“There is a word in Arabic, that I have uttered over and over in the city: ghamidh, meaning “mysterious” or “ambigious”. If Baghdad’s soul is loss, its mood always seemed to be ghamidh. Through that word, I began, at first in a woefully superficial way, to understand the panorama of attitudes that is Baghdad. Communicating that shifting truth has been a challenge. The best journalism embraces nuance and celebrates it. War, however, leaves little room for subtleties. How does a journalist convey the ferocity of violence without losing meaning in a mind-numbing array of adjectives? How does one cover war from a professional distance, when, as someone reporting from a city under siege, one has no distance? Perhaps we simply surrender to the ambiguities and embrace what is ghamidh. Perhaps we simply tell stories.”
Anthony Shadid, author of Night Draws Near, Iraq’s people in the shadow of America’s war.