Shadid Risks Life to Describe Civilian Carnage in Lebanon

By: E&P Staff

Anthony Shadid, the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for The Washington Post, has provided some of the most gripping — and dangerously reported — articles on the death and destruction across south Lebanon in the current conflict.

Shadid, one of the few Arabic-speaking Western journalists in the area, also risked his life for many weeks in Baghdad near the start of the the Iraq war in 2003.

His front page story for The Post on Monday opens with the following passages. The entire article is online at www.washingtonpost.com.

*
The day ended in Tyre as it began, with a desperate cry of grief.

“Where’s my father? Where’s my father?” asked Mahmoud Srour, an 8-year-old whose face was burned beyond recognition after an Israeli missile struck the family’s car Sunday. His mother, Nouhad, lurched toward his hospital bed, her eyes welling with tears.

“Is he coming?” he asked her.

“Don’t worry about your father,” she said, her words broken by sobs.

Barely conscious, bewildered, he lay with his eyes almost swollen shut. His head lolled toward her. A whisper followed.

“Don’t cry, mother,” he told her.

Mahmoud’s father, Mohammed, was dead. An Israeli missile had struck their green Mercedes as they fled the southern town of Mansuri, where the family had been vacationing. The boy’s uncle, Darwish Mudaihli, was dead, too. The bodies were left in the burning car. Mahmoud’s sister Mariam, 8 months old, lay next to him, staring at the ceiling with a Donald Duck pacifier in her mouth. Her eyes were open but lifeless, a stare that suggested having seen too much. Her hair was singed, her face slightly burned. Blisters swelled the tiny fingers on her left hand to twice their size.

In other beds of Najm Hospital were their other brothers, 13-year-old Ali and 15-year-old Ahmed.

“What happened?” Ahmed shouted to no one in particular.

It was a question asked often Sunday in Tyre and its hinterland, a bloody day for civilians, even by the standards of this war. Israeli forces repeatedly struck cars on southern Lebanon’s already perilous roads in attacks that victims said were indiscriminate. Seven people were killed, three of them when an Israeli helicopter fired a missile at a white minibus carrying 19 people fleeing the village of Tairi, which Israeli forces had ordered residents to evacuate. The missile tore through the roof of the vehicle as it sped around a bend in the road.

Layal Najib, a 23-year-old photographer for the Lebanese magazine al-Jaras, was killed when Israeli forces struck near her taxi outside the town of Qana to the northwest. She was the first journalist killed in the 12-day conflict.

“Are there any armed men here? Is there any resistance here?” asked Ali Najm, a physician helping to treat the injured in Tyre.

He surveyed the wounded, struggling to maintain the detachment of a medical professional and suppress the anger of a neighbor watching a war that he said he did not understand. “There is no aim to this,” he said. “They are innocent people. They are carrying white flags, and they’re trying to escape.”

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