When suffering gets personal
On his return from Afghanistan, BBC world affairs editor John Simpson reveals how his attitude to covering stories about violence and suffering has changed.
The explosion was just close by. The windows of my hotel billowed inwards like sails in a storm, and the walls shuddered.
A pause, then the alarms and sirens started up all round. My camera team and I got there quickly.
The stench of high explosive still hung over everything. The screaming had mostly stopped, and the rescue workers were dealing with the still-living and collecting up bits of bodies.
The police were starting to take out their frustration and anger on the photographers. […]
When will this race ever see that violence is never the answer, and that no loss of life in furtherance of a cause is acceptable? Defend yourself if you must. Don’t actively seek to destroy life.
Yes, I know. I sound like an idealist. And a cynic. A cynical idealist. Is such a thing possible? Apparently so.