Friday, April 4, 2003

You absolutely must read Matt Labash's piece from the Weekly Standard...

...that starts out as humorous account of Labash's encounter with Christopher Hitches in Kuwait City, Hitchens demanding that Labash get him into Iraq yesterday...

You can tell how at ease a man is in the world from the scarcity of possessions he lugs around with him. When I came here, it was with large backpacks and overstuffed duffels, extraneous tote bags, pouches, and carry-ons. But Hitchens showed up at my door with nothing more than a firm handshake and a half-smoked pack of Rothman's. As he stood there, rumpled and slightly jetlagged in blue jeans and a black leather jacket, he looked sort of like the Fonz--if the Fonz had been a British former socialist who could pinch large swaths of Auden from memory.

...and ends with the heart-rending, chaotic, desperate scene at their destination - Safwan, transported there as part of a Red Crescent aid convoy:

It is understandable, then, if their actions and emotions aren't easily classified--if they don't look too happy at all these journalists piling off buses like Great White Santas on safari. They love the help, and hate that they need it. While I passed out candy and toys to children, on more than one occasion, an adult stepped in and waved me off. One shot me an assassin's glare and offered a stern admonition. When I asked a relief worker what was said, he explained, "He is ashamed of his...conditions. They are proud. This is not who they are. They do not want outsiders coming here and seeing them this way."

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