Earlier today, the family of a Georgetown University law student Austin Tice reported that they have not heard from their son in over a week. Tice (SFS ’02, LAW ’13), 31-years-old, has spent the past summer in Syria reporting as a freelance journalist for the Washington Post and other major news organizations. His articles provided unmatched first-hand insight into the country’s civil war.
According to the Post, Tice was one of the few Western journalists reporting from Damcascus in July. “We’re focused intensively on trying to ascertain his whereabouts and ensure his safe return,” executive editor of the Post Marcus Brauchli said in a statement released today. “Austin is a talented and courageous journalist whose work has helped to shape the world’s understanding of this humanitarian and political crisis.”
Tice also contributed several articles to McClatchy, a publishing company that distributes to several daily newspapers. McClatchy Vice President Anders Gyllenhaal said in a statement that the editors have sought help from the State Department and Syrian intermediaries to retrace Tice’s location.
The Post published today Tice’s most recent Facebook post in which he defended his decision to go to Syria in the middle of an extremely dangerous civil war. The post, dated July 25, was an attempt to assuage the fears of his family and friends and explain the importance of his efforts.
In the Facebook post, Tice claims that the “American pioneer spirit” of the past is lost “sometime between when our granddads licked the Nazis and when we started putting warnings on our coffee cups about the temperature of our beverage,” he wrote. “No, I don’t have a death wish – I have a life wish. So I’m living, in a place, at a time and with a people where life means more than anywhere I’ve ever been – because every single day people here lay down their own for the sake of others. Coming here to Syria is the greatest thing I’ve ever done, and it’s the greatest feeling of my life.”
Vox will continue to update this post as investigations continue.
Photo from Washington Post