McClatchy's Iraqi Staffers Win Award -- And Here Is Latest Chilling Entry from Their Blog

By: E&P Staff Staffers at the Baghdad bureau for McClatchy (formerly Knight Ridder) have won many awards for their war coverage in recent years but several received a special one this week. Six Iraqi women who have worked there won an International Women's Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award, the foundation announced Thursday.

"They are driven by the desire to report accurately the situation in Iraq, to tell others what is happening in a world that is dissolving around them," the foundation said.
Shatha al Awsy, Zaineb Obeid, Huda Ahmed, Ban Adil Sarhan, Alaa Majeed and Sahar Issa have dodged gun battles and navigated car bombs, yet persist, the foundation said.

A McClatchy report calls them the "keystone" of its bureau, "particularly as it has become harder for Western journalists to travel in the country. Through their reporting and blogs, they've helped both Western correspondents and readers understand what it means to be an Iraqi after Saddam Hussein's regime fell." Few of the women have told anyone outside their immediate families what they do for a living. All have been threatened anyway.

For several weeks, E&P has been been featuring entries from the bureau's blog Inside Iraq, which provides one of the most chilling running accounts of life in Baghdad. Here is the latest gripping post.

Here they come. A couple of minutes earlier than usual, I haven't got the car out of the garage yet.

I stand outside, and stare. I used to be too embarrassed to do that at first, but not any more.

The first Hummer vehicle turns the corner and comes towards me. There are usually four. As soon as they are close enough I look straight into the vehicle's square windows ? straight at the china-doll faces inside.

At first they were too embarrassed to stare back. Then they started staring back ? and then mostly ignored me.

I became fascinated with them when they first made it a practice to pass by my door every morning as I drive out my garage ? so that it became a matter of "who does it first".

Every time I look, I see young men ? so young, some younger than my student daughter ? with difficulty I see their faces, old disillusioned expressions on their surprisingly young faces; the baby fat still lingering in some.

I can't help remembering my son. He was the same age. I try to imagine what would have happened if they had met in a caf?, on --------- street, if there was no war on.

How would they have looked at each other? Would they have become friends? Would they have had a drink and a smoke and thumped each others' backs in laughter and camaraderie?

So young ? too young to send on an errand of war... of killing .. and dying.

When they first came ? years ago, they were full of feelings of pride ? no doubt ? for taking part in freeing a nation, for spreading the message of democracy to the barbarians. Why, then, were they not met with open arms and open hearts? Why were they looked at with shaded eyes filled with piercing hatred?

Had they missed their mark? How do they feel now?

Please tell me ? if you can hear me - How do you feel now?

My heart aches for young lives lost... I know ?. I've been there. No matter the colour. No matter the tongue. They are so precious.

Please tell me ? if you can hear me - How do you feel now?


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