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American Journalist James Foley Described Being Drawn to Danger

James Foley said seeing "something really violent, it does a strange thing to you."
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Days after he was released from a Libyan prison, James Foley told American journalism students at his alma mater that surviving a harrowing event "doesn't always repel you" but instead can draw you back to danger.

Foley, a photojournalist now presumed killed at the hands of an Islamic militant, spoke at Northwestern University in June 2011. He had just been freed from 44 days of captivity after being taken by pro-Gaddafi forces during the civil war in Libya. A fellow photographer was killed during the attack that led to his capture.

"The honest fact is when you see something really violent, it does a strange thing to you," Foley told his audience. "It doesn't always repel you, sometimes, as you know, it draws you closer. Feeling like you've survived something — it's a strange sort of force that you are drawn back to. I think that's the absolute reality."

Seventeen months later, Foley was taken captive by Islamic militants in Syria.



— Patrick Garrity