Humbled by Sahar

One of those days. Fuming about radio equipment that gives up. Angry because my camera crew starts shooting in the wrong format. Unnecessary delay which prevents me from delivering for the website. In other words, a multimedia disaster. The aggravation probably shortened my life by three months.

And then I went for a drink at the Frontline Club.

It was a special night. As the invitation said: Welcome to the 2007 Kurt Schork Memorial Awards, celebrating courage and excellence in frontline freelance reporting. One of the two winners was Sahar al-Haideri.

She is dead.

A colleague

She was murdered by insurgents in Iraq. (Washington Post retraced her last moves.) One of many local journalists in this (and other) countries who have no choice but to keep on reporting, sometimes in the full knowledge that there is a price on their head.

Oh yeah, for those who don’t know Kurt Schork: He is dead as well. Killed in Sierra Leone in a military ambush while on assignment for Reuters. Host of the evening Christiane Amanpour mentioned as a matter of fact: “The leading cause of journalists’ deaths is deliberate killings. We are being targeted.”

Humbling evening. Stop whining, I told myself. Boy, do I have it easy.

So instead of watching my piece on the NOS 10 O’clock News, which you can do here (but don’t bother), you should raise your glass and say cheers to Kurt, Sarah and all those courageous colleagues who probably bitched about trivialities like failing equipment but who went on – and paid the final price.

Update: Some relatively uplifting news this Friday morning. Australian Broadcasting News reports that a coroner has ruled that five Australian journalists were deliberately killed on the orders of the Indonesian field commander Captain Yunis Yosfiah in East-Timor in, get this, 1975. Justice after all.

Makes us, Dutch, wonder when Sander Thoenes will get his justice. Lest we forget.


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