A Lesson for Us All

1. Anthony Shadid was a voice of sanity and for truth in the American media. This is especially important because he was a repoter who focused on the Middle East. American coverage of the Middle East is so riddled with Zionist influence on every single level that Shadid was almost literally a voice crying out in the wilderness.

Dr. As’ad AbuKhalil, who runs the very well known blog known as “The Angry Arab News Service” wrote a tribute to Anthony Shadid recently in Al-Akhbar. It’s a pretty long piece and he spends a good bit of time time discussing problems in the media and he critiques other reporters. Shadid is the focus of about the final third of the piece and below I am posting a draft translation I’ve done of excerpts from that part of Dr. AbuKhalil’s article.

The link above will take you to the original Arabic. I begin my excerpts where the Arabic says لكن أنطوني شديد كان من غير صنف.

I never new Anthony Shadid, but I had the greatest respect for him. No doubt my translation does not do justice to him nor to Dr. AbuKhalil’s writing.  Comments are welcome.  I may post this on the main blog in a day or so.

2. Here it is:

However Anthony Shadid was one of a kind. I never did meet him, but he contacted me for the first time back in 2001 when he was a correspondent for the Boston Globe. Working for that paper he covered the Palestinian Intifada with bravery and tenacity and quickly distinguished himself from those lazy journalists who merely repeat  the Zionist claptrap about the conflict as well as from those who knew the truth but were afraid to speak it. This courage on Shadid’s part ticked off the Israeli occupation forces. In 2002 in Ramallah, the occupation forces opened fire on him. He never had a moment’s doubt about the identify of those who did so. Of course the New York Times refused to hold the IDF responsible saying that he had been subjected to fire in Ramallah, maliciously insinuating that the shooter was a Palestinian.

I felt from the very first interview that he was not a typical American journalist.  He was dedicated to writing about the Middle East outside of the well-worn prevailing stereo-types and slogans. Back in those days he would write about “political Islam” while specifically rejecting pre-packaged Orientalist agendas.  He was also serious about improving his Arabic and it did improve after he moved to the Arab world.

Shadid rose to prominence in the Boston Globe and after a few years he moved on to the Washington Post where he covered the US war on Iraq. His coverage earned him a Pulitzer Prize which is the honest honor a journalist can attain in the US. His style of reporting is completely opposite that of (Thomas) Friedman. Freidman does not care one wit about every day people. Freidman will go to some country (sometimes only spending a few hours there) and he will speak with the upper classes in the palaces or in luxurious hotels.  Then he will return and give impressions and generalizations about the general public and aspirations of the people at large.

Anthony Shadid was not the type to make a living off of the elites. He would speak with regular folks spending a very long time engaging them.

. . .

I was in communication with Shadid over the years. He, like other American journalists and correspondents, men and women, who work for the famous newspapers and networks, requested that I not reveal on my blog that we correspond with one another. Corresponding with the “Angry Arab” is harmful to one’s professional future even for one with Shadid’s reputation.

Shadid was eager not to have his work resemble the standard American reporting that I criticize daily on my blog. He was also extremely humble in his replies and magnanimous in his acceptance of criticism. He was one of the few upon whom I would sometimes heap my praise for their work. Once, though, as I recall, he balked at my criticism. I had been highly critical of the American coverage of the situation in Syria. This was especially the case due to the journalists’ relying upon (and some still do) one or two Syrian immigrants who live in Washington, DC (and who are close to Zionist outfits).  Shadid agreed on that point but he added in an email he sent to me: “I don’t want this on your blog, Asad, but are you really calling me a Zionist stooge? For fuck sake. How many times have I risked my life covering Israeli atrocities?” His reply made an impression upon me . .  .

Shadid moved from the Washington Post to the New York Times during his final years. The later paper is considered the cream of the crop of journalism in the West despite that paper’s racism and scandalous bias against the Palestinian people. But Shadid was fortunate in that he went to the Times after having made a name for himself.  He was therefore strong enough to stick to his guns and his style of reporting and to enjoy a measure of independence.  Shadid never had to yield to the Zionist standards of the “Times.” It is not an exaggeration to say that his hundreds of articles never once included concessions to Zionism or to Israeli interests. . .

Laziness, ignorance and Zionism are well-entrenched traits when it comes to Western coverage of the Middle East.  But Shadid did not suffer from these impediments. On the contrary, his courage led him to slip into Syria in order to ascertain the truth. He expressed to me his vexation at the Western press coverage’s reliance upon one point of view on Syria.  Nor was Shadid in agreement with the prevailing coverage of the Arab uprisings, he protested in his own way: long hard and honest work.

Shadid saw that Bahrain and the uprising there had become a thing forgotten in both the East and the West. So he flew to Bahrain on his own and produced a long report about the suffering there as a result Al Khalifa’s oppression and the sectarian incitement to which he resorted. . . .

The Internet is a place for a different kind of reporting. Likewise it is a place for all sorts of propaganda, fabrications and lies and discord.  The situation of the media in the East will never be rectified by reforming the regimes – they must be replaced.  The Western media is no better. However, Anthony Shadid’s life is an example to those who would break the mold and create their own space and who would do so with humility, honesty and courage.

In that is a lesson for us all.


About mantiqaltayr

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