Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Inside the insurgency

A few weeks back I interviewed Lebanese journalist Zaki Chehab, who is one of the few journalists in the world to have spent some time with the insurgents in Iraq. I wasn't a big fan of his politics, but I admire his tenacity as a journalist. The piece is now online at Vibewire, and a similar version is also in the latest version of Farrago:

Iraq Ablaze - An Interview With Zaki Chehab

Contributed by Ari Sharp
21 Mar 06


On the back cover of Zaki Chehab’s new book is a single photo. In it the Lebanese author and journalist is sitting in close confines with two Iraqi men, their heads encased in red and white headscarves. Only the tiniest glimpse of their faces is available though a small slit at eye level. Both are heavily armed, one with the long barrel of a gun sitting over his left shoulder, the other with his weapon pointing nonchalantly just a little off to the side. On the wall is some ageing pink floral wallpaper.

Unlike so many who have faced this scene involuntarily – many of them not living to tell the tale – Chehab is a willing participant in the situation. The two headscarved figures are members of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq , a group of angry young men who are wreaking havoc in their country. Mostly their message takes the form of the blunt instrument of suicide bombers, the shrapnel and dynamite of their human bombs communicating with the world. This time, though, they’re speaking with a journalist who wants to hear their story and retell it to the outside world. “This was the first images of the Iraqi insurgency in the world,” Chehab explained. “Nobody had published footage or pictures of the insurgency before.”


Read the rest at Vibewire.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ari,

I need to ask, while Chehab asks the question "Is it Islamist? Are they terrorists? Are they foreign fighters? Are they the resistance?", to you it would seem a given. You use both 'terrorists' and 'terrorist insurgents' in your review but wouldn't it be more pertinent to the piece to deliver the author's view rather than your own or is this indeed his conclusion. How does he label them in the book?

Cheers,

Cameron