July 20, 2019 | 85° F

ISIS hostage situation hits close to home

On Oct. 1, 2013, the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria took my cousin Peter Kassig captive. He was on his way to Deir Ezzor in Eastern Syria with Special Emergency Response and Assistance, the humanitarian organization he founded. His parents, Paula and Edward Kassig, kept silent about this for a year until a video of the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning was released on Oct. 3, 2014 because they proclaimed Peter would be next. As far as I knew, he was in the Middle East working with people who gave him medical attention, training and food. He lives to do the most good he can because all he wants to do is help, not harm anyone.

This made the news of his capture that much more of shock. That moment was absolutely surreal. A lot of times, everything on the news seems to have little to do with you, especially when it’s somewhere “over there.” Now “over there” is at my doorstep. Half a world away, Peter is in some dusty country in the Middle East going through something I can’t even imagine. Right now, there is nothing I want more than to see Peter, to make sure he’s okay. I pray that God watches over him and brings him home. For now, I don’t know much about what’s going on. I am mostly relying on the news to keep up with him. My family and I can only hope he comes home unscathed.

My cousins Edward and Paula have left their home, for the moment at least, to escape media attention. At this time, I do not know where they are. If you happen to be reading this, I hope and pray you stay strong. You two and Peter have not left my thoughts and prayers since Friday. I think I can speak for the family when I say we can’t wait for his safe return.

Dan is a School of Arts and Sciences junior. Dan requested the omission of his personal information for privacy’s sake.


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