From the Editors
[UPDATED March 21: The NYT announced that the Libyan government has released all four reporters, who are reportedly on their way home. Reports indicate the Turkish government played a key role in negotiating their freedom.]
[UPDATED March 18: In an interview with Christiane Amanpour for ABC, Saif Qadaffi said that the NYT reporters had been detained and were in Tripoli. The NYT announced that they believed the reporters would be released on Friday. We still await official word of their release.]
“Weeks before the war started, I had promised myself that I would stay in Baghdad through the conflict, whatever the circumstances,” wrote NYT reporter Anthony Shadid in July 2010. One of the few unembedded American journalists fluent in Arabic covering Iraq, Shadid shed light on the humanitarian devastation of the war. “I didn’t want the Pentagon to write this story like a screenplay, with expert scene-setting, and the temptation, irresistible in conflict, to manipulate reality... Readers needed to understand how American weapons were fired but just as importantly, where our bombs landed. This war, from the American perspective, might have had democratic aims, but it was still war, horrific – a panorama of terror and grief.”
Shadid didn’t set out to be a war reporter. An Arab-American from Oklahoma, he trained seriously to be a journalist of the Middle East—studying Arabic at CASA and journalism at the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University. For the AP, Shadid reported from Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan. Commenting on Shadid’s first book, Legacy of the Prophet, the late scholar Edward Said wrote, “In the reductive and bellicose sensationalism that has disfigured the general American awareness of Islam, [Shadid’s] work is a stirring exception.” Shadid interviews political activists and leaders, but he also gets the story by riding on a motorbike through Cairo’s slums with garbage collectors, by sitting around campfires with Taliban, by listening to Arab intellectuals recite poetry to help explain their world. His reporting on the contemporary Arab world matches—and often surpasses—the very best scholarship being written by leading academics at top universities.
At the Boston Globe, Shadid became a global reporter of sorts, since his beat was the Islamic world. In 2002, he interviewed Yasser Arafat in his Ramallah compound. Wearing a bullet proof vest clearly marked “press” and walking in the middle of the street in the light of day with his handler, Anthony was shot in the shoulder. He told me later that as he lay on the ground, watching his own blood pour out of him, his thoughts were only of his daughter whom he longed to see again.
Not long after he began working with the Washington Post, Shadid started covering the US war on Iraq; his base was a small hotel room in the Palestine Hotel. As I wrote my biography of Saddam Hussein, I culled Shadid’s articles on Iraq as one of the best sources available. Together with the writings of Iraqi poet and novelist Sinan Antoon, Shadid’s writings brought the country to life for me. In 2004, Shadid won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting.
I last saw my friend Anthony in April 2010, when he came to Brown University to speak on Iraq and Lebanon. He couldn’t stop smiling and his eyes fluttered with sheer joy. The day before, his lovely wife Nada had given birth to their son Malik. That morning, he got a call letting him know he’d won his second Pulitzer.
When there is news in the Middle East, my natural inclination is to look for an Anthony Shadid byline. Last month from Egypt, he didn’t just write from Tahrir the day Mubarak left, he gave us the view from the working class neighborhood of Imbaba. And he didn’t just cover Libya from Benghazi. On Tuesday, he was reporting from the western edge of Ajdabiya. Tyler Hicks, a Times photographer also missing, said last week that the fighting in Libya was the worst he’d seen; Hicks has covered Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Chechnya. Tuesday, as the area they were reporting from came under bombardment, Anthony ran for his car. The Libyan driver Mohammed tried to take Shadid, Hicks, and two other NYT journalists to safety.
Their fate remains unclear, their whereabouts uknown.
Anthony would be the first to tell us we should be concerned for the Libyans being killed by Qadaffi’s forces; for the Egyptians struggling to create a new constitution; for the Iranian, Iraqi, and Bahraini protestors risking their lives for more freedom. As Anthony’s friends and colleagues, we follow and support the struggles of the brave people across the Middle East. But we also pray that he will soon be celebrating Malik’s first birthday with his wife, Nada.
3 comments for "NYT Reporter Anthony Shadid Missing in Libya"
If you prefer, email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hot on Facebook
His poems will be read with admiration and awe, but perhaps it’s time to forget about Adunis the cultural critic and radical intellectual. The Arab Spring has consigned Adunis, the self-proclaimed revolutionary, to irrelevance. And that is the beauty of revolutions.click | email | tweet
Jad NavigationView Full Map, Topics, and Countries »
From Jadaliyya Reports
Jadalicious / جدلشس
Latest EntriesView All Entries »
- Last Week on Jadaliyya (May 13-19)
- Jadaliyya's Occupation, Intervention, and Law Page Resonates
- Al Jazeera Management Orders Joseph Massad Article Pulled in an Act of Pro-Israel Censorship
- سعادت حسن منتو: قصة قصيرة
- Reports Roundup (May 18)
- Injuries, Arrests and House Raids: The Case of a Bahraini Family
- الليبرالية الفلسطينية أمام القضاء الإسرائيلي
- ما هي النكبة؟
- Academic Freedom and the Middle East: A Handbook for Teaching and Research
- Syria's Inglorious Basterd
- Maghreb Media Roundup (May 17)
- Buckling to Bigotry: The Newseum Dishonors Murdered Palestinian Journalists
- كتب: أطفال الندى
- Statement of the Arab and Middle East Journalists Association in Reference to Newseum Scandal
- New Texts Out Now: Maya Mikdashi, What is Settler Colonialism? and Sherene Seikaly, Return to the Present
- On the Margins Roundup (May)
- On the American Association of University Professors' Opposition to Academic Boycotts
- The Palestinian Museum: An Agent Of Empowerment And Integration For Palestinians
- An Ongoing Displacement: The Forced Exile of the Palestinians
- Syria Media Roundup (May 16)