Humanities Moments

Humanities Moments

We’ve all had “humanities moments” — when our lives were made richer, more poignant, and meaningful because of the insights the humanities provide.

Witnessing the effects of near-history in Iraq

Contributed by Scott, 34, former journalist

Description

I was a newspaper reporter covering the War in Iraq in the late 2000s. My assignment was exciting, but often lonely. I bounced from town to town, usually embedded with the U.S. Army. At the end of a long day, there often was no one to talk to, grab a bite with or even watch a bootleg movie. What I did have, though, was a paperback copy of The Great War for Civilization by Robert Fisk. The book helped describe the near-history events that led to the real-time history I was witnessing on a daily basis. Through thorough research and masterful storytelling, I could better understand how an event decades earlier would reverberate throughout the entire region, setting the stage for what I was witnessing: more than 100,000 American troops trying to hold together a country that had fallen apart, creating a proxy war that drew in interests from the entire region. What I was witnessing firsthand provided the color, but the book added depth of understanding.
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Why is this a Humanities Moment?

I did not start my assignment as a Middle East or Iraq expert; rather, my expertise lay more in knowledge of the U.S. military. The book provided a crash course in how the region got to where it was at that point, and it made an indelible impression on my understanding of the Middle East.

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Title

Witnessing the effects of near-history in Iraq

Subject

I did not start my assignment as a Middle East or Iraq expert; rather, my expertise lay more in knowledge of the U.S. military. The book provided a crash course in how the region got to where it was at that point, and it made an indelible impression on my understanding of the Middle East.

Description

I was a newspaper reporter covering the War in Iraq in the late 2000s. My assignment was exciting, but often lonely. I bounced from town to town, usually embedded with the U.S. Army. At the end of a long day, there often was no one to talk to, grab a bite with or even watch a bootleg movie. What I did have, though, was a paperback copy of The Great War for Civilization by Robert Fisk. The book helped describe the near-history events that led to the real-time history I was witnessing on a daily basis. Through thorough research and masterful storytelling, I could better understand how an event decades earlier would reverberate throughout the entire region, setting the stage for what I was witnessing: more than 100,000 American troops trying to hold together a country that had fallen apart, creating a proxy war that drew in interests from the entire region. What I was witnessing firsthand provided the color, but the book added depth of understanding.

Creator

Robert Fisk

Source

The Great War for Civilization

Date

2008

Contributor

Scott, 34, former journalist

Identifier

witnessing-effects-near-history

Location

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