Tuesday, April 06, 2004

The Pulitzer prizewinner

Everyone has now heard that Anthony Shadid from the Washington Post has won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from Iraq. I found this brief anecdote from a lecture -- which is worth reading in its entirety -- that he gave March 11 at Harvard.

The first paragraph below is an excerpt of an article he wrote last June (the actual article was edited), while the second is what happened afterwards:

"To Staff Sgt. Charles Pollard, the working-class neighborhood of Mashtal is 'a very, very, very, very bad neighborhood.' His frustration in training Iraqi police is matched only by his suspicion, and he has one desire. 'U.S. officials need to get our asses out of here,' said the 43-year-old reservist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 'I say that seriously. We have no business being here. We will not change the culture they have in Iraq and Baghdad. Baghdad is so corrupted. All we are here is potential people to be killed and sitting ducks.' "

...Sgt. Pollard? His story is a little more colorful. He never recanted his quote, and he was disciplined. He was removed from his command and sent back to base. He became a folk hero of sorts. People hung up the article on the walls of the base known as Mule Skinner. They asked him to sign their T-shirts. They said that, somehow, he was giving voice to what they had wanted to say out loud for quite a while. His family sent out e-mails to protest his circumstances. But in the end, he was still punished for speaking out by a military that doesn't tolerate dissent.

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