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#FridayReads: Anthony Shadid, RIP

February 17, 2012

It came as something of a shock to learn of the death last night of Anthony Shadid, perhaps the finest journalist of his generation and certainly the best English-language reporter at work in the Middle East. Shadid, who survived being shot by Israeli soldiers in Ramallah, the American “shock and awe” campaign in 2003, and a kidnapping by pro-Qaddafi forces in Libya this past year, died of an asthma attack while exiting Syria yesterday.  Shadid exhibited all the attributes we expect from journalists, but rarely get. He was courageous, meticulous, and honest in his handling of the truth. By all accounts, Shadid was also a true gentleman, not to mention a wonderful writer. His book on the Iraq war, Night Draws Near—a heartrending, gorgeous work—remains, for me, the gold-standard of reporting from that hideous period in our recent past. Without even a hint of cliche, it’s clearly fair to conclude that his loss is our own, and that his voice–which spoke for those that could not, and to those who seek greater clarity about those things we often barely understand–will be missed and mourned.

Countless friends and colleagues of Shadid’s have already publicly offered their remembrances, and many more will likely continue weighing in over the days to come.  I’ve collected some of the better ones that have appeared so far, as well as some examples of the work that distinguished the man from his peers in the field, and other odds and end. Anthony Shadid, RIP.

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