Saturday, May 19, 2007

Remembering the fallen


It was a devastating night Thursday for ABC News and the entire journalism industry. Two of its men were ambushed and killed in Baghdad after leaving the ABC News Baghdad bureau. Few people know these men's faces, or even their names, but they were the eyes and ears for ABC News in Iraq. These men went behind the lines, where American journalists couldn't go due to danger and the intense risk of death. Cameraman Alaa Uldeen Aziz and soundman Saif Laith Yousuf captured footage of the war so we can better understand what is going on overseas.


It is a terribly horrifying job, but these men were brave enough to do it. I commend them and their sacrifice made me think of the other journalists in Iraq that get little recognition, yet do what most journalists wouldn't think of doing. They report the hardest news, the most devastating news, and clearly the most dangerous news. They don't appear on our television screens, nor does ABC flash their names or pictures on the screen when they use feed they have collected, but they are the reason we are able to see footage of the war in Iraq.


It was interesting reading some of the comments that articles surrounding the deaths of Aziz and Yousuf created. One blogger suggested that war correspondents be given small handguns to protect themselves in emergency cases. Here is an excerpt from his comment: "I feel journalist should have to have a small arms course and be issued handguns as personal protection to at least give them some security in themselves and their comrades." This really made me think, and I have to somewhat agree that this may not be a bad idea. Journalists should be able to protect themselves when reporting in cases of war, where danger lurks around every corner, and where the unexpected could be deadly.

Other comments sparked my attention as well. ABC devoted a lot of its Friday news coverage to the death of their employees. It was necessary I feel for them to do so, but it stirred up a lot of emotions for their viewers. One comment read: "These guys signed up to be combat correspondents. It comes with the job. What about the AMERICANS over there that are dying leaving families behind to weep. I wish ABC had this much devotion when it came to covering fallen AMERICAN soldiers as it does to one of its own employees." It is a catch 22 for ABC News and other stations--they have to cover the war in Iraq, but should they report every death of every American solider that falls victim to the war? I wish they could, every solider that goes overseas to fight for freedom, democracy and peace deserves praise, remembrance and devotion, but is this realistic?

My heart goes out to EVERY family and friend that has lost a loved one in Iraq. It is a terrible loss and I hope and pray that all this war and terror will end very soon. May all those that have risked their lives and lost rest in peace.

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