Out for a walk this morning with the iPod, I was listening to a recent episode of On The Media which just happened to feature a short interview with former war correspondent Richard Gizbert, who was — allegedly — fired by ABC News for his refusal to cover the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gizbert is no milquetoast; a veteran of warzones in Somalia, Rwanda and Chechnya, he merely decided that he’d done his bit, and chose his family and well being over the story and the danger that comes with it.
It’s ironic how I listened to this programme just hours before The Guardian confimed that its Baghdad correspondent Rory Carroll is missing, presumably kidnapped. (BBC News has some more information.) Aside from being shot in crossfire or caught in a road bombing, it’s the worst case scenario for any warzone journalist; it’s the kind of situation that no doubt prompted Gizbert’s decision.
As a Guardian reader familiar with Carroll’s work (particularly his vivid dispatches from South Africa during his previous posting) there’s a visceral kick to news like this, something only compounded by learning that he’s a fellow Irishman, who worked his way up through the ranks like any other journalist. A decade ago he was likely where myself and my classmates are right now. I can even see one of my collegues following his path someday. I can picture this same thing happening to one of my friends, and it gives me a chill down my spine.
I don’t know Rory Carroll but, in a weird way, I feel like I should. Right now, however, I can’t do much but wish for his safe return and hope he’ll get through this unscathed.
Update 20/10: The Guardian has announced that Rory Carroll was freed and is apparently unharmed. Tomorrow’s paper I’m sure will have more on the story; he’s not the only person connected to the Saddam Hussein trial who’s been kidnapped this week, after all.