Question mark (52). Why do I love war?



The family gathers in the evening on the weekends. We look for a movie suitable for family viewing. The youngsters, with their “Khojati” tendencies, suggest movie names that I don’t like. I practice democracy – in the Arab way – so I impose a movie by itself.

The problem is not here; The problem is that I suggest a movie about war!

With the sword of modesty, everyone acquiesces.

We finish it and our nerves have frayed enough.


Do I like war?

I do not know why I am so eager to follow every literary or cinematic production of wars; The novels that document it, the dramatic films that do the same thing, any written or audio testimonies or memoirs, despite my bad experiences in press coverage, from which I used to come back every time, determined that it was the last time I went to a war zone.

I didn’t stop, even after I stopped traveling to war zones.

I read the novelist Amir Taj al-Sir that “wars are one of the most important materials for historical writing, and we will not ask: Why wars in particular? The matter seems clear: war provides rich materials for writing despite the damage it causes. All possible tragedies occur in war, and as a result of war: hunger, poverty Homelessness, material and sexual exploitation, the sudden death of loved ones, and all that is disturbing and despicable.

But I add – and he may not agree with me – that war is a rich material for other virtues, including – perhaps – love and romance!

Who can love while in war, who can be romantic despite the bloodshed, this means that he survived, I mean his humanity survived, he did not turn into a monster, or a deformed entity as happens to people sometimes.

War is a difficult test for a person, which he is forced to go through.

Many fail to different degrees, and many – also – succeed to different degrees.

Wars reveal the true nature of man: the malicious, the sincere, the generous, the sacrificial.

In war… Yes, we may die or be injured, or lose a loved one, but we discover ourselves and our capabilities.

And the skilled journalist is the one who succeeds in discovering these cases, individual or collective.Perhaps this is one of the main reasons that prompted me to move from the world of news to the world of documentaries, from a world looking for quick news, to a world searching within the human soul, for its stories that were covered by the news of the dead and wounded and the statements of the leaders.

In war there is something worth looking for despite its cruelty and pain, and therefore, in my opinion, every journalist should go to war, even once in his life.


Here’s the story you’ve been telling the most!

I went to Sarajevo, about every three months, waiting for the war to break out; I longed to be a witness to it, though I had no military experience whatsoever, and had no part in the soldiery.

Indeed, the war began in 1992 while I was there. Everything suddenly collapsed. At that time, I was a reporter for the Saudi Al-Muslimoun newspaper, a freelance reporter and not an employee. The owner of the hotel was a Serb. I spent one of the worst nights, and suddenly found myself without any protection. The city was besieged. Life stopped, the airport was closed, and there was no way for me to return to Germany, where I used to live.

They reached a calm, and the airport opened, and I traveled to Stuttgart, Germany, and fell at its airport from exhaustion, and promised myself not to return; I saw death with my own eyes.

Then a small piece of news came, in a German newspaper, that a man was walking in one of the streets of Frankfurt (the economic capital of Europe) and a block of melted ice fell on him from the top of the building he was passing through, so he died on the spot, and I decided to return to Sarajevo at once.

You can never escape death, when the time comes, it reaches you wherever you are.

But the danger of war is not limited to death or injury; He graduated from the war healthy body, sick soul.

Watching people’s suffering – when you can’t do anything – is an indescribable kind of torment.

What consolation can you offer to an old man whose face turned black from the snow in which he remained while he was out in the open, alone and besieged?!

What consolation can you offer to a husband whose wife was raped in front of his eyes?! Al-Hurra refused to eat anything until she died in the hospital.

What consolation can be offered to an old mother who is offering her the remains of those they found, in the hope that she may find evidence of her son or husband?!

Every scene, every picture, every situation, leaves a scar in your heart that time cannot erase, as evidenced by the fact that although I am very forgetful, the events are drawn in front of me.. I still remember.

So why do we go to war, writers, journalists and artists sometimes?


material return?

And what is the benefit of it if we died or were hit by shrapnel, and we became paralyzed, for example?

What can one do with money and fame if he loses his life, or even loses a member of his body, he loses his sight, or his feet, he becomes incapacitated, what does money do for him in this case?

I do not think that there is a single answer for everyone who goes to war by choice, whether as a journalist or anyone else.

In war you do what others, fellow trouble-hunters, don’t. You look for something different, for something valuable, for a difficult matter, for an unfamiliar need, for something worthwhile and the risk.

In the war, the true face of the leaders who implicated the people in it will be revealed, and the true suffering of the simple people, which some media outlets skip in numbers, will be revealed.

In war you are the reporter of the oppressed and the helpless victims.

It’s not just professional.

There – in war – you will remember that every soul will taste death, but not every soul will taste life, and that you were criminals against yourself; When you lived without caring about its value, without tasting life.

In war, it will take sides – or so it should be – with those who did not choose it and pay the price for it.

There is something in war that we should look for despite its cruelty and pain. Therefore, in my opinion, every journalist should go to war, even once in his life. He will come out with a thousand lessons and lessons, lessons for his profession. He will choose his issues and topics well, and he will also come up with lessons for his private life. He will know the value of life, and he will stop resenting and complaining about the most trivial things he used to complain about.


Their war is more difficult or our war?

When the war broke out in Ukraine, and male and female colleagues from Arab media organizations rushed to go there, memories brought me back to years ago, but I asked myself a question: Is their war more difficult or our war?

We did not have these modern technologies, very heavy imaging equipment, a satellite device that was difficult to carry and difficult to operate, and very limited centers from which we could send our reports.

Female colleagues and colleagues do not suffer from these problems now, but in fact they suffer from other things; This modern technology has made the door of competition very intense, anyone can send his video and written messages, and the number of correspondents has increased, and the number of institutions and channels has increased, and although it appears to be good, it makes competition very difficult.

It’s easy to take your place in an empty area, difficult to do it in a crowded area.

However, the old generation and the new generation stand at the same distance from the danger of death and injury.


The first war I experienced in my life was in Suez, following the defeat of June 1967.

I experienced war and emigration, and despite their severity, they cannot be compared to the brutality that is taking place now, as if it were a simple test or preparation for what comes next.

Some people think that the war in Bosnia and its years was the hardest for me, but I remember Chechnya, to which I went to cover, and I did not live there all the time I lived in Bosnia, except that it was the most difficult. Alive if your building was targeted, and if it happened that you came out alive and injured, there are – almost – no treatment centers except for a house here or there with individual capabilities.

But Congo is – frankly – the hardest. Africans – myself included – are very fierce in their civil wars, and Rwanda is the best witness, and others, and others.

What is strange to me is that these memories did not prompt me to take an interest in war literature, as did the novel The Zinc Boys, or as if the novel had poked a wound that had healed.

I fell into my hands this novel, which is by the Belarusian writer and journalist Svetlana Alexievich, and it combines – in my opinion – two things that I love: the novel and the documentary work. The author documents the account of living witnesses of what happened during the Soviet war in Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989, and the scars it left in the lives of soldiers and their families.

I have opened my appetite to follow up and document some of our wars, which are – unfortunately – many.


Shall I tell you a secret?

Sometimes I feel that life in “peace” is more difficult than life in “war”.

In peace, our issues are trivial, we do not appreciate life, and we do not treat it with respect.

In war – despite its cruelty – we discover life, we cling to it, and we promise ourselves that we will be faithful to it, if we get out unharmed.

Yes.. life in “peace” is more difficult!


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Question mark (52). Why do I love war?

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