Sunday, March 2, 2008

Naked in Baghdad


I finished my first book of the year! This afternoon's irresistible spring-time highs coaxed the masses from inside, even me. I milled around the apartment for most of the day, but after the third load of dirty laundry was loaded I couldn't ignore the temptation of sunny skies. I packed my current read-in-progress and some homework, and sped off to the haven of Starbucks' patio. I ordered my tall-iced-skinny-caramel-macchiato and planted myself in the iron chair with the full intent of devouring the final page.

Naked in Baghdad is the 2003 journalistic compilation of Anne Garrels. Working as an NPR foreign correspondent, she finds herself in Iraq's capital just as talks of war and WMD's are being volleyed. By the time the bombs begin raining, she remains one of only 16 American journalists surviving either deportation or personal fear. In spite of being a woman of fifty-something years with a loving hubby at home, she stations herself on the other side of the world to contribute her observations through daily audio reports.

She's basically my new hero.

I'm not sure if my somewhat compulsive interests in genocide [and now the war in Iraq] convey here. If you were to have a glimpse at my bookshelf, or possibly even a short conversation with the Princess herself, it would be clear. I always try to explain that it isn't the tactics of war that whet my mindful appetite or the politics either, rather it's the people - the sociocultural aspects of war, as I often entitle them. At the end of Garrels' book she states the same as her motivation. It's the people and how they fair conflict that drives her need to give them a voice. Her perspective was oh so intriguing, too. The entirety of her stay was made up of several trips back and forth on account of visa restrictions, and never was there left out a single complicated hoop through which she jumped to get back into Baghdad. I loved that she avoided the fantasy of battle, that she covered the monotony and fear, and mostly that she did so without apparent agenda.

1 comment:

Maggie said...

Sounds like an amazing read.

I have no idea where those journalists find their courage.