Anthony Shadid: Honesty in the Shadow of War

Much has been written about Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anthony Shadid in the weeks since his death at age 43 while on assignment in Syria. What I appreciated over the years was his honesty. One example of this can be found in his 2005 book Night Draws Near—Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War. Soon after the fall of Baghdad, Shadid and a colleague from the Washington Post were walking with American troops there. Shadid’s colleague talked with the troops, who told him how well-received they had been and how much the Iraqis loved them. Meanwhile, Shadid was speaking in Arabic with the local population and getting a very different story.

To write that story today is a no-brainer; to write that in April/May 2003 not only took the physical courage implicit in reporting from Baghdad, but also an honesty that has in recent years very often been abrogated, either explicitly or by co-optation, in the process of covering the Iraq war.

We were fortunate enough to have hosted a conversation with Shadid when Night Draws Near was published. You can listen to it above.

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