492 Cafe

Dahr Jamail's First Boston Appearance

Introduced by Truthout's William Rivers Pitt

Sponsored by Boston Mobilization, Brookline PeaceWorks, and Newton Dialogues on War and Peace


Recorded and edited by Freeman Z

  1. Introduction by William Rivers Pitt (16:30)
  2. Dahr Jamail (1:06:00)
  3. Q and A (31:00)

-Wiliam Rivers Pitt is the Editor and creator of the hugely popular web-based alternative media source, Truthout.


So far, Dahr Jamail has spent a total of 8 months on the ground in occupied Iraq, living outside the "Greenzone" as one of only a few independent US journalists in the country. Weary of the overall failure of the US media to accurately report on the realities of the war in Iraq for both the Iraqi people and US soldiers, Dahr Jamail went to Iraq to report on the war himself. His dispatches were quickly recognized as an important media resource and earned a reputation for being an uncompromising look at life under occupation. Currently, Jamail is back in the U.S. on a speaking tour.

Many reporters covering Iraq for major news outlets have expressed frustration about obtaining an accurate picture of what is happening in the rest of the country, or even outside of the "Green Zone" in Baghdad itself. Because security is such a problem, their organizations rarely allow them outside heavily guarded compounds if they are not under the guard of US soldiers. Too often they must rely on untrained 'fixers' to be their eyes and ears.

Dahr Jamail did not operate under such constraints. Living amongst Iraqis, he traveled freely around the country. However he said, "Working in this environment of media repression and danger is always an uphill battle. Blinking electricity, car bombs, kidnappings are the playing field. I constantly monitor my safety factor and those who work with me. I grew a beard, dress like locals, and only travel around covertly with one interpreter in a beat up car. I minimize my time on the street, while at the same time spending enough there to get the Iraqis reactions to what unfolds here each day." As he recounted in a recent interview, "The suffering is everywhere. Anyone traveling outside the "Green Zone" cannot help but have it thrust in their face. Begging women and children on the streets, people with disabilities sitting legless near buildings holding out their hands for a few dinars."

Dahr Jamail feels that mainstream media has not presented a balanced picture of the two-year-old Iraq war. "Myself and most Arab and western independent journalists here show the costs of war. Report the massacres, the slaughter, the dead and wounded kids, disaster that this occupation truly is for the Iraqi people. Report on the low morale of most soldiers here, report on how doctors now state openly that due to lack of funds and help from the US-backed Ministry of Health, they feel it is worse now than during the sanctions." Dahr Jamail's appearance in Boston on April 23rd will be an opportunity for Bostonians to hear his stories and get a profoundly different view about the realities and complexities of life in Iraq. See his reports at DahrJamailIraq.com

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