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April 04, 2003 - Image 23

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-04-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

LENDING I CASH MANAGEMENT I INVESTMENTS I WEALTH PLANNING

DANGER ZONE

from page 17

He cited the case of another Wall
Street Journal reporter, Jerry Seib, who
was held hostage in 1987 while
reporting from Iran. Seib was accused
of being a spy and a Jew, Walcott said,
although he is Roman Catholic.
But in Iraq today, Walcott said, "I
honestly believe that with the U.S.
gunning for Saddam, those distinc-
tions are rapidly shrinking. A Jewish,
Baptist or even a Muslim soldier is
likely to be treated equally badly by
this Iraqi regime.
"They are likely to lump all
Americans and Brits together as 'Jews
and Crusaders' in much the same way
that Osama bin Laden has."
One prominent Jewish journalist
says that given the current climate in
the Arab world, he would reconsider
reporting from certain locales. "After
the Daniel Pearl murder, I think jour-
nalists who are Jewish have to be very
careful about putting themselves in a
place where their lives will be at risk,"
said Pulitzer Prize-winner Joshua
Friedman, who began reporting from
the Arab world 40 years ago.
"I probably wouldn't go alone to
some of these places that I once went
to," said Friedman, former chairman
and current board member of the
watchdog Committee to Protect
Journalists. "We're vulnerable because
we're Jewish, and I'd never felt that
before.
"There's a fever of anti-Semitism
today in Muslim countries and we
have to face it, right? It's true."
Still, not too many journalists would
be dissuaded, Friedman conceded. War
reporters, like soldiers, share a mind-set
of invincibility, rationalizing that it won't
be you but someone else who is arrest-
ed, gets shot or steps on a landmine.
"Most good journalists have an
adolescent view of their immunity to
danger," said Friedman, who won his
Pulitzer for IVewsday in 1985 for his
coverage of Ethiopia's famine.
One Jewish Army reservist, antici-
pating a call-up, says he's well aware
of what happened to the American
POWs in 1991 and to Daniel Pearl.
He admits to trying to suppress
thoughts of worst-case scenarios.
"I don't know any soldier who
thinks that you're going to be the
one who gets captured or killed,"
says Philip, a New England resident
who requested anonymity. "As far as
being a Jew, that's just something
extra. If the Iraqis find out I'm
Jewish and they torture me worse
than the other POWs, I'd probably
find it unbearable." ❑

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