Saluting the power of Anthony Shadid-style journalism in a cynical age

Famed New York Times journalist Anthony Shadid died tragically in February in… Syria… while reporting the war there. He was one of the finest reporters of his generation, spending years in the Arab world explaining its twists and turns. He proved that insightful, punchy and beautifully written journalism still matters in the modern age.

Now his widow, New York Times reporter Nada Bakri, speaks to Democracy Now! in a moving interview about Shadid, love, life and journalism itself:

AMY… GOODMAN:… He was captured for almost a week in Libya with three other colleagues, and they were beaten, threatened, not clear if they would survive that. Can you talk about that period and coming home, and then his decision to go to Syria? Clearly, extremely dangerous for those who live there and also for reporters trying to get in.

NADA… BAKRI:… You know, when he called me, when they allowed him to call family members when they were being—when they were still captured in Libya, he called, and the first thing he said was how sorry he was, you know, for all his family members about the pain that he—that, you know, the capture must have caused them. And then he came home. And, you know, he saw his family members, repeated again how sorry he was that they had to go through this for him. And then, you know, he went back to work.

And again, it was not about, “I’m going to be in a dangerous place, and maybe I should not go there because it’s dangerous.” You know, of course he thought about it, because he has two kids and he has a family who loved him so much, but it was more of a commitment, you know? I think it might be hard for a lot of people to understand this, but it was just a pure commitment to journalism. I have never seen anything like it. You know, after I had my son, my priorities shifted, and I did not want to be—you know, to take any risks anymore. But then again, I’m not—or I realize I’m not as committed to journalism as he is. He was just truly, genuinely committed to journalism, to covering the Middle East, in particular.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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