I am not one to bash the New York Times, but sometimes it seems to go out of the way to goad critics who insist it is anti-Israel.
Reporting the extremely sad news that its Middle East correspondent Anthony Shadid had died at 43 from an apparent asthma attack — while on covert assignment in Syria, no less — the Times concluded its obit with this example of Shadid’s “penchant for elegiac prose,” an account of an Israeli assault in Lebanon in 2006:
“Some suffering cannot be covered in words,” he wrote. “This had become my daily fare as reporter in the Middle East documenting war, its survivors and fatalities, and the many who seem a little of both. In the Lebanese town of Qana, where Israeli bombs caught their victims in the midst of a morning’s work, we saw the dead standing, sitting, looking around. The village, its voices and stories, plates and bowls, letters and words, its history, had been obliterated in a few extended moments that splintered a quiet morning.”
It’s a horrifying account, and I don’t doubt its veracity. Plus it comes from a forthcoming book, so it is timely. But it is either strange or telling that in an appreciation of a reporter who covered conflict throughout the Middle East, much of it Arab vs. Arab strife and civil war, the one example of his prose is an account of an Israeli attack on Arabs.