"Explaining the Middle East conflicts through the eyes of six individuals" PBS NewsHour 8/12/2016
SUMMARY: In an article that consumes the entirety of this week's New York Times Magazine, Scott Anderson aims to tell a story of great breadth and timeliness, how the current conflicts in the Middle East arose, and how they might evolve from here. Hari Sreenivasan discusses with Anderson how the writer leveraged six individual voices to illustrate the narrative of these immensely complex hostilities.
HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour): The last five years of tumult in the Middle East defy easy explanations. Revolutions that began with much hope in early 2011 have evolved into disaster in places like Syria and Libya and led to political upheaval and repression in Egypt.
In Iraq, the American-led war that began in 2003 has morphed into a many-sided conflict that has once again brought America back into the fight there and in Syria.
Caught in the middle, millions of people whose lives have been upended.
An attempt to capture in part the story of this cataclysmic time comes now from journalist Scott Anderson and photographer Paolo Pellegrin, whose work “Fractured Lands” comprises the entirety issue of this Sunday's “New York Times Magazine.”
And Scott Anderson joins me now.
You're telling one bigger story, and you're using six different voices to get at it.
SCOTT ANDERSON, Contributing Writer, The New York Times Magazine: Right.
HARI SREENIVASAN: But the big thesis in a nutshell.
SCOTT ANDERSON: I wanted to tell this kind of broad story of how we got here, and to a degree where we might be headed next. And to tell this story, I really needed to focus in on people.
HARI SREENIVASAN: One of the characters that you focus on in Iraq is so compelling. It's a young woman who ends up — she was working for the CPA for a little while, the Provisional Authority. Tell us about her arc now.
SCOTT ANDERSON: Right.
Yes. Khulood al-Zaidi, she was — she's from a provincial town in Southern Iraq from a Shia family. When the Americans invaded in 2003, she heard the talk of democracy and human rights and women's empowerment that the CPA was talking about. She became an instant convert. She worked for the CPA.
And then, when the Americans left, she was stranded on the beach, so to speak. And she tried to continue doing work. She received many death threats from the militias, finally ended up having to go into exile in Jordan. And just in the last — about six months, she joined the migrant exodus to Europe.
So, now she and one of her sisters are living in a little town in Austria, and they have been given asylum and they're going to start a university in September.