<\body> Stories in America: Iraqi journalists risk their lives to tell their stories

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Iraqi journalists risk their lives to tell their stories

The International Women's Media Foundation recently presented a number of Iraqi women journalists with courage awards for risking their lives and their family's lives to tell their stories and give their fellow Iraqis a voice. Now more than ever, as Iraq is disappearing from the frong pages in the American media, it is important to recognize these women.

Here's the acceptance speech by Sahar Issa. Her eldest son was caught in a crossfire in late 2005; he was shot and killed instantly. Issa has also faced going to the morgue to claim the body of a nephew who was killed in a market bombing. She found his body in two pieces. Issa continues to report from McClatchy’s Baghdad bureau.

“To be a journalist in violence-ridden Iraq today, ladies and gentlemen, is not a matter lightly undertaken. Every path is strewn with danger, every checkpoint, every question a direct threat.

“Every interview we conduct may be our last. So much is happening in Iraq. So much that is questionable. So much that we, as journalists, try to fathom and portray to the people who care to know.

“In every society there is good and bad. Laws regulate the conduct of the society. My country is now lawless. Innocent blood is shed every day, seemingly without purpose. Hundreds of thousands have been killed for seemingly no reason. It is our responsibility to do our utmost to acquire the answers, to dig them up with our bare hands if we must.

“But that knowledge comes at a dear price, for since the war started, four and half years ago, an average of about one reporter and media assistant killed every week is something we have to live with.

“We live double lives. None of our friends or relatives know what we do. My children must lie about my profession. They cannot under any circumstance boast of my accomplishments, and neither can I. Every morning, as I leave my home, I look back with a heavy heart, for I may not see it again — today may be the day that the eyes of an enemy will see me for what I am, a journalist, rather than the appropriately bewildered elderly lady who goes to look after ailing parents, across the river every day. Not for a moment can I let down my guard.

“I smile as I give my children hugs and send them off to school; it’s only after they turn their backs to me that my eyes fill to overflowing with the knowledge that they are just as much at risk as I am.

“So why continue? Why not put down my proverbial pen and sit back? It’s because I’m tired of being branded a terrorist: tired that a human life lost in my county is no loss at all. This is not the future I envision for my children. They are not terrorists, and their lives are not valueless. I have pledged my life — and much, much more, in an effort to open a window through which the good people in the international community may look in and see us for what we are, ordinary human beings with ordinary aspirations, and not what we have been portrayed to be.

“Allow me, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to reach out. Help us to build bridges of understanding and acceptance. Even though the war has cast a dark shadow upon your nation and mine — it is never too late.”


At 10/25/2007 10:23 PM, Blogger JACK BOO said...

"Now more than ever, as Iraq is disappearing from the front pages in the American media,..."

Hey, you noticed that as well. Yeah...funny how the media seems to be avoiding Iraq lately. And it's not like there hasn't been some developments worth reporting. Like these for example:

— Violence in and around Baghdad is down 59 percent.

— Car bombs are down 65 percent.

— Casualties from car bombs and roadside bombs are down by 80 percent.

— Casualties from enemy attacks down 77 percent.

— Operations against Iraqi security forces are down 62 percent.

— Assassination attempts for sectarian reasons are down 72 percent.

I hate to say this, but sometimes you almost get the feeling that the media only likes to report bad news from Iraq. I know, I know....that's just crazy talk. After all, why in the world would the mainstream media filter out good news. Not only that, but gosh, everybody knows the media is mostly conservative Bush supporters and all. I'm stumped.

It'd be great if that System of a Down guy could explain it to us.

At 11/04/2007 12:26 PM, Blogger JACK BOO said...

"The liberal media is barely covering this, but according to unclassified data, this year U.S. air force pilots dropped munitions on Iraq more often than in the previous three years combined."

This may explain why the liberal media hasn't said much about the number of bombings....



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