The Eighteenth Annual
Joe A. Callaway
Award for Civic Courage
Presented to Dahr Jamail
Journalist, embedded in the truth
In recognition of his courageous decision to report the real stories of the Iraqi people under United States invasion and then occupation; his unique ability to cover “sustained atrocities,” a reportage that leaves indelible marks on one’s conscience and memories, weaving a disturbing tapestry of horrific, indiscriminate civilian injuries, diseases, humiliations and deaths (650,000 as of 2006); his depiction of the brutality of American military forces yet understanding the predicament of many soldiers arising out of failed policies, surrounded by endemic corruption of the war contractors who bilked with impunity the United States treasury; his outrage at the government’s unchecked power and a compliant corporate media that misled the American people; and his luminous humanity, seeking nothing but the truth for the whole story.
Dahr Jamail gave us a front row seat to the awful reality on the ground; the siege and destruction of Fallujah in April and November 2004 will stand as one of the darkest hours of our country. The stories of civilians fleeing the city on the advice of the American forces only to see themselves fired upon by those soldiers, the use of cluster bombs and white phosphorous that burned the skin of people and literally set them on fire, the raids and killing of entire families in their homes are now our stories, part of our history.
It’s a remarkable person who can leave a comfortable life in Alaska, as a mountain tour guide and volunteer rescuer, travel 8,000 miles into certain danger, armed simply with a laptop computer and small digital camera, return numerous times at great personal risk to continue work on his own, and come out with so much truth as to embarrass many journalists by showing what their standards for excellence should be, and to accomplish this without any formal training, first reporting to friends back home and then to a widening circle of outlets.
Dahr Jamail made an extraordinary jump into the fray, this hell on earth, in defense of the truth. His gripping book Beyond the Green Zone bears witness to the suffering of the Iraqi people, channeling their voices and words to the outside world, interviewing them about life under occupation, and their resistance, a proud people with an ancient civilization.
Described by Jeremy Scahill as “the conscience of American war reporting,” and “the quintessential unembedded reporter,” Dahr Jamail has raised the banner for journalists everywhere and for citizen action towards a free press and a truly informed public. He has demonstrated the power of one citizen to make a difference. We are all beneficiaries.
December 13, 2007
Carnegie Institution Building