ANTHONY SHADID (1968-February 16, 2012): Yahoo!

The title of a Yahoo! article released on February 16, 2012 is “NY Times correspondent Shadid dies in Syria” (Web-site/URL: http://news.yahoo.com/ny-times-correspondent-shadid-dies-syria-030901403.html).

New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who strove to capture untold stories in Middle East conflicts from Libya to Iraq, died Thursday (February 16, 2012) in eastern Syria after slipping into the country to report on the uprising against its president. Shadid, shot in the West Bank in 2002 and kidnapped for six days in Libya last year (2011), apparently died of an ASTHMA ATTACK, the Times said. Times photographer Tyler Hicks was with him and carried his body to Turkey, the newspaper said”.

In a statement, Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger said, “Anthony was one of our generation’s finest reporters. He was also an EXCEPTIONALLY KIND and GENEROUS HUMAN BEING. He brought to his readers an up-close look at the globe’s many WAR-TORN regions, OFTEN AT GREAT PERSONAL RISK. We were fortunate to have Anthony as a colleague and we mourn his death“. The key phrase here is clearly “an exceptionally kind and generous human being”. In other words, Shadid was the same man OFF camera as he was on camera, which is something we CANNOT say about many people these days.

“Shadid’s father, Buddy Shadid, told The Associated Press on Thursday (February 16, 2012) (that) his son had asthma all his life and had medication with him”. “(But) he was WALKING to the border because IT WAS TOO DANGEROUS to ride in the car“. This was an UNFORTUNATE mistake. Anthony Shadid SHOULD HAVE BEEN “(riding) in the car”, because gunmen shot at him “in the car”, any bullets would have had to go through “THE CAR” first. Instead, he was OUT IN THE OPEN. “He was walking behind some HORSES — he’s more allergic to those than anything else — and he had an asthma attackthat he died from, which, again, is UNFORTUNATE.

“Hicks told the newspaper that Shadid suffered one bout of asthma the first night, followed by a more severe attack a week later on the way out”. “I stood next to him and asked (him) if he was OK and then he collapsed“. “Hicks said that Shadid WAS NOT conscious and that his breathing was “VERY FAINT” and “VERY SHALLOW“, which is A CLEAR SIGN OF TROUBLE because “breathing” which is “very faint” and “very shallow” IS NOT NORMAL. “He said that after a few minutes, he could see that ShadidWAS NO LONGER breathing“.

“In 2004, the Pulitzer Board praised “his extraordinary ability to capture, AT (great) PERSONAL PERIL, the voices and emotions of Iraqis as their country was invaded, their leader toppled and THEIR WAY OF LIFE UPENDED“. “their way of life upended” has VERY NEGATIVE connotations and was a clear indication that Shadid was AGAINST the second Iraq invasion.

“AP Senior Managing Editor John Daniszewski, who worked with Shadid in Baghdad during the U.S. invasion in 2003, called him “A BRILLIANT COLLEAGUE WHO STOOD OUT, both for his elegant writing and for his deep and nuanced understanding of the region. He was CALM UNDER FIRE and QUIETLY daringTHE MOST ADMIRED of his generation of foreign correspondents“. The phrase that should jump out at us is “calm under fire” and especially “QUIETLY daring”, unlike people such as KATE HE or CUI XILING, who seemingly have to yell or make a big deal about, among other things, THE AGE AT WHICH THEY GOT PREGNANT or WHY they got pregnant: because of PARENTAL NAGGING. In CUI XILING‘s case, she had TWO kids in a span of 1.5 years, which significantly hindered her progress in writing her Ph.D. dissertation at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and she has, to date, A GRAND TOTAL OF THREE “Selected Publications” and only led ONE (Web-site/URL: http://www.hksyu.edu/ba/CuiXiling.html), which sure makes it seem like this person is “Superior” to others. “Superior”, of course, is a fundamental characteristic of “Difficult People” (Web-site/URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgnAY_eXYbI).

Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson sent a note to the newsroom Thursday evening (February 16, 2012), relaying the news of Shadid’s death and remembering him”. “Anthony DIED AS HE LIVED— DETERMINED to bear witness to the transformation sweeping the Middle East and to testify to the suffering of people CAUGHT BETWEEN government oppression and opposition forces”. “died as he lived” is quite a tribute. Also, once again, we are reminded about how problematic it is when we are “caught between (or UP)” in something that WE HAVE NO INTEREST IN or which is NONE OF OUR BUSINESS.

“Shadid, long known for covering wars and other conflicts in the Middle East, was among four reporters detained for six days by Libyan forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi last March (2011)” in BENGHAZI (Web-site/URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6FPzopDg34). “Speaking to an audience in Oklahoma City about a month after his release (April, 2011), he said he had a conversation with his father the night before he was detained”. “Maybe a little bit ARROGANTLY, perhaps with a little bit of CONCEIT, I said, ‘IT’S OK, Dad. I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING (because) I’VE BEEN IN THIS SITUATION BEFORE‘”. WE’D LIKE TO THINK that our parents have our best interests at heart. However, if we think back to the cases of SUSAN SMITH, who drove her car into a lake with her 2 young sons on board, ANDREA YATES, who drowned her 5 kids in the family bathtub and most recently, JOSH POWELL, who killed his two sons in a horrifying arson attack, sadly, this is NOT ALWAYS the case. “I GUESS, ON SOME LEVEL, I felt that if I wasn’t there to TELL THE STORY, the story WOULDN’T be told“. This is one of the fundamental responsibilities of a journalist/reporter/writer/blogger: “to tell the story”.

“When Shadid’s wife was asked at the time (March, 2011) whether she worried about him returning to writing about conflicts, she said AS A JOURNALIST, SHE UNDERSTOOD that he might need to“. Even today (2012)“understanding”/EMPATHY is a RARE/PRECIOUS commodity. OK, let’s go off-script for a moment, but this is still sort of relevant. SHADID’S WIFE IS ALSO A JOURNALISTThis is why it’s important to form meaningful relationships with people IN THE SAME INDUSTRY or at least with THE SAME IDEALS. This is THE ONLY WAY to empathize. EMPATHY IS IMPOSSIBLE when the man in the relationship is working really hard and the woman is only a housewife doing nothing or only working in a restaurant as a waitress. Having said that, however, “At the end of the day, HE’S MY HUSBAND and the thought of going through life without him and raising our children alone is TERRIBLE” obviously.

Finally, “Shadid’s father (Buddy Shadid), who lives in Oklahoma City, said a colleague tried to revive his son after he was stricken Thursday (February 16, 2012) but couldn’t”. “They were IN AN ISOLATED PLACE. THERE WAS NO DOCTOR AROUND. It took a couple of HOURS to get him to a hospital in Turkey” and by that time, ANTHONY SHADID WAS ALREADY DEAD. When someone who has asthma has an asthma attack, THEY DON’T HAVE “hours” to spare. Again, under normal circumstances, NO PARENT can ever imagine their child/any of their children passing away before them. 

Anthony Shadid is the latest journalist to die while covering the chaos in the struggle for democracy in the Middle East after journalist TIM HETHERINGTON and photographer CHRIS HONDROS, both of whom were killed in LIBYA (Web-site/URL: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/20/tim-hetherington-chris-hondros-killed-libya_n_851558.html), as well as VITTORIO ARRIGONI, a PALESTINIAN activist who was HANGED in GAZA (Web-site/URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13088630). To recap, we are mourning the loss of ANTHONY SHADID who died of ASTHMA, one of a minority of journalists covering the latest Arab uprisings to die from natural causes.

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