Naked in Baghdad: The Iraq War and the Aftermath as Seen by NPR's Correspondent Anne Garrels
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As National Public Radio's much loved and respected senior foreign correspondent Anne Garrels has covered conflicts in Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In Naked in Baghdad she reveals how as one of only sixteen non-embedded journalists who stayed in the now legendary Palestine Hotel throughout the American invasion she managed to deliver the most immediate, insightful and independent reports with unparalleled vividness and immediacy.
Her evolving relationship with her Iraqi driver/minder Amer, and the wonderful e-mail bulletins sent to friends by her husband, Vint Lawrence, counterpoint the daily events of her life in Baghdad, and result in a deeply moving, and intimate portrait by one of bravest and most enlightening news reporters.
the late ‘70s. Then, as now, we all had to live under the close supervision of the security services, in approved housing with approved translators who, like Sa’ad, reported regularly on who we spoke to, where we went, and what questions we asked. I worried then, as I do now, about putting “sources” in danger. There, however, I could speak the language. I could pass for a Russian and stand in shops overhearing conversations. There’s no way here I can pass for an Iraqi, and unfortunately I don’t
thinks that when they leave he will be able to be my minder, though he hates to use that word, with all its connotations. He suggests I keep a low profile so Qadm doesn’t assign me someone else. This means I will have trouble working for a few days, but it’s worth the wait. In the meantime I have Majed again as a driver. He dares to suggest I pay him directly and not go through his nephew Ahmed. This is the clearest sign yet that the regime is in its final days. Ahmed, with his ministry
knows has been strictly curtailed, either by edict or by her own gut judgment. There was a nasty winnowing of the press corps the night before last when several of her colleagues were taken from their rooms, we know not where. I get the sense that Annie and the Dirty Dozen have seized on this imposed hiatus to catch up and prepare for what is to come. She tucked up on the floor, eschewing the voracious flea-ridden bed, and got some sleep. She and friends have long exhausted her paltry stock of
Shiites, repressed by Saddam Hussein, will rise up in anger against him, but here in al-Shula the overwhelming emotion seems to be despair. Families flood into the al-Noor Hospital. The halls echo with desperate wailing as the people call out names, hoping to find their relatives alive. Amer negotiates our way through the crowds. In a simple ward of rusted metal beds, covered with nothing but ratty blankets, fifty-two-year-old Saman Zaki Khadim winces from the bloody wound in his back. Over the
again. This was the gateway to Saddam’s gulag, the place where Amer and I had seen the families of political prisoners gathered outside on the first day we worked together. They got no answers then, and today the Marines cannot help. Iraqis are coming up to the American troops offering information, much of it so far about arms caches (“cashays,” as the Marines call them) dotted around the city. A Marine lieutenant colonel gives me a tour of one of the smaller finds inside a nondescript