Shibam Hadramout at Sunset

I’m a horrendous photographer. Everything I take always comes out blurry. I’ll place some of that blame on my penchant for finding ways to have my good cameras confiscated by local authorities.

Sometimes I find one of my old photos from Yemen and think they’re pretty good. Like this one. I believe it was taken near the summer of 2008. Still a little blurry.

Continue reading

GlobalPost and the Syrian Electronic Army

sea tweetThis morning I awoke at 7:30, as I usually do, and reached for my phone to make sure I didn’t receive any frantic emails or texts sent in the middle of the night. I had one this morning, from GlobalPost’s Managing Editor Lizzy Tomei, but it wasn’t very frantic. It was sent at 4:22 AM and was as calm as any other email I’d ever received from her.

Hi Jeb,

The SEA appears to be back in our site…

I’m not sure how Lizzy was capable of sending such an email at 4:22 AM. If I had been in the same position, it would have been a bit more frenzied. Continue reading

RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues) Needs Your Help!

I was one of 24 freelancers trained in battlefield first aid at RISC’s fourth course on June 18-21 this year. RISC courses teach freelance journalists lifesaving techniques to treat our own wounds, and those of our colleagues and civilians, while working in conflict zones. RISC uses donations to pay for our instruction fees and accommodations, and provides each of us with a comprehensive medical kit to take with us back into the field.

Please help me pay it forward by donating to get my fellow freelancers trained. As freelancers working without institutional backing in remote, dangerous areas, we depend on each other to keep ourselves safe. RISC is a nonprofit organization which relies on the support of concerned community members to cover our training fees. Your contributions will help RISC pay for the next cadre of trainees.  Continue reading

Are journalists legally subject to prosecution for publishing leaked, classified information?

“Actually, if they–if they knew that this was classified information–I think action should be taken, especially on something of this magnitude. I know that the whole issue of leaks has been gone into over the last month. I think something on this magnitude, there is an obligation, both moral but also legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something which would so severely compromise national security.” – New York Republican Rep. Peter King

My initial reaction to Rep. King’s statement was one of disgust.

Reasoning with my gut, I incorrectly assumed precedent had already been established in the matter of protecting journalists from prosecution for publishing leaks. Continue reading

March 18th

It was March 18th.

I carried my dad from his bed to the portable hospital toilet, one that was on wheels sitting next to his bed.

“I gotta piss, I gotta piss,” he would say, stirring me from a shallow slumber in a hospital chair that could be converted into a sort of a temporary divan.

I would carry my dad, in his hospital gown, onto the portable toilet so he could take a piss.

“Whew! Thanks, I can’t even fucking walk,” he would say.

“How is tech doing?” he would ask, wondering how Georgia Tech, our favorite college team, was doing in the March Madness bracket.

“We already got knocked out. We watched the game together,” I replied to him.

“Fuck. I must be on my way out. I’m glad I got to watch the game with you,” he said.

The cancer that began growing in his kidney two years earlier had metastasized to his lungs, liver and brain. When the doctors caught it, his renal cell cancer was already in the fourth and final stage. We got two years with him that should have only been a few months.

When I carried my dad back to his hospital bed that night, I knew it would become one of our final moments together.

So did he.

It was March 18th.

I wiped the blood off of my brow that been spit up through a tube being shoved down a man’s throat. I never knew the man’s name. Medics scrambled, desperately performing CPR on him after the intubation.

“Film! Film it!,” said one of the medics, demanding that I record what was happening.

I did. Continue reading

Saleh’s grandest deception

Smiling and chuckling with Saudi leaders, Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh seemingly relinquished power last Thursday in Riyadh, signing the controversial Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative after a 10-month long standoff. Unfortunately, in spite of countless hours of work undertaken by the international community, the power transfer is already beginning to seem impotent.

Just a single day after the superficial power transfer, government forces killed five protesters in Sana’a. Chanting, “The revolution will continue, no immunity for murderers,” pro-government plainclothes gunmen opened fire on thousands of demonstrators marching toward the foreign ministry. The Coordinating Council of the Youth Revolution of Change (CCYRC), Yemen’s largest protest committee, has even pledged to burn their electoral ID cards — an ominous sign of things to come. Continue reading