2 Paris Essays, One Journalist’s Sorrow

Via Vogue and Newsweek, Janine Di Giovanni fears for the immediate future of her adopted home.

JanineDiGiovanniPicDuring a lunch break this past Friday in Paris, Newsweek Middle East editor Janine Di Giovanni (pictured) had a conversation that would hold true for just a few more hours. She had crossed the Seine River that unusually warm fall day from her home in the Sixth Arrondissement to help judge a Paris Photo photojournalism competition.

From her essay in Vogue:

One of my fellow judges, the director of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and I walked together to a restaurant for lunch, talking about the light in the Luxembourg Gardens, the fact that one felt so secure in Paris compared with London or New York.

Di Giovanni went straight from that lunch back home, which is when she learned of the reported death of Jihadi John (a.k.a. Mohammed Emwazi), the man responsible for the murders of colleagues James Foley and Steven Sotloff. She reflects on that moment in both the Vogue piece and an earlier essay published this weekend in Newsweek:

Jihadi John beat and tortured and humiliated and finally beheaded them. But was I rejoicing the end of his brutal life? No. I just felt dread. I have worked for too long in war zones and on the issue of radicalization and terrorism to think that his death will end in Raqqa.

Compounding the unbelievably surreal nature of Di Giovanni’s Friday the 13th is the fact that she then took a train to London Friday evening to appear on a BBC news program to discuss the ‘far-reaching consequences’ of the conflict in Syria. It was during that train ride that she first became aware of the tragic events unfolding in Paris.

Di Giovanni’s next book The Morning They Came for Us, a very personal look at the Syria conflict, is scheduled for release in the spring. Read the Vogue essay here and the Newsweek essay here.

[Photo via: janinedigiovanni.com]