November 16, 2014

Peter Kassig 'saved countless lives' in Syria | Channel 4 News

"I am obviously pretty scared to die but the hardest part is not knowing, wondering, hoping, and wondering if I should even hope at all. I am very sad that all this has happened and for what all of you back home are going through. If I do die, I figure that at least you and I can seek refuge and comfort in knowing that I went out as a result of trying to alleviate suffering and helping those in need." - Abdul-Rahman Kassig

"Kassig was one of many itinerant idealists in Beirut, Syrian and foreign alike, who were drawn to the uprising: students gave up their classes to stand in front of tanks, doctors left lucrative practices to treat patients on the front lines, Western journalists wanted to share the war with the world. What set Kassig apart from many of them was his intense drive and restless engagement with his surroundings. While friends drank beer at bars on Gemmayze Street, Kassig grabbed camping gear and set out for the mountains. He visited the Palestinian refugee camps that dot the landscape around Beirut, thinking about ways to bring solar power and other utilities into those neglected communities. Later, as the war in Syria encroached on Lebanon’s borders, sending desperate and wounded civilians into rural communities in the north, Kassig travelled to Tripoli to volunteer his services at a clinic, suturing wounds and comforting the dying. (He had received medical training in the Army and had studied to be an E.M.T. in Indiana.)

Kassig’s compulsion to return to Syria was complex—a combination of genuine bravery and altruism and his own, more personal impulses. “We each get one life and that’s it,” he told CNN in the summer of 2012. “We get one shot at this, and we don’t get any do-overs, and, for me, it was time to put up or shut up. The way I saw it, I didn’t have a choice. This is what I was put here to do. I guess I am just a hopeless romantic, and I am an idealist, and I believe in hopeless causes.”" - Joshua Hersh, "Peter Kassig in Beirut" The New Yorker, October 9, 2014.
Title: Peter Kassig 'saved countless lives' in Syria | Channel 4 News. Date Published: November 16, 2014. Description:
The Wall Street Journal’s Middle East correspondent Maria Abi-Habib tells Cathy Newman that her friend Peter Kassig became a pacifist after training as a US ranger, adding "he spent alot of time helping patch people up."