An honorable journalist in Iraq

Friday, August 5, 2005

An honorable journalist in Iraq loses his life for his convictions

New York City resident Stephen Vincent, a respected art expert turned journalist after 9/11, was kidnapped and killed by insurgents yesterday in Iraq. The killing was particularly poignant because Mr. Vincent had gone to Iraq on a financial shoestring, living in very difficult conditions, because he wanted to do everything he could to bring about a better life and government for the Iraqi people in the wake of the American invasion, which he supported.

Despite his support for the American project in Iraq, Mr. Vincent found much to deplore. He said in recent conversations that “he was particularly incensed about the sharp divide between men and women in the Islamic world. He was close to [his interpreter, who was badly wounded in the attack on their vehicle]…he said [she] had declined to accept payment for her work as an interpreter. He said he believed that the American-led invasion of Iraq was justified and part of a much larger campaign against what he called ‘Islamo-fascism’.

But he also said he was deeply disappointed by the failure of the United States and Britain to enforce their visions of democracy here. It was the duty of journalists, he said, to expose the pitfalls of the rising tide of Shiite Islam in Iraq in order to awaken the Bush administration to the kind of nation it was helping to create.

“American and Iraqi reporters who saw Mr. Vincent last weekend in Basra said he did not appear to be alarmed by anything and was looking forward to the publication of his Times article [this article appeared on the Op-ed page of the Times just this past Sunday, three days before his murder].” His piece sharply criticizes the British forces, who up to now have been upheld by many as superior to the American. Mr. Vincent reports with alarm that the British forces have allowed Shiite militants to operate with impunity in Basra, laying open the way for further instability and lawlessness.

New York Times, 8/4/05

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