A tragic story from the New York Times:
At 8:45 a.m. on Friday, Khalid W. Hassan was navigating his car out of one of Baghdad’s most dangerous neighborhoods on his way to work as a reporter and interpreter at The New York Times bureau here. “My area is blocked,” he wrote in a cellphone text message to the paper’s newsroom manager. “I am trying to find a way out.”
Within 45 minutes, about two miles from his home, Mr. Hassan, whose Palestinian family migrated to Iraq in 1948, was forced to the side of the road by gunmen in a black Mercedes. The gunmen opened fire with automatic rifles, pitting Mr. Hassan’s rundown Kia car with bullets. At least one struck him in the upper body, but failed to kill him.
Mr. Hassan, a heavyset, pranksterish 23-year-old, loved the new world of cellphones, online computers and downloadable videos ushered in by the American occupation of Iraq, so much so that he spent a quarter of his monthly salary recently on another new phone. Slumped in his seat, he called his mother, then his father, at work as a school caretaker, telling them he had been shot. “I’m O.K., Mom,” he said.
An off-duty policeman in a gasoline station line told Mr. Hassan’s father what came next. A second car with gunmen, an Opel Vectra, seeing Mr. Hassan on his cellphone, pulled forward and fired two fatal shots into Mr. Hassan’s head and neck.
The murderous turmoil in Baghdad has reached a point where many families never know the killers of their loved ones, or their motives. Sunni insurgents? Shiite militias? Killers who mimic one or the other, while pursuing more private motives of greed, spite or revenge? Or, in Mr. Hassan’s case, the nature of his employment, which placed him doubly at risk: as an Iraqi journalist, and as an Iraqi working for Americans?
Virtually all the images we see from Iraq these days are taken by Iraqis. Likewise much of the reporting is done by local journalists, then the information is used by Western journalists to write a story. After this tragic murder, it’s something worth remembering.