Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

The upcoming release of “American Mother,” co-authored by Diane Foley and Irish writer Colum McCann, sheds light on the scathing criticism directed at former US President Barack Obama’s hostage policy.

The book narrates the tragic story of journalist James Foley, who was abducted and executed by the Islamic State in 2012 while covering the Syrian civil war. Scheduled for release in Britain in February and the United States in March, the work exposes the anguish and frustration Diane Foley experienced during the 21 months her son spent in captivity.

Foley’s execution, depicted in a propaganda video for the self-proclaimed “caliphate,” prompted his mother to challenge the Obama administration’s hostage policy. Diane Foley recounts her desperate attempts to seek help, highlighting her frustration with a government that seemed indifferent to the plight of American hostages. The book asserts that the Obama administration adhered staunchly to a no-negotiation policy, contrasting with other nations, such as France, which reportedly secured hostage releases through secret ransom payments, a claim denied by governments to discourage further abductions.

In a significant revelation, “American Mother” details Diane Foley’s direct confrontation with President Obama at the White House three months after her son’s death. Despite Obama’s assurance that James was a “number one priority,” Foley maintains that US hostages were effectively abandoned by their government. A decade later, Foley finds some consolation in the shift in US policy, with negotiations allowed in 2015, leading to the establishment of a special envoy for hostages in 2020, garnering bipartisan support.

The book unveils the emotional toll on Diane Foley, who had traveled to Washington seeking assistance, only to face deception and obstacles. It exposes her displeasure at Obama’s condolences during a vacation, coupled with a golfing photograph, suggesting a lack of empathy. Despite the emotional nature of the narrative, Foley entrusted the writing to McCann, known for his bestselling work “Apeirogon,” navigating themes of compassion, forgiveness, and the profound impact of violence. The book underscores the evolution of US hostage policies, spurred in part by the tragic fate of James Foley and the determined advocacy of his grieving mother.

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