The acclaimed journalist (and Truthdig contributor), who has spent the last three years in Iraq, explains how his street smarts, Arabic skills and Middle Eastern looks afforded him a view of the Iraqi insurgency almost unparalleled among Western journalists. Check out the Buzzflash interview.
BuzzFlash: You, however, seemed particularly well-accepted. Was this due to your contacts? Due to the fact that you spoke Arabic relatively fluently? How did you get to that point where they accepted you and trusted you, and that you were going to tell a balanced story, which you do in this book.
Nir Rosen: It was mostly having the right friends, actually. I came with the right friends. I had the right friends from each neighborhood. Even today, if I have to go to a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad, I will go with a Sunni interlocutor from that neighborhood. Likewise, if I?m dealing with Moqtada al-Sadr’s movement, I?ll go with somebody who is actually with his militia. You need an interlocutor. It doesn?t really matter what your ideas are in Iraq—it just matters who your friends are. You need somebody from the right tribe, from the right neighborhood, from the right sect. More and more, that’s what determines whether you can survive.