Accounts have already emerged detailing the six days during which four New York Times journalists were held captive in Libya. But now the Times has posted the first piece entirely in the journalists’ own words.
Anthony Shadid, Tyler Hicks, Lynsey Addario, and Stephen Farrell describe their ordeal, and while much of their piece recounts fear (“God, I just don’t want to be raped,” Addario whispers to Farrell at one point), a greater part of it is devoted to guilt, not only for their friends and family who they knew were terrified on their behalf, but for their missing driver Mohammed:
From the pickup, Lynsey saw a body outstretched next to our car, one arm outstretched. We still don’t know whether that was Mohammed… If he died, we will have to bear the burden for the rest of our lives that an innocent man died because of us, because of wrong choices that we made, for an article that was never worth dying for.
The article is also noticeable for the humanity it attempts to see even in the Pro-Qaddafi forces that held them captive.
The beating was always fiercest in the first few minutes, an aggressiveness that Colonel Qaddafi’s bizarre and twisted four decades of rule inculcated in a society that feels disfigured… But moments of kindness inevitably emerged, drawing on a culture’s far deeper instinct for hospitality and generosity.
Despite being seasoned veterans, the four seem deeply affected by how different a story appears from the inside, and the weight of the choices they make as journalists in war-torn nations like Libya.