Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The White Ducks of Basra

For anyone who remembers the Steven Vincent story, BBC World Service's Outlook programme, Monday, had an interview with his widow, Lisa Ramaci. They also talk to the Governor of Basra, Mohammed el-Wahili, and a listener in Iraq who contacted the programme about the 'white ducks'. These are white Toyota cars, driven by gangsters or militiamen, who target anyone who opposes them and gun them down. (The link to the audio was not working when I tried it. This should be OK.)

Lisa relates that another journalist, a Basran-born stringer for The New York Times, Shaikhir (?) Haidar, was killed exactly 6 weeks after Steven.

While we are on the subject, if you have not heard Basra Diary, about the tour of the 'Desert Rats' in Southern Iraq (it was on Radio 4 a few weeks ago and the World Service last week), it is still available on the website.

Update: Steven Vincent's weblog is not quite defunct: a recent entry has a link that allows me to correct the name given above:
[19 Sept] Fakher Haider, a 38-year-old Iraqi working as a reporter for the New York Times was found dead in the southern city of Basra after being kidnapped by masked assailants [P19].

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