I wanted to pause for a moment and direct attention to the work of Anthony Shadid, who has been covering Israel’s war in Lebanon over the last month for the Washington Post.
At a time when the Post’s op-ed page has surrendered to the daily talking points of the pro-Israel chicken hawks, his dispatches have been unmatched in depth, sophistication and compassion. Writing intelligently about Lebanon is difficult and to be frank, most American journalists are not up to the task. That he does so in the impossibly confining format of daily print journalism makes his work all the more remarkable. His skill is especially noticeable in articles with multiple contributors, as the contrast between his deft touch and the clumsy ignorance of the likes of Robin Wright — to name one of many of the paper’s lesser lights — could not be starker.
He does make missteps and certainly has not solved the riddle of selectivity that faces all journalists, but his reporting has approached those rare heights where the reader can quite literally breathe in both the dignity and the suffering of its subjects. Quite simply, he tells stories and he tells them well. While other western journalists singularly locate Lebanon’s charm in Beirut’s “glittering downtown” or “the beautiful people” of its many bars and restaurants, Shadid goes where things aren’t so “pretty” and reveals the grace, wit and endurance of the people of southern Lebanon.
One could accuse him of assiduously avoiding political issues, but at a time when most news reports are basically regurgitations of whatever the daily propaganda machines had to say that day, his reporting rightly focuses on the human dimension and defies the common inhumanity we find in wars and the American broadcast version of such wars. In this political sense, he knows, as the oven bird does, “in singing, not to sing.”
Here are some links:
1) On Hizbullah’s rebuilding efforts, and please note how the header is a complete distortion (evil editors at the Post) of the thrust and body of the article (Iranian funding is mentioned briefly in graph 14, attributed to an unnamed source, and not mentioned again);
2) On Hizbullah fighters after the cease-fire;
3) On the fighting;
4) On Lebanese in the South;
5) On the fighting;
6) On the toll of the fighting;
7) On refugees;
8) On a hospital;
9) On the toll of the fighting;
Okay, that is enough …