An excerpt from this talk delivered by Anthony Shadid last year at TEDx Oklahoma City:
To me the antidote to conflict, the antidote to violence, is a shared sense of universal values and – it sounds very basic but it’s hard when you try to execute it in journalism – the sense that we all are human. There’s a humanity that bonds us together. In Baghdad, I tried to write about conflict as a background narrative, as white noise in a way, and make the stories about people.”
I never met Anthony Shadid, but I’ve been reading his work for years – his book Night Draws Near and his journalism in The New York Times and, before that, The Washington Post – and the best way to meet a writer, anyway, may be to read him. With his exemplary, ever-curious, empathetic reporting, he demonstrated how much a journalist can bring to readers when he’s immersed in the language of the region he’s covering. He wrote about subjects and for them.
The New York Times coverage of the Middle East will suffer without him. Americans in particular have lost an essential voice from within. Let’s remember not only Anthony Shadid but what he worked for. Let’s keep listening.