Saturday, September 30, 2006

Near Constant Threat

Journalists are accustomed to long hours. Abdel Karim Hamadie is no exception. His workday has lasted three weeks. That's the last time he went home. Hamadie coordinates broadcasts on Al Iraqiya, an 18-hour-a-day state-run network initially financed by the Pentagon. His position as head of the network makes him an instant target for insurgents. That's why he doesn't go home. Iraqi journalists work under the worst conditions; their lives constantly threatened.

As I write this in the final moments of the month of September, my mind is with those journalists who have given their lives not just for the story but for the concept of the Fourth Estate. It means so much to so many, but at a grave price. This year, 20 journalists' deaths in Iraq have been recorded by the Committee to Protect Journalists. At the current rate, the number of journalists killed there in 2006 could surpass the previous wartime record of 24, set in 2004.

Earlier this year, Steffan Tubbs, a good friend was sent on assignment to Iraq. Aside from his broadcasts, he posted daily web dispatches and the occasional photo, including the one above of him in the center of his security detail. He wrote of late night patrols with Ghost Troop, the same unit ABC's Bob Woodruff and crew were with when their Humvee struck an IED. After learning that, I remember praying for Tubbs' safety. A week or so later he returned with incredible stories to tell and a newfound respect for our servicemen. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Conflict has been with American journalism since day one – from eyewitness reports of the first revolutionary battle in the Massachusetts Spy – to the present. Journalists will not put their pens and microphones down until the story is told, however great the risk. Abdel Karim Hamadie knows there is never a good month for journalists in Iraq. September was terrible. We can hope October will be better.


Anonymous said...

nevermind the soldiers fighting for US! 30 dead journalists. what about our tropos?

Fredrick said...

I would rather not argue whose life is worth more! The point here is people are being killed everyday over there! One is too many in my opinion. What is the total body count anyway?

Lys Anzia said...

Thank you August for getting this vast story about these dead journalists out to the public. International field journalism is a very dangerous business these days. So much of the American media, too, is rigged with filters that prevent the public from seeing the truth of the matter.
I am a journalist who is currently writing on a topic very close to Colorado. Covering the insidious battle now in Colorado politics surrounding ballot issue Amendment 43. This issue is clouded with a lot of smoke and mirrors as the state's right-wing forces push the subject away from the important topics of the day. While the religious right along with their Republican yes men raise the banner against gay parents in many of the states on election day, President Bush and his forces ignore the facts on Iraq, on rising gas prices, on the problems of immigration and the suffering of America under the current economy. The chair of Denver's Commission on Cultural Affairs, Donna Dewey, has just created a Denver Post best campaign commercial that goes straight to the heart of this problem. It shows how our Republican base in Colorado has their head in the sand. Take a look at this commercial on my news blog at:
-Lys Anzia