Luke Somers Written Letter (2012)
December 10, 2014
Luke Somers, an American photojournalist and an honorary Yemeni, was tragically killed last Saturday in the province of Shabwa during a rescue effort by U.S special forces after Luke was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in 2013. A South African national, Pierre Korkie, was also killed during the raid as well. The South African national was to be released the day after the raid, but his life came to an end the day before. U.S special forces explain that, “They were not aware of any negotiations” for the release of Korkie.
All of Yemen was in state of shock and expressed ultimate sadness when news circulated that Luke and Pierre were killed in this manner. The feeling of devastation still looms over our hearts and souls until today.
No words can describe the amount of emptiness we as Yemenis feel. Luke Somers was a genuine man who showed kindness, care and ultimate passion towards Yemenis and the Yemeni revolution. He was a teacher, a photographer, a story teller, a friend and a family member to countless Yemenis. Most importantly, he was a son to two caring parents. As we send our deepest condolences to the Somers family, we feel that this is still not enough to express our support and emotions towards Luke and his family.
As an American citizen, I want to say to the Somers family that your son has been a symbol of what a true American is: kind, caring and loving to all people.
As a Yemeni, I want to say to the Somers family that we are people of good and we condemn extremism in our country and abroad.
As a Muslim, I want say to the Somers family that extremism is not Islam nor are extremists, Muslims.
One cannot feel the pain of others, but we are scarred and feel that we have lost a friend and brother. Luke wrote a letter in 2012 and it reads:
“If I speak using my mouth, you will not understand a word that I say. so please allow me to say a few words from my heart. I have been in sana’a for one year. In this time, I have seen good men die and good men breathe freedom.
In February of last year, the first time I walked into the camp, a man told me “thank you.” I didn’t know why he said it, but hopefully in some small ways I have earned it. In truth, it is you that I thank. To be allowed to be here for this long historical moment has been a tremendous gift. I have learned that freedom needs to be alive for it to matter. when freedomsits, freedom becomes sleepy. Here in Sana’a, I have seen freedom march through the streets.
I have seen freedom fired upon with bullets. I learned that a friend was murdered because he believed in freedom, a beautiful young man named Helmi. But I have also seen that freedom exists because of such people. Your rewards do not match your efforts. But I believe that your efforts demand a better future, success is the child of belief. Here at change square and at other squares around Yemen, the birth of a new Yemen has taken place.
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said,” Faith is Yemeni, Wisdom is yemeni.” With your permission, let me say one more thing: Revolution, Peaceful Revolution, is Yemeni.”
Luke, Yemenis want to thank YOU for being the person that you were. You were the person that gave off a light during the darkest of times in Yemen. You were the person that smiled when hope was dim. You were the person that left a fingerprint of care to all Yemenis. You were the symbol of change for Yemenis.
The Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) said: “The best richness is the richness of the soul.” Luke, you had a rich soul. I know that God is taking care of you because you were kind to people. The Prophet continues to say, “Whoever is kind, God will be kind to him; therefore be kind to man on the earth. He who is in heaven will show mercy on you.”