Reporters on the Job
• Not Just Another Bombing : Thursday morning correspondent Jill Carroll awoke in Baghdad with a start - and a strong sense of déjà vu (this page). "I heard a loud, growling bang. It had that car-bomb sound. I jumped out of bed and could hear the shouts of the hotel's security guards. Then another bang slammed down hard around the hotel. When I got outside there was the scene I'd seen so many times before - flames, smoke, frantic police, and a crowd of onlookers," says Jill.
It was a lot like Oct. 27, 2003, when she was also jarred from sleep by a boom. "I scrambled to the roof of the hotel to look for smoke. I worked for an Italian news agency then and I had to get to the scene as fast as possible. With my driver and interpreter, we went careening toward the site. As we drove, reports started coming in over the radio of other explosions. We spent the whole day chasing car bomb after car bomb, five in all," she says.
"One of those was in the Al Shaab neighborhood. When we arrived, shopkeepers warned us not to get close to the mob surrounding the blast site. They were attacking journalists they said. We interviewed people on the fringes of the crowd and then headed to the next bombing. At the end of the day, I was struck by the senselessness of the attacks, and the response: We journalists go racing to these incidents, report them, and then move on. As if everything the bomb had done was over," says Jill.
"The next day, I went back to Al Shaab to meet the people who were living near the blast site. One family lost all they had financially and was living on the street. Another still had their house and money but lost a father and son. I wanted to keep an eye on them out of some sense that what happened to them, and other Iraqis, was not a one-day story. I visited them every month or two. Some families were able to rebuild their homes. But the family of Zeinab Yaseen just kept struggling."
David Clark Scott