Monday, November 27, 2006

Journalists Killed in Iraq

Bob Herbert points to a UN report that says that among the 7,000 killed in the civil war in Iraq in the last two months eighteen journalists have been killed. Raad Jaafar Hamadi, reporter for Al-Sabah in Baghdad, was shot to death in the streets on November 22, 2006. Other staff of the newspaper have been attacked in the recent past: “One of its technicians was shot and killed in Baghdad on Sept. 9. In August a car bomb exploded in the paper's office parking lot in the capital, killing one person and wounding 30.” Altogether, 92 journalists have been killed in Iraq since the war began and 36 other employees and associates of media organizations have been killed, all but one of them Iraqi. The loss of any human being is a tragedy; every life is precious in the sight of God. But the loss of journalists – the targeting of journalists – has special significance: it is the loss of those who might reveal to the outside world what is happening. When a journalist is killed or intimidated from describing what he/she sees or can collect from others who have seen events, the world looses access to what is happening among human beings. Without them there would only be silence, darkness. Well, not silence but propaganda, since those in power prefer to tell stories that enhance their own interests. And that is the point, of course. That’s why those who are trying to get to the truth are targeted. We grieve for the loss of life, and we grieve for the loss to the world when access to information on the human condition is stolen by an assassin's bullet. Ana Politkovskaia is dead; Daniel Pearl is dead; and now Raad Jaafar Hamadi is dead. Again, the ancient wisdom warns: “men loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil; they would not come into the light lest their deeds be exposed.” Let us hope that those who seek the truth will be free to expose to the light what they know.

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