It was with great sadness that the Ridenhour family learned of the death of New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid last night. He died on a reporting trip in Syria, apparently of an asthma attack. His colleague, the photographer Tyler Hicks, carried his body across the border to Turkey.
Shadid's death deprives us of our most talented foreign correspondent in a long, long time. His brave reporting from the Middle East combined authority and deep historical understanding with empathy for the ordinary people caught up in war's crossfire. Fluent in Arabic, Shadid's Pulitizer prize-winning reporting from Iraq during the US invasion and occupation resulted his masterful book, Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War. The recipient of the 2006 Ridenhour Book Prize, Night Draws Near is a nuanced portrait of life in Iraq beyond the Green Zone that gave voice and humanity to the experience of Iraqi people. "Baghdad is a city of lives interrupted," he begins, "its history a story of loss, waiting, and resilience. In the days before the American invasion of March 2003, this capital scarred by war after war felt torn, aggrieved, and filled with longing for the greatness it once possessed and has never forgotten."
Samantha Power, in her introduction to Shadid at the Ridenhour Awards luncheon on April 4, 2006, said, "Anthony Shadid took enormous personal risks by choosing the Red Zone over the Green Zone, but he did something far bolder as well. He told the truth."
We mourn the loss of Anthony Shadid, journalist and truth-teller.
The New York Times obituary of Anthony Shadid can be read here.