Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Steven Vincent Foundation.

In the past few months since the brutal murder of her husband in Iraq, Lisa Ramaci has been managing the beautiful Steven Vincent Foundation.
It's noble purposes honour in meaningful terms, Steven, her life companion. Many have read entirely The Red Zone. It is soulfully written, it is done with simplicity along with a keen sense of observation. It goes "au coeur des choses", right at the heart of things. Vincent was a dynamic, generous and honest communicator. The Red Zone is now a precious reference for students in journalism and for the rest of us who beneficiate from their journeys.

The Steven Vincent Foundation has two objectives.
It provides help to their families of journalists, photographers, stringers and translators who lost their lives for doing their work.
It also supports Muslim women confronting oppression on Islamic ground.

These two causes are dear to most bloggers.

Here is an important interview with Lisa conducted by antimedia, Media Lies.

The price of war

War exacts an awful cost from many people. Not least among those costs is the loss of personalities, of names, of lives that had meaning and purpose and significance. Often those names, those people, melt away in the awful toll that turns individual losses into ever-growing statistics that dull our senses and harden us to the persons behind those statistics.

Rarely do those losses rise to our consciousness and cause us to reflect on the terrible price that war exacts from us all. In Iraq, many journalists have been killed. One American journalist was murdered in cold blood. He didn't work for a major news agency. He wasn't a famous journalist or a household name. He paid his way in to Iraq and lived on the stories he wrote. He was brutally murdered for writing the truth.

His name was Steven Vincent, and he was a writer extraordinaire. His words brought to life the dusty recesses of a world so foreign that few of us could imagine it. Yet, through Steven we could live vicariously, sensing the danger, wondering what was around the next corner, worrying about the troubling signs Steven gave us that all was not right in southern Iraq.

Recently I interviewed Lisa Ramaci, Steven's widow, to find out how the Steven Vincent Foundation was progressing. Lisa started the foundation to honor Steven's memory, to provide aid and comfort to families of slain journalists and others who lost their lives because they tried to bring us the news and to assist women standing up for their rights while living in countries where shariah law makes them second class citizens.

These are my questions and Lisa's answers... Read the rest.

Excepts:

[...What do you think Steven would say to you on the day of the official launch of the Foundation?

I WOULD HOPE THAT HE WOULD SAY "GOOD JOB", THAT HE WAS PROUD OF ME AND PROUD TO HAVE A FOUNDATION NAMED AFTER HIM THAT WILL HELP BOTH THE FAMILIES OF MURDERED JOURNALISTS/PHOTOGRAPHERS/STRINGERS/TRANSLATORS, AS WELL AS MUSLIM WOMEN TRYING TO MAKE A BETTER LIFE FOR WOMEN IN THE ISLAMIC WORLD...]

[... One of the purposes of the Foundation is to support women who are in jeopardy either because they reported events that put them in jeopardy or they attempted to help other women in trouble. Were you and Steven involved or interested in similar issues before he left for Iraq?

TRUTHFULLY? NOT REALLY. WE WERE SO USED TO THE FACT THAT WOMEN IN THE WEST HAVE, FOR THE MOST PART, FULL EQUALITY WITH MEN, AND HAD NO CONCEPTION WHATSOEVER OF THE REALITIES OF DAILY LIFE FOR WOMEN IN THE MIDDLE EAST. SUCH THINGS AS SHARI'A, TRIBAL LAW, "HONOR" KILLINGS - I USE THAT TERM EXTREMELY SARCASTICALLY - WERE ALIEN AND UNBELIEVABLE CONCEPTS TO US. IT WAS NOT UNTIL WE STARTED TRAVELING IN MUSLIM COUNTRIES, BEGINNING WITH A TRIP TO IRAN IN 2000, THAT WE BEGAN TO SEE THE BARBAROUS WAY THE "RELIGION OF PEACE AND TOLERANCE" TREATS ITS WOMEN. THEN, WHEN STEVEN SPENT MONTHS IN IRAQ AND GOT TO SEE FIRSTHAND THE DAILY REPRESSION AND MISERIES THEY HAD TO ENDURE, IT TURNED HIM INTO A STAUNCH FEMINIST, AS HE RECOUNTED IN "IN THE RED ZONE"...]

[... Steven's prose was so vivid that, reading his articles, you felt as though you were there with him. He obviously cared about the place and the people that kept drawing him back to the danger he finally succumbed to. If Steven could tell the American people one thing about Iraq, what do you think he would say?

I THINK HE WOULD ASK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NOT TO GIVE UP ON IRAQ. BIRTH IS ALWAYS A PAINFUL AND BLOODY PROCESS, BE IT A CHILD OR A DEMOCRACY, BUT HOPEFULLY WHAT IS BORN WILL TURN OUT TO BE A VALUABLE AND WORTHWHILE ADDITION TO THE WORLD FAMILY.

I CANNOT PRETEND TO UNDERSTAND STEVEN'S FATAL FASCINATION WITH THE PLACE THAT KILLED HIM, BUT MUST HONOR HIS FEELINGS. SO I WILL CONTINUE TO HOLD FAITH THAT SOMEDAY, SOMEHOW, IRAQ WILL MAKE IT THROUGH ITS CURRENT GROWING PAINS AND BECOME A FUNCTIONING, MATURE, RESPONSIBLE, ADULT COUNTRY...]


[...JUST BEFORE I CLOSE, I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE AN APPEAL TO YOUR READERS. IF ANYONE, AFTER HAVING READ WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN, WOULD LIKE TO DONATE TO THE FOUNDATION, I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT LITERALLY 100% OF YOUR MONIES WILL BE SENT TO A FAMILY WHOSE LIVES HAVE BEEN SHATTERED BY MINDLESS VIOLENCE, OR TO A WOMAN FIGHTING AGAINST THE BRUTALITIES OF SHARIA. EVERY DONOR WILL RECEIVE A RECEIPT, AND ANY DONATION, REGARDLESS OF THE AMOUNT, WILL BE GRATEFULLY RECEIVED. CHECKS CAN BE MADE OUT TO "THE STEVEN VINCENT FOUNDATION" AND SENT TO:

THE STEVEN VINCENT FOUNDATION
534 EAST 11TH STREET SUITE 17-18
NEW YORK, NY 10009

OR DONATIONS CAN BE MADE VIA PAYPAL (WWW.PAYPAL.COM) TO THE EMAIL ADDRESS STEVENVINCENTFOUNDATION@YAHOO.COM .

THANK YOU, PAUL, AND THANKS TO ALL OF YOU PATIENT ENOUGH TO PLOW THROUGH THIS LENGTHY POST. I APPRECIATE YOUR GIVING ME THE CHANCE TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT STEVEN, AND THE WORK I AM TRYING TO DO TO HONOR HIM. GOD BLESS - .]

Steven Vincent's blog was named In the Red Zone. His book, In The Red Zone, is for sale at his publisher's website.

Our thanks to antimedia at Media Lies on Thursday April 27, 2006 at 11:48pm


To read as well: The Steven Vincent Foundation by Robert J. Avrech at April 30, 2006 at Seraphic Secret.

Last week was a difficult time for Lisa Ramaci.
It was a year ago, on April 24, that Lisa last hugged her husband Steven Vincent goodbye and watched as he went off to seek truth in Iraq. There, this good and talented man was kidnapped with his translator, Nour Weidi. Steven was horribly tortured for over five long hours and finally murdered in cold blood. Nour, a lively and poetic young woman, survived--but just barely. Steven's book, In the Red Zone, is the best summation of post-war Iraq I have yet to read.
Lisa and I speak to one another by e-mail. I have told her of my grief for Ariel and she has told me about Steven. We have prayed alone and together for those we have lost...



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