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Anthony Shadid


R.I.P. A great journalist, and having been hospitalized for asthma attacks more than once…this really hits home.

…as Mizner notes, his final piece on the post-Gadaffi chaos in Libya was typically superb.

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  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    Very sad news. Shadid was a native of OKC of whom the sensible minority of Oklahomans were very proud.

  • david mizner

    Oh shit. This is a huge loss. I think he was the best — the best journalist covering the Middle East in the major U.S. media. In fact, I don’t think it was even close. With his understanding of the region (he spoke Arabic), he was an invaluable antidote to Thomas Friedman.

    • rea

      his understanding of the region (he spoke Arabic)

      Didn’t that violate the journalist rules of objectivity?

      • david mizner

        Heh, I believe it does. (But Ethan Bronner’s having a son in the IDF doesn’t.)

        Shadid’s gifts are on display in his final (under-discussed) piece for Times exploring the bloody clusterfuck in Libya.

        On Jan. 19, his 62-year-old father, Omar, a former Libyan diplomat in Paris, was called in for questioning by militiamen from Zintan. The next day, the family found his body at a hospital in Zintan. His nose was broken, as were his ribs. The nails had been pulled from his toes, they said. His skull was fractured, and his body bore signs of burns from cigarettes.

        The militia told the family that the men responsible had been arrested, an assurance Mr. Brebesh said offered little consolation. “We feel we are alone,” he said.

        “They’re putting themselves as the policeman, as the judge and as the executioner,” said Mr. Brebesh, 32, a neurology resident in Canada, who came home after learning of his father’s death. He inhaled deeply. “Did they not have enough dignity to just shoot him in the head?” he asked. “It’s so monstrous. Did they enjoy hearing him scream?”

        The government has acknowledged the torture and detentions, but it admits that the police and Justice Ministry are not up to the task of stopping them. On Tuesday, it sent out a text message on cellphones, pleading for the militias to stop.

        “People are turning up dead in detention at an alarming rate,” said Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, who was compiling evidence in Libya last month. “If this was happening under any Arab dictatorship, there would be an outcry.”

        • david mizner

          One final thing. As’ad AbuKhalil has a tribute that’s interesting on several levels. Here’s some of it:

          He was clearly unhappy how Bahrain was not covered enough and took the initiative to cover it. I was critical (mildly for me) of some of the early reporting of his on Syria because there was reliance on two US-based Syrians, and he wrote me that he would not cite them again, and never did (one of them was the Cicero of Syria). Now that he is no more with us, I can cite from a message he wrote to me in response to a critical post I had: “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. i’m exhausting myself trying to get some kind of balance into these syria stories and no one will go on the record about the awful stuff that happened in jisr al-shughour…you know, as’ad, i love what you do. but i think your take on people like nada and me trying to change the way journalism is done is naive. do you really think we’re sitting like schoolchildren before our editors? we have a different take on activism”. Shadid was shot during his coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict by Israeli terrorists (he believed he was shot by Israelis) and yet this is how the New York Time obituary covered that “incident”: “He was no stranger to injury, harassment and arrest. In 2002, while working for The Globe, he was shot and wounded in the shoulder as he walked on a street in Ramallah”. Shadid was by far the best reporter covering the Middle East in the Western press and he knew how to fill in the blanks and to situate any and every story in a larger political perspective.


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