Remember Their Names

They have a name

I look at the picture and read through the names. 21 in all. They feel familiar, though rusty, on my tongue. Reading these names, praying as I read them feels like the best thing I can do to honor these men.

There is something important about remembering their names. There is something defiant in the act of saying the names, of saying them aloud, of making sure people know they are not nobodies.

The men were laborers in Libya for economic reasons. ISIS captured them because they were “people of the cross.” They are brothers and sons, employees and friends, husbands and confidantes. Each of the 21 men who died is known by name. And when we remember their names, we honor them.

The president of Egypt announced seven days of mourning for the nation and Christians and Muslims are coming together to grieve with the families of the victims.

Friends from Egypt sent out a message yesterday. They will be slowly visiting the families of the men who were murdered. They will sit and grieve with them; mourn the loss of these young men. And they will remember their names. 


Last week in the city of Chapel Hill, three people were murdered. They were murdered in their home, their safe haven. Pictures show Chapel Hill to be a charming city, indeed those I know who have lived there love it. It is a university city, home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

But three Muslims, one man and two women, were murdered by an atheist motivated by hate.

I read through their names slowly. Deah Barakat, his wife – Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, her sister – Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. They are 23, 21, and 19 respectively. Deah was a University of North Carolina dental student. Reports say they were newly married, scheduled to receive their wedding photographs on the week they were killed.

They loved the diversity of America and were active members of their community. Yusor was quoted as saying this last summer: “Growing up in America has been such a blessing. It doesn’t matter where you come from. There’s so many different people from so many different places, of different backgrounds and religions — but here, we’re all one.” 

The enemy would have us forget, the enemy would have us remember the name ISIS, the name of the one who murdered Deah, Yusor, and Razan. Instead, we remember the names of those who died.


 Will you remember these names with me today? 

6 thoughts on “Remember Their Names

  1. Thank you Marilyn for the challenges in your last two posts particularly… you might like to know that in a little village of 450 people in southern NZ last night, a group of 6 women reflected on the thoughts from yesterday’s blog post, that we too share that same spirit of “evil” which denies life giving love and hope to people, whenever we shun another, and decide who to give and withhold our love, kindness, time and gifts from… it was a sobering challenge. And we prayed for the families of the victims – so good to have names today – and also for the perpetrators of such violence – people, also made in the image of God, and loved within their families, able to hug their children, to love their families… impossible to comprehend, and definitely not a collusion with their decisions… but we know that when we repay hatred with hatred, we become like the father of hatred – and we must challenge ourselves to follow the Father Who showed unconditional Love. We did not have words, so we used the words of Jesus: “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing” and of the liturgy “Lord have mercy.” God bless you for your challenging posts, and expanding our thinking way down here. Thanks – Helen


    1. Helen – this comment was so lovely, so encouraging! Hello to all 6 of you. Thank you for reading. More so for praying. I too feel deeply challenged. Love to you this day.


  2. Reblogged this on politiforum and commented:
    How can God forgive them for these atrocities against humanity? Surely, these 21 Coptic Christians shall not die in vain !!! God does not want this !!! Civilized humanity will not condone such an act of brutality and violence !!! May God give these victims peace !!! May God give the world the strength to stand up to these murderous tyrants.


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