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Wednesday 23 Aug 2017 | 15:16 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 23 Aug 2017 | 15:16 | SYDNEY

Freelancing in Syria

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11 July 2013 15:03

Thanks to reader Olivia for steering me towards this breathtaking piece of writing from Italian journalist Francesca Borri on the front line in Syria. The Italian editors she describes are clearly fools for dismissing Borri's opinions; we need to hear more from her:

People have this romantic image of the freelancer as a journalist who’s exchanged the certainty of a regular salary for the freedom to cover the stories she is most fascinated by. But we aren’t free at all; it’s just the opposite. The truth is that the only job opportunity I have today is staying in Syria, where nobody else wants to stay. And it’s not even Aleppo, to be precise; it’s the frontline. Because the editors back in Italy only ask us for the blood, the bang-bang. I write about the Islamists and their network of social services, the roots of their power—a piece that is definitely more complex to build than a frontline piece. I strive to explain, not just to move, to touch, and I am answered with: “What’s this? Six thousand words and nobody died?”

Actually, I should have realized it that time my editor asked me for a piece on Gaza, because Gaza, as usual, was being bombed. I got this email: “You know Gaza by heart,” he wrote. “Who cares if you are in Aleppo?”

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