor and compassion not only changed  their lives but each, if they lived, would strive to be like him.

The documentary notes:  "The reason to tell Jim's story is two-fold. If one remains silent it  helps two types of people. 1) The Government because they don't have to do  something quickly, 2) The Captors so they are empowered to do anything they  want."

The James W. Foley  Legacy Foundation, set-up by his family, is one way to keep his legacy alive.  The family says, "Jim envisioned a world that respects the dignity and  life of each person, regardless of socioeconomic status, cultural background or  nationality." They add, "His life demonstrated uncompromising  commitment to the freedom of the press and to advocacy for basic human  rights." Continuing, "Jim is known for his caring and joyful spirit,  commitment, and bold idealism in an often cynical world." Jim was driven  by a deep compassion for those without a voice.

The  Foundation's main goals are three-fold: To be an advocate for the release of  American hostages kidnapped abroad by partnering with the USG and American  media and to establish a resource center for American hostage families; To  support press freedom and the rights of freelance journalists; and, to promote  educations opportunities for disadvantage youth. For more information, go to: