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International Reporting: The War in Iraq

International Reporting: The War in Iraq

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International Reporting: The War in Iraq

165 Seiten
2 Stunden
Sep 14, 2014


The in-depth coverage of the Iraq War that earned Anthony Shadid of the Washington Post the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting.
On the eve of the war in Iraq, all news correspondents were ordered to leave Baghdad for the sake of their safety. Many streamed out. One man, instead, went deeper. At his own peril, Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Anthony Shadid chose to stay, armed only with his convictions that the coming events would shake the Middle East to its core.
What followed Shadid’s decision was insightful, honest, and compassionate reporting, straight from Baghdad. With exceptional bravery, he gave readers an honest and powerful view of the common Iraqi citizen’s experience of the war, as well as haunting coverage of the aftermath. With it, he succeeded in showing a profoundly human side of these events, and the new struggles that followed in its wake.
Sep 14, 2014

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International Reporting - Anthony Shadid

The Washington Post Pulitzers

Anthony Shadid

International Reporting


Diversion Books

A Division of Diversion Publishing Corp.

443 Park Avenue South, Suite 1008

New York, NY 10016

Copyright © 2014 by The Washington Post

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

For more information, email

First Diversion Books edition July 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62681-372-4


On the eve of the war in Iraq, as news organizations ordered correspondents to leave Baghdad for their safety, Anthony Shadid called his editor at home in Washington before dawn. His first words were, I am basically begging you to let me stay. There was no bravado in his voice. He described precautions he had taken, and then his conviction that what was about to occur would shake the Middle East to its core. I’ve prepared for this story my whole career, he said. Please let me do this.

Over the next weeks, Shadid’s lyrical and poignant dispatches from Baghdad gave readers of The Washington Post a searing view of Iraqis’ experience of the war. Over the next months, his insightful reporting and original prose revealed hidden forces determining the direction of the U.S. occupation and the future of Iraq. Over the next few years, in scores of front-page stories, he demonstrated how a lone reporter — with a mission to inform and exceptional skill, courage, and stamina — can uncover the human factors at the center of a conflict, and change the public’s understanding of a major event.

Shadid, a Lebanese American from Oklahoma, is one of only a handful of foreign correspondents who has won the Pulitzer Prize twice. He won once in 2004 for chronicling the beginning of the war, and again in 2010 as the United States departed and Iraq’s people and leaders struggled to deal with the legacy of war and to shape the nation’s future.

From the first explosions in Baghdad, Shadid’s stories stood alone. While common Iraqis were invisible in most media coverage of the shock and awe campaign, they were the focus of Shadid’s work. His account of a family living beneath the bombs was striking for its intimacy, and for giving voice to Iraqis’ complex emotions about the war. His spot stories on civilian casualties were classic war correspondence in their richness of detail and unvarnished description. His story of the burial of 14-year-old Arkan Daif was perhaps the most evocative and meticulously reported story of a civilian death produced during the conflict. Each of these stories required courage in both the reporting and writing. Without glossing over the confusion and contradictions of wartime, the stories bore witness by being grounded in first-hand observation and transparent, striking prose. Nothing came closer to putting readers there.

Shadid’s stories gave readers unmatched access to Iraqis’ lives, a reflection of his access. The son of Lebanese immigrants to the United States, he drew on fluent Arabic and a decade’s experience reporting in the Middle East. This included combat experience — in 2002 he was shot and seriously wounded while covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Roaming Baghdad at the height of the bombing, he was able to cross government checkpoints undetected and visit Iraqis in their homes. He also gained the complicity of his official minder, or government escort. The minder looked the other way while Shadid conducted unsupervised interviews, and introduced him to Baath Party members opposed to Saddam Hussein.

But Shadid’s stories did more than show the human side of the war; they were a guide to its complex aftermath. He captured the central role of religious belief in shaping Iraqis’ views of the war, and the ambivalence many felt toward the United States despite their loathing of Hussein. His coverage created a portrait — haunting to read months later — of people grateful for freedom but wary of U.S. forces.

His run of war correspondence — measured by reader response and its impact on the paper’s presentation of the conflict — was as influential as any in The Post’s history.

He changed the way we saw Iraq, Egypt, Syria over the last, crucial decade, said Phil Bennett, the former managing editor of The Post who worked closely with Shadid. There is no one to replace him.

Marty Baron, editor of the Boston Globe, for which Shadid worked before joining The Post in 2003, recalled rushing to Israel in 2002 after Shadid, then a Globe reporter, was shot while covering demonstrations on the West Bank.

It was amazing, seeing him in the hospital. Here was a person that, despite what happened to him, was still remarkably positive about things, demonstrated a real eagerness to get out of the hospital, get back in the field, said Baron. It was clear his wounds were not going to stop him, even though it looked like he was going to have severely limited mobility in at least one of his shoulders. He was amazingly resilient. He had such a love for the story of the region, and a passion for telling that story.

Steve Fainaru, a former Post reporter who worked extensively with Shadid in Iraq and also won a Pulitzer for his own work, recalled him as the best journalist I’d ever seen — without any question.

He wrote poetry on deadline, Fainaru said. What made him so great as a journalist [was that] he was able to somehow find compassion and empathy in everything he touched and wrote about.

Anthony Shadid’s magic was reporting, said former Post foreign editor David Hoffman, who also worked closely with Shadid.

Everywhere he went, he absorbed stories about people and their trials. Once when he was working on his second book, ‘Night Draws Near,’ we had a long talk about how to do it. And I saw how he did it: bundles of notebooks from Iraq, thousands of pages — stories, impressions, smells and sights. One young girl’s diary about those terrible days of war became part of the book, but the diary came to life in his hands.

Hoffman recalled a memo Shadid wrote in early 2006 about wanting to probe what would happen when the frozen leadership of Arab countries cracked.

He wrote: To me, this moment is no less sweeping than that experienced by Eastern Europe in the aftermath of the Cold War.

And he was right, said Hoffman. The Arab Spring was what he had been waiting for.

But Shadid’s own story ends as tragically as many of his dispatches did.

In 2012, after he left the Post for the New York Times, Shadid had been reporting in Syria for a week on rebels battling the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Tyler Hicks, a New York Times photographer who was accompanying Shadid, said Shadid had asthma and carried medication with him. Shadid began to exhibit symptoms, and they escalated into what became a fatal attack, according to Hicks’s account.

The two men had entered the country in defiance of a Syrian ban on Western reporters, sneaking in at night under barbed wire. They were met by guides on horseback, and Shadid apparently had an adverse reaction to the horses. A week later, as they made their way out, he reacted to the horses again. I stood next to him and asked if he was okay, and then he collapsed, Hicks said. Hicks attempted to revive his colleague and then carried him across the border into Turkey. The news of Shadid’s death sent shock waves through newsrooms in New York, Boston and Washington, where journalists who had worked with Shadid at those cities’ three leading newspapers recalled a colleague of deep intellect, enormous generosity and a well-tuned, ironic sense of humor. It was an ironic end for a man who placed himself in the path of danger countless times.

Anthony Shadid did not simply lead the pack, but struck out in a direction where few could follow. As he went, he recognized truths about Iraq, and about himself. He was the right journalist, at the right moment, on the story of a lifetime. He had prepared his entire career to get it right. He did more than that.

The 2004 Pulitzer Prize

International Reporting

Awarded to Anthony Shadid of The Washington Post for his extraordinary ability to capture, at personal peril, the voices and emotions of Iraqis as their country was invaded, their leader toppled and their way of life upended.

'We're in a Dark, Dark Tunnel'

Family Weathers Attacks, Prepares for U.S. Siege

Monday, March 24, 2003

BAGHDAD, March 23—The melancholy wail sailed across the city and pierced the walls of the middle-class Baghdad home. The sleepless family listened in silence until the mother, her face lined with fear and pain, shook her head.

Siren, she whispered.

At that, her daughter jumped up and threw open the door. She ran to open the windows next, fearful the blast would shatter them. The son sprinted outside, hoping to spot a low-flying cruise missile that would send the family huddling, yet again, in a hallway.

And they waited for the bombs.

It’s terrible, the mother said, as the minutes passed. We really suffer, and I don’t know why we should live like this.

Her daughter nodded. I get so scared, I shake, she said. I’m afraid the house is going to collapse on my head.

While the outside world has grown accustomed to detached images of fire and fury over Baghdad, and the government here boasts of victory over the invaders, this rattled family of five in the middle-class neighborhood of Jihad has watched war turn life upside down. Their world now is isolation, dread and a bitter sense that they do not deserve their fate.

We’re in a dark, dark tunnel, and we don’t see the light at the end of it, the daughter-in-law said.

The family met privately with a journalist today, without the presence of a requisite government escort and with a promise that their identities would not be published. Over a lunch of Iraqi dishes—pickled mango, kibbe, kufta and chicken cooked with rice, peanuts and raisins—they spoke with unusual candor about politics and war. At times brashly, they discussed subjects that are usually hinted at, as if Baghdad were already in limbo between its past and its future.

Iraq is ready for change, the father said. The people want it; they want more freedom.

But family members expressed anger at the U.S. government, which has promised to liberate them. They criticized President Saddam Hussein and his dictatorial rule, but insisted that pride and patriotism prevent them from putting their destiny in the hands of a foreign power.

They spoke most fervently of a longing for routine—the most mundane rituals of going to work, sharing dinner on a quiet night and sleeping at a set hour. They predicted little of that stability ahead. From a bloody battle for the capital, to lawlessness, to the humiliation of an occupation, they braced for a future that hardly anyone in Baghdad dares predict.

Everything is turned around, the daughter-in-law said.

For weeks, the daughter-in-law helped prepare the house for war. She and her husband hauled a mattress downstairs, setting up their bedroom in the dining room. The family rearranged furniture so that they could sprint to open the windows. Sofas and tables were cloaked in dust cloths to protect them from flying glass and debris. Two rifles and bags of ammunition were propped against the wall.

Scattered around the two-story house were supplies to help them withstand a siege. Two tanks were filled with kerosene for cooking in case the electricity went out. The mother filled every pan, kettle and thermos with water, in case the pumps stopped working. Flour, sugar, rice, beans, powdered milk, biscuits, jam, cheese, macaroni, wheat, and cereal filled bag after bag.

These will last three months, the son said, surveying the

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