The Unembedded Story
published 2009 • 6" x 9" • 359 pages
ISBN 9781566567787 • paperback • $20.00 •
"American readers will learn a great deal about Arab perspectives on the war in Iraq from Mansour...Mansour writes a gripping eyewitness account of the fighting."
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A courageous work of journalism by the only reporter to remain in Fallujah during the US siege of the city
In 2004, the United States waged one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq war in the city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad. For many the city was a symbol of the resistance to the US war and occupation; since the battle it has become a symbol of the worst of the US –Iraq war. Only one television station—Al Jazeera—stayed in Fallujah to report on the battle, and the horrifying and heartbreaking images seen worldwide came from reporter Ahmed Mansour and cameraman Laith Mushtaq.
The images so outraged the world that the US military made Mansour’s leaving Fallujah the first condition for a ceasefire. Donald Rumsfeld called his reporting “vicious and inaccurate,” and argued that they were propagandists: “What they do is when a bomb goes down, they grab some children and some women and pretend that the bomb hit the women and children.”
Here, for the first time in English, is the renowned reporter’s own view of what happened inside Fallujah. It is the untold story of a defining battle that determined the future of the US occupation of Iraq; the story of a city that shattered US designs not only for Iraq but the region as a whole.
Ahmed Mansour, the celebrated reporter and anchor for the Al-Jazeera network, is the author of eighteen books.
“Al-Jazeera has a track record of honest and accurate reporting, and has maintained a principled pluralism in the face of brutal and authoritarian regimes within the region, and increasingly from those without. This is why it has been vilified, criminalized and bombed. It is also why it should be defended...”
—Arthur Neslen, The Guardian
“The real threat that Al-Jazeera poses is in its unembedded journalism—precisely what is needed now to uncover the truth…”
—Jeremy Scahill, The Nation
Olive Branch Press
"Ahmed Mansour, [is] a journalist of impeccable credentialshis detailed and factual reporting...puts the war in a context that is more complete...Americans who might want to know the truth about Fallajuh should read this book...Mansour was careful to balance the stories and put them in proper context...Ahmed Mansour represents the absolute finest in Middle East and Arab Journalism."
-Ray Hanania, Middle East Book Reviews and Entertainment
"In case you wonder just how far a nation will go to keep the truth from its people, consider the perspective on Iraq presented by journalist Ahmed Mansour in "Inside Fallujah: The Unembedded Story". Mansour is a reporter and talk show host for al-Jazeera, and was lucky enough (if you want to call being an unarmed reporter in the middle of a war lucky) in 2004 to get around a U.S. military blockade and into the town of Fallujah before a battle took place there between American troops and “insurgents.” ... Mansour’s story is significant because no other reporters got into the city, and thus while the U.S. military controlled the story in the American press, Mansour was able to send out a very different look on who the victims were and how the fighting went.
One of the most frustrating things for me about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is the very different ways in which they have been covered from past wars. ...the whole notion of being “embedded” goes against journalistic integrity.
There has been pushback on the canned reports that became all too common in recent years, but reading Mansour’s story is one of the biggest in-your-face rebuttals to accepting at face value any official government response you are going to come across. Journalism keeps government honest (consider the street journalism in Iran last year), and Mansour, through his credible coverage, is able to bring a great deal of honesty to what we now know was a bungled mess that involved a devastating convergence of politics and military might, with tens of thousands of people stuck in the middle with no way out. ... This is what journalism is all about, and it proves why one side of a story is never enough."
“The other side of the coin can prove enlightening and informative. 'Inside Fallujah: The Unembedded Story' is another perspective from the battle of Fallujah during the oft criticized American War in Iraq. Offering a shocking other opinion, being one of the only reporters to stay inside the city during the US Invasion. Well worth considering for those studying the Iraq war, 'Inside Fallujah' is infinitely interesting and very highly recommended.”
—Midwest Book Review
“Fallujah saw some of the heaviest guerrilla warfare during the Iraq War. One news organization remained in the city to report on the fighting, but much of its coverage was considered biased against the American army—at least by the Americans. ... What often got lost in the political cross-fire was the story of ordinary citizens and their families. This account helps balance the journalism produced by ‘embedded’ reporters. ... Researchers will also like the index, which gives quick entry to the battles and people involved. Readers will see an Arabic perspective that is not a polemic but is also not favorable to the United States.”
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