Saturday October 31, 2020

This Life: Communication breakdown

In this extract from his forthcoming book about reporting from Syria, Irish journalist Stephen Starr describes the paranoia of everyday life in a country beset by strife and violence.

9th June, 2012
Demonstrators march during an anti-regime protest in the centre of Idlib in north-western Syria. Photo: Getty

Working as a journalist in Syria through the revolt was an exercise in patience, judgment and nerve-control. Maintaining impartiality when editors called seeking only comments and interviews with protesters, and coverage of what the regime was doing to quash the revolt, contrasted sharply with the largely peaceful Damascus streets and busy cafes.

I heard contrasting viewpoints on the nature and motivation behind the uprising, depending on who I spoke to: many Sunnis cursed the regime,...

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