Abdul-Rahman Kassig in his own words
Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known as Peter, stayed in touch with loved ones throughout his stay in the Middle East - including his captivity - in which he spoke movingly about his work. Below are excerpts from his writings released by his family.
Email from Beirut, 18 March 2012
Here, in this land, I have found my calling. I have lived a selfish life, I have run until I could not run anymore.
I do not know much, every day that I am here I have more questions and less answers, but what I do know is that I have a chance to do something here, to take a stand. To make a difference.
Email to professors and mentors, March 2012
I may never be a hero, but there is beauty in survival and grace in finding a way to live amongst hardship even if there is no silver lining.
To attain a pureness of spirit I must never stop working to improve myself. It is okay to be happy and content but satisfaction and complacency should be guarded against at all costs.
Email to a friend, May 2012
How will I tell you of the walls riddled with bullets and the flowers that grow over them? (...)
War never ends, it just moves around. But we will be there too and when they come so will we.
Loss and destruction in this land brings about only survival; the determination to press on and rebuild (...)
To rubble and dust and back again. there's just nothing else. I can't be sure but I think I'm starting believe that as beautiful as it is to finish building a house, it's a better feeling laying the first brick again after its been torn down.
Letter to parents from captivity, early 2014
We have been held together, us foreigners (...) Mentally I am pretty sure this is the hardest thing a man can go through, the stress and fear are incredible but I am coping as best I can. I am not alone. I have friends, we laugh, we play chess, we play trivia to stay sharp, and we share stories and dreams of home and loved ones (...)
They tell us you have abandoned us and/or don't care but of course we know you are doing everything you can and more. Don't worry Dad, if I do go down, I won't go thinking anything but what I know to be true. That you and mom love me more than the moon & the stars.
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.