‘I Will Not Give In,’ Wrote American Hostage Held by Islamic State
Kayla Mueller sent the letter before her death in Syria
Kayla Mueller went to Syria to fight against suffering. Islamic State operatives kidnapped the 26-year-old American as she left a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo on Aug. 4, 2013.
In July 2014, U.S. Army Delta Force commandos attempted to rescue Mueller and others in Ar Raqqa. The soldiers killed several Islamic State militants, but neither Mueller nor the other hostages were there.
On Feb. 6, Islamic State Mueller died in a Jordanian air strike in Syria. On Feb. 10, her parents confirmed her death, but did not confirm that it occurred during any attack.
While in captivity, Mueller wrote a letter to her family. The family released that letter to the press. We present it here without comment.
If you are receiving this letter it means I am still detained but my cell-mates (starting from 11/2/2014) have been released. I have asked them to contact you & send you this letter. It’s hard to know what to say. Please know that I am in a safe location, completely unharmed & healthy (put on weight in fact). I have been treated with the utmost respect & kindness.
I wanted to write you all a well thought out letter (but I didn’t know if my cell-mates would be leaving in the coming days or the coming months restricting my time but primarily) I could only but write the letter a paragraph at a time, just the thought of you all sends me into a fit of tears.
If you could say I have “suffered” at all through this whole experience it is only in knowing how much suffering I have put you all through.
I will never ask you to forgive me as I do not deserve your forgiveness. I remember Mom always telling me that all in all in the end, the only one you really have is God.
I have come to a place in this experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c literally … there was no else … by God and by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall.
I have been shown darkness, light & have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation. Sometimes we just have to look for it.
I pray each day that if nothing else you have felt a certain closeness & surrender to God as well & I have formed a band of love & support among one another …
I miss you all as if it has been a decade of forced separation. I had many a long hour to think, to think of all the things I will do w/ Lex, our first family camping trip, the first meeting @ the airport.
I have had many hours to think how only in your absence have I finally—@25 years old—come to realize your place in my life. The gift in each one of you & the person I would & could not be if you were not a part of my life, my family, my support.
I DO NOT want the negotiations for my release to be your duty, if there’s any other options, take it, even if it takes more time. This should never have become your burden.
I have asked these women to support you, please seek their advice if you have not done so already. [REDACTED] can contact [REDACTED] who may have a certain level of experience w/ these people.
None of you could have known it would be this long but know I am also fighting from my side. In this way I am able & I have a lot of fight left inside of me. I am not laying down. I will not give in no matter how long it takes.
I wrote a song some months ago that says, “The part of me that pains the most also gets me out of bed. W/out your hope there would be nothing left.”
AKA—the thought of your pain is the source of my own, simultaneously the hope of our reunion is the source of our strength. Please be patient, give your pain to God. I know you would want me to remain strong.
That’s exactly what I am doing. Do not fear for me, continue to pray as will I & by God’s will we will be together soon.
All my everything,