Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hope and Despair in Iraq

When I came home from a business trip this week, a large brown envelope awaited me in the kitchen. I recognized NerdBoy's writing on the outside. I opened it up, and there were about 16 photocopied pages of an article from a German magazine. And accompanying it was a note:

"I could not get the digital version of this article, so I send you this copy. In my eyes one of the best pieces ever written on Iraq, and it is a well-balanced text...I do not know if Spiegel Online will publish the English version...

I think many people should read this, especially those who think and speak about Iraq and the US-troops only one-dimensionally."

So the next day, I sat down an read it...and it was a page turner. And I want to thank the German reporters for going over to Iraq, and researching this piece. I was telling my boyfriend how great the article was and how I lamented the fact that it wasn't in English, and this morning, he sent me an email...he had found the text in English.

Please, go read this article. It is long, but worth it. Here is a teaser to start:

The world has become deaf to the word "peace" -- at least when conversations turn to Iraq. It is as if the world were blind to the possibility that the situation in this country straddling the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers could be anything different from the constant stream of increasingly devastating films of the latest car bombings. For most people, Iraq has become nothing but a series of attacks, a collection of images of bombings and victims, a tale of failure, a book about historical guilt and a symbol of the moral decline of the United States of America.

But the real story in Iraq cannot be summed up in short news clips and quick, shaky television images. Body counts and names of the dead tell only part of the story of Iraq today. Research for this story took me on a three-week journey throughout the country, my fourth trip to Iraq in as many years. Under the protection of the US military, it led us to the northern city of Mosul and its suburbs, to Ramadi and to Baghdad. The military did not choose our destinations, SPIEGEL did. Apart from a few technical and strategic details, nothing was censored.

The trip included nighttime helicopter flights across villages and cities, journeys in Humvees through landscapes of burned-out buildings, rides in an armored personnel carrier through war zones and walks through both enemy territory and peaceful markets. This kind of travel is the only way for a Western journalist to work in Iraq. Without a military escort, reporting can only take place from afar, from the relative safety of well-guarded hotel rooms. Of course, hotel rooms aren't the best vantage point from which to grasp the true complexity of the situation. At no point during this journey, even in places where there was gunfire or bombs had recently exploded, were the images entirely consistent.

(Thanks, Nerdboy!)

3 Comments:

Blogger KBG said...

You were right - it was really long, but well worth it. I only wish that some of that mindset that this war shouldn't be used as a political pawn would bleed over into mainstream American media.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

Ok, Girl--we've been patient! It's time for you to post! We want to hear all about the wedding!

:)

L

4:57 AM  
Blogger Jon and Billie said...

I agree with Lara. I keep checking, hoping for something!!!

8:08 PM  

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