Luke was a wonderfully polite young American who came from a modest background. He came to Yemen as a freelance photo-journalist in search of ways to expand his skills and resume. Being a native English speaker allowed him to undertake editorial tasks for English based newspapers.
The above statement paints an image of a successful young man working tirelessly in a nation in desperate need of his skills, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
Luke was underpaid and overworked; He was poor and barely made enough money to pay for rent and food. Despite all that, Luke remained humble and respectful to Yemen’s traditions, religious customs, culture, and was loved and respected by many of his colleagues.
In mid-2013, he was hired by the NDC Secretariat to work as an online editor and photo-journalist for the NDC web portal. After several months of having a stable paying job, Luke made enough money to return to the US to visit his family, but his dream was abducted along with him one week from his departure date.
The kidnapping took place while grocery shopping at a supermarket in the capital’s busy downtown district, approximately a 100 yards from the Presidential Office, and less than a mile from the Ministry of Defense.
Luke was a genuine human being, and although he’s gone, his legacy lives on. It is a legacy full of love, compassion, constant struggle and never giving up on each other as human beings.
Until we meet again, my dear friend.