Friday, March 31, 2006

Stephen Vincent and Lisa Ramaci remembered

Apparently the president has read Stephen Vincent's book, In the Red Zone. He sent a personal hand-written note to Lisa Ramaci, Vincent's widow.

Judith Weiss posted an email received by Lisa Ramaci, together with photos from New York of a public tribute to journalists slain in Iraq. Go read. Look. Remember.
Judith Weiss LINK.
Cross-posted at Winds of Change. LINK.

It brings back all the rage I felt at the time of his death, reading about the tawdry manner with which his widow was treated. My post from December has the details.

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First, let me say that Steven Vincent died for this book. He was murdered because he wrote brutally honestly about the dark underbelly of Iraq, about how here (and much of the Middle East) life is cheap and what passes for culture twists minds and perpetuates continued ignorance in the majority of the populace. Steven is gone now, but his opus is still available and if you only read one book about Iraq in your entire life, then In the Red Zone should be that one book.
I read this book in one sitting, from cover to cover, all 240 pages in the span of about six hours. Everything you need to know about the war, Shia, Sunnis, Kurds, the occupation, what the future could hold - it's in here. The good, the bad and the ugly are all laid out for you. This book will be of equal fascination to both pro and anti-war readers because Steven didn't sugarcoat a thing when he wrote In the Red Zone. He didn't sugarcoat Iraq one iota and he died for it.
Life is cheap in cultures that glorify death. Steven found that out the hardest way. His death has a silver lining - Nour - his brave Iraqi intrepreter. She was shot by the same vicious parasites that killed Mr. Vincent but survived and is still somewhere in Iraq (as far as I know), guarded, silenced or both. Steven and Nour are microcosms of the relationship between America and Iraq. Read In the Red Zone. It will force you to make adjustments to everything you thought you knew. In the Red Zone is Chapter 1 in the story of 21st century. Other Americans and Iraqis will be stepping forward to write Chapter 2. Are you one of them? Which side will you step forward on?

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