Wednesday, October 24, 2007

eloquent courage: Sahar Issa

Today's New York Times editorial gives us in full remarks made yesterday by Sahar Issa, one of six Iraqi women working in the McClatchy Newspapers Baghdad bureau, after the group received the International Women's Media Foundation "courage in journalism awards." Because they (and perhaps their families) would be killed if they were known to be working as journalists, they work undercover, pretending to be ordinary citizens. Issa spoke for the group:
We live double lives. None of our friends or relatives know what we do. My children must lie about my profession. They cannot under any circumstance boast of my accomplishments, and neither can I. Every morning, as I leave my home, I look back with a heavy heart, for I may not see it again — today may be the day that the eyes of an enemy will see me for what I am, a journalist, rather than the appropriately bewildered elderly lady who goes to look after ailing parents, across the river every day. Not for a moment can I let down my guard.
Issa's remarks go on to explain why she persists: "It’s because I’m tired of being branded a terrorist: tired that a human life lost in my county is no loss at all." The conclusion to her remarks offers a powerful, eloquent expression of hope laced with realism. This award was presented without any photographs taken--the publication of any image of these women would endanger them and their families. Go here to find the McClatchy Baghdad reporters' blog, to which this group continues, to get a day-to-day picture of how they live and work.