An immeasurable loss

Christopher Lydon of the excellent Radio Open Source pays tribute to Anythony Shadid.

The death of the reporter Anthony Shadid in Syria — apparently of an acute asthma attack — is a tragic blow to our hope of grasping the Arab turmoil, also to the flickering idea of straight journalism. Three dimensions of our loss come immediately to mind. First, Anthony Shadid (with Nir Rosen on my honor roll) was the rarest instance of a mainstream reporter who gave some of his heart to people on the ground suffering through war in Iraq and chaos in North Africa. Second, in Iraq where he’d won two Pulitzers, he framed his work in the understanding that what American force was about was not liberating Iraq, much less democratizing it, but about destroying a country. Third, he had the temerity to speak with us about one further tragedy: that the honored brand of journalism he practiced had shockingly little impact on American consciousness…

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To The Point on Syria, Libya, NATO

I was interviewed on KCRW’s To the Point. The programme focuses on Syria, Libya and foreign intervention. I was in august company – Anthony Shadid, New York Times correspondent and author of the wonderfully-written book on Iraq, Night Draws Near; as well as Blake Hounshell of Foreign Policy magazine.

Is One Iraqi’s Self-Hatred Newsworthy?

Crusaders in Iraq?

M. Shahid Alam

An Arab-American of Lebanese descent, fluent in Arabic, Anthony Shadid was one of a handful of unembedded Western journalists reporting from Iraq during the US invasion in 2003. At the time, he was The Washington Post’s correspondent for Islamic Affairs in the Middle East.

His dispatches from Iraq were about Iraqis, about the destruction visited upon them by a war whose architects claimed that they were bringing democracy to that country. He reported the destruction and mayhem caused by this war by letting the Iraqis speak for themselves: and they spoke of their pain, their anguish, their perplexity and their anger.

For his honest reporting, for a job well done, Anthony Shadid received some of the highest accolades of his profession. In 2004 he received the Michael Kelly Award and the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. Other honors followed, all well-deserved. He had won his spurs for reporting, not cheerleading, neither praising nor denouncing the United States. He was reporting for The Washington Post, a neoconservative newspaper.

On Jan 29, I noticed for the first time a report in The New York Times that carried Anthony Shadid’s byline. Was this a promotion? It was written from Halaichiya, a remote village in the southern tip of Iraq, untouched by the war. The village has never seen Americans before, neither troops nor diplomats.

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