The brother of Kenji Goto, who was killed by Islamic State militants, called Wednesday for an end to the cycle of bloodshed after further executions were reported in the Middle East.
“I do not want the cycle and chain of bloodshed to continue,” Junichi Goto said. Jordan executed two Iraqi death-row inmates Wednesday morning, including convicted terrorist Sajida al-Rishawi, after a video was released online apparently showing the killing of a captive Jordanian military pilot by Islamic State militants.
“Such acts negate the death of Kenji, who was working for peace,” 55-year-old Goto said in an interview with Kyodo News.
Goto had long been proud of his 47-year-old brother, who was working as a journalist. “He risked his life to do a wonderful job,” Goto said.
Goto had been worried since November when he learned his brother had disappeared in Syria. At one point he hoped his brother’s life could be saved in exchange for the release of al-Rishawi, but as the process dragged on and two days passed following the deadline presented by the extremist group, he feared Kenji might not survive.
On Sunday morning, Goto was overwhelmed by news that his brother had been beheaded.
“Kenji did not look fearful at all when I saw the footage. I believe he showed dignity,” Goto said.
Though Goto and his brother had not communicated frequently recently, they had a good relationship, with Kenji sending his books and the dates his reports would air.
Recalling 10 to 15 years ago, when Kenji was helping Goto run a cram school, he said Kenji was “strict, kind and very passionate” when teaching students.
After the news that Kenji had been taken hostage, many former students called the cram school, Goto said, adding he impressed the students with his work focusing on children living in deprived areas overseas.
In previous interviews Goto has expressed his appreciation for those who showed their support by holding gatherings and posting pictures of themselves on the Internet with cards saying “I am Kenji.”
“I think Kenji was bitterly disappointed after becoming embroiled in the cycle of bloodshed, which was the opposite of what he wanted to convey,” Goto said.