The wife of David Cawthorne Haines, a hostage taken by ISIL, spoke for the first time since her husband was shown in the beheading video of Steven Sotloff. He is the third hostage shown in a video by ISIL, the first being James Foley, shown on August 19th in a tragic execution video.
Haines disappeared a year and a half ago while working with a French humanitarian organization. "Nobody can understand how we are feeling. My daughter keeps asking about him every day. She hasn't seen her father for a year and a half. She has gone through so much. She sees me crying all the time," Dragana Haines said to The Telegraph of the couple's four-year-old daughter, "My daughter was on a playdate and I had to bring her home when I got the news. I just can't digest it right now. We just don't want to do anything to endanger his life."
Haines is a British citizen and a security manager, unlike the last two hostages, who were American journalists. Haines is 44 years old and the father of two. The couple was married in 2010, and his first child is from a previous marriage. He was born in Humberside, a town in Northern England, but was raised in Scotland. Haines worked for five years helping locals rebuild after the Balkans war, creating 800 houses in the process.
His landlady, Nena Skoric, spoke very highly of his humanitarian work, "To me, it was like God had sent David to this place. It didn't matter to him whether people were Croats, Serbs or Muslims, as long as they needed help. Many of the people from all sides had destroyed each other's houses during the war. There were many families who had lost everything. But they all loved David. For years after he left they would come here and ask how he was. He was such a good man and he was like one of my family." Much of his rebuilding efforts were to assist displaced Muslim families in Croatia. "I don't know what is wrong with the kidnappers. Don't they know he was helping Muslims? They don't seem to care about that."
Haines former home of Petrinja, Croatia, where he worked so hard to rebuild, has been shocked by the news. He organized the Music Against Mines charity concert to aid his townsmen in 2003 and in 2004, he left to continue humanitarian efforts in Libya and South Sudan. He was in contact with his Petrinja landlord up until his abduction from a north Syrian refugee camp on March 12, 2013.
David has been working as a humanitarian since 1999, helping victims of conflict in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East. When he was taken hostage in March 2013, David was in Syria as part of Acted's humanitarian effort in support of tens of thousands of people affected by the crisis. We have been mobilized from day one with David's family. More than ever, we are pursuing our efforts, and our thoughts are with David and his family. Acted strongly condemns the violence and threats against David. A man's life should never be threatened on account of his humanitarian commitment. Once again, we call upon the immediate release of David."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.