Anthony in Ramallah

by Timothy Fadek


I met Anthony in Jerusalem in March 2002, when he was a reporter at the Boston Globe. He, like many journalists and photographers, arrived in Israel to cover the initial rumblings at the start of the second intifada. On March 29, the Israeli army had entered the West Bank city of Ramallah and attacked Yasser Arafat’s compound.

Because of the violence, the streets of Ramallah were deserted. Israeli tanks were scattered around the city. The next day, March 30, I was walking down one such deserted street, with my cameras hanging off my shoulders, when I heard a single shot from a rifle. I ran over to where I thought the sound came from and saw Anthony on the ground, with his fixer kneeling over him. He was shot in the shoulder and bleeding.

It was an uncomfortable feeling, seeing him like that, in stark contrast to how he was just earlier—as I had just talked to him an hour before, at some Ramallah intersection with a large banner of Arafat’s face glaring down on us.

The number for the Red Crescent was already saved on my mobile phone, so I called and, remarkably, an ambulance arrived less than 10 minutes later. Anthony gave me the number to his editor at the Globe and I called to inform him of the incident.

He wasn’t bleeding too much but, even so, it must have hurt like hell. His fixer was pressing down on the open wound before the paramedics arrived. You can see him grimacing in this photo. He was not only conscious but cracking jokes, and in Arabic, to the smiling paramedic who was inserting an IV into his arm.

That was Anthony: making sure people around him were comfortable and calm, even in the most dangerous situations.

Years later, in 2006, I spent time with him in southern Lebanon. At that time, he was working for the Washington Post and I was on assignment for an Italian magazine. We were covering the Israel-Hezbollah bombing war. From our hotel in Tyre, we filed our stories and pictures. When he was writing, he did not look up from the screen of his laptop, nor was he distracted by others in the room. But once he sent his story, he’d smile at everyone gathered around him—mostly other reporters who wanted to know how his day went.

Anthony Shadid, an Oklahoma City native, died last month on assignment in Syria for the New York Times.