The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

Reuters Photographer Beaten... by Hezbullah?

Photojournalist Wadih Shlink, a Reuters stringer who reports from Beirut, Lebanon, was pretty savagely beaten by Hezbullah "supporters" this morning. I haven't been able to find any details of this account yet, but from the history we already know, I'm betting that he was taking pictures of something that would've cast Hezbullah in a negative light.

I'll be waiting on the edge of my seat to see if Reuters can muster an ounce of condemnation against their terrorist friends' Hezbullah's savagery against one of their treasured employees.

A civil defence medic attends to photographer Wadih Shlink after he was beaten by Hezbollah supporters in a Beirut suburb May 7, 2008. Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah-led opposition blocked main roads in Beirut with burning barricades on Wednesday, paralysing the capital in a long-running political standoff with the U.S.-backed government. REUTERS/ Fadi Ghalioum (LEBANON)

I have ghosts of Wadih's photographs here, here, and here.

Update: My good friend Jeha has e-mailed with some background from on the ground in Beirut:

Hey Brian,

The guy's Lebanese, he may have been attacked by people who belong to another confessional group. None of those idiots know Reuters...

That's because the day's is ugly, at least on the edges of the Southern side of Beirut, with clashes between mainly "Shiite" parties on one side, and Sunni and Druze parties on the other... The army's trying to stop it, but it has been much undermined by Hezb'O. The Easter side is generally quiet today....

Of course, I wouldn't suspect that he was beaten by anyone who knew him personally, or even necessarily of Reuters itself. And, given that they don't know him, I'd also be comfortable saying that they didn't beat him because he came from a different "confessional group," as Jeha puts it, as such a "political proclivity," in my parlance, wouldn't really be obvious from a casual inspection.

Notice, however, how he's carrying a camera bag in the linked photo above?

I don't know about you, but to me, that says pretty clearly that he was "on the job" at the time he was beaten. And, given Hezbullah's past, at least when it comes to how strongly they control news coverage about themselves, the most likely explanation for Wadih's beating still seems to be that he was taking pictures of something Hezbullah didn't want to be seen.

At least, not by news consumers in the West.

If any of you know more about this story, I'd love to hear it. Am I barking up the wrong tree here?

Update: Could this be something that's going around? The photojournalist in this picture looks very familiar, but so far I'm unable to put a name to the face:

A cameraman reacts after he was hit in the head during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, May 7, 2008. Hezbollah supporters clashed with government backers in several Beirut neighborhoods Wednesday, using guns and stones after the militant group blocked major roads with burning tires and dirt to enforce a labor strike. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Also, more details from Jeha:


But don't read too much into it; those goons are good at such a thing, especially knowing a guy's origins. There are so many accents in tiny Lebanon, we can pinpoint one another's origins by the way we pronounce things.

Back in the civil war and tit for tat massacres, we had our confessions on our ID's. But there were faster ways; Christian Phalango militias could tell if someone was a Palestinian just by showing a tomato and asking them to name it. In the Mountain, Druze militiamen could easily tell "their" guys from the "others" by the way they pronounce their "a"... To that day, I still have my regional accent; even when I speak French of English, some words give me away to other Lebanese.

 Tags: fadi ghalioum wadih shlink REUTERS #Lebanon

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