Day 20: Attend a lecture by a former Taliban prisoner

September 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Today I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture by New York Times journalist and two time Pulitzer Prize winner David Rohde.  Rohde was awarded the 2009 Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism and had attended a summer journalism program at Medill back when he was in high school, so he returned to give us a presentation at the McCormick Tribune Forum. Rohde was a prisoner of the Taliban for 7 months and 10 days from November 2008 and June 2009. He was constantly in fear, as Taliban leaders discussed right in front of him the pros and cons of broadcasting his execution on Al Jazeera. Throughout that time, Rohde was afforded some incredible insights into Taliban culture. All of this and more is depicted in his 5 part series published in the New York Times titled “Held by the Taliban:” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/world/asia/18hostage.html?_r=1.

Although he is no longer a war correspondent, Rohde is  involved in training young journalists how to avoid situations that might lead to their kidnapping while abroad. He recently co-authored a book with his wife titled A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping From Two Sides, in which along with his own story, Rohde’s wife recounts her struggle to save her husband from imprisonment.

I encourage you to take some time to read Rohde’s article. It offers really interesting insight into how Americans are perceived by members of the Taliban.

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