As a journalist, he’s covered war zones across the Middle East, but this past spring, Marquette University graduate Jim Foley found himself part of the story when he and three other reporters covering Libyan rebels were overrun by the army loyal to Moammar Gadhafi.
For Foley, this is the shortest and simplest way to describe his six weeks in a Libyan prison:”The worst day was the day it happened. It eventually did get better,” Foley said.Photographer Anton Hammerl was killed, while Foley and the others journalist were beaten and arrested.”Once I saw Anton lying there dead everything changed.
The whole world has changed, I don’t even know that I felt some of the blows,” Foley said.Foley survived his imprisonment and made it back home but he didn’t stay long.By August he returned to Libya and found himself in Gadhafi’s hometown at the same time the former dictator was taken captive and killed.
Foley is in Milwaukee as the speaker at the annual Nieman Lecture series at Marquette University.Foley graduated from Marquette in 1996.
During his imprisonment, his friends organized a prayer vigil at the school.This is the first time he’s been on campus since it all happened.When he talks to students Wednesday he said he will share his story and thank them.”This is to me a way to thank people and be open about what happened, and how I was at times kept afloat by their prayer,” Foley said.
The body of Anton Hammerel, the photographer with Foley when he was imprisoned, has never been found.