The Sadness of Friends in War Zones - 04.02.2006

I want to write a short piece about my continuing concern for my friends and colleagues inside Iraq.

The release of Jill Carroll this week by her captors has been greeted with great fanfare and relief by media outlets all over the world.

Unfortunately I fear this may result in distracting the media from current issues facing journalists in Iraq. This week one journalist who has been held for nearly a year by the United States will begin trial, while, in Kurdistan, a Kurdish-Austrian journalist has recently begun his sentence, commuted from thirty years to one and one half years, for defaming Massoud Barzani.

On my own end, I continue to worry each day about my friends in Iraq, each day I have not heard from them, I worry they may have been one of the senseless victims of today’s carbombings or US and Iraqi government assaults.

I received this in an email recently from one colleague of mine in Iraq, I am withholding his name out of respect for his family, and due to the very real possibility that he will receive retribution of some kind:

the situation in Iraq became very very dangerous now and my friend he is Iraqi journalist try to leave Iraq and i told him i will never leave my job because my job now became very important for all Iraqi more than before ,and i hope i can keep my life safty as long as i can

While I was in Iraq, my fixer Omar had three friends or friends’ family members shot or killed. Since that time the violence has only expanded, and I myself have lost a friend to the war.

With Tom Fox’ death I was forced to reassess the situation in Iraq and rethink my own position on the war and whether or not to return.

Now, with Iraq’s electricity grid, social services, and security still in disarray, I worry each day about the position my friends in Iraq find themselves in, and yet still I hope to be with them.

Now more than ever the role of Alive in Baghdad to provide cameras and equipment to Iraqis, to show the world what is happening in their country is so important.

I expect to travel to Jordan at the end of this month, and if it is possible to gather together enough digital and video camera equipment to pass on to Iraqis, I suspect the visual component of Alive in Baghdad will drastically increase.

Please consider supporting the project with a donation of equipment or money, and look forward to further commentary about the ongoing situation in Iraq here at Alive in Baghdad.

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