Sunday, September 05, 2004

Chivers: We're Not Worthy

C. J. Chivers has been giving the Pulitzer Prize committee a heads-up with his breathtaking reports from the tragedy in Beslan. Along with Steven Lee Myers, the Moscow Bureau Chief, Chivers has been reporting from the hostage siege at Middle School No. 1 in Beslan, Russia. While Myers has been responsible for the political angle and hard news aspect, Chivers has been filing extended color stories (which in this case are all black) of this horrid affair. The series, and a highlight:

52 Hours of Horror and Death for Captives at Russian School

An Agonizing Vigil Leads to Reunion or Despair
Russian Town's Young Treasures Under Threat

All of his leads during this critical breaking story have been exemplary, but to me this one was the most powerful:

BESLAN, Russia, Sept. 2 - There are no children home at 13 Oktyabrskaya Street, except for the littlest ones, too young to go to school. All the others are hostages, held by militants in the school across the street.

Throughout this small town in North Ossetia, families are stricken with an anguish that until Wednesday was beyond their capacity to imagine. The children of Beslan have become captives by the score in Middle School No. 1, from which gunfire and small explosions have been heard intermittently for two days.

The near despair is evident at 13 Oktyabrskaya, the address in Beslan with perhaps the most at stake. The building has 45 apartments, its residents said, and 40 school-age children live here. None have come home, not even when the heavily armed fighters released 26 hostages on Thursday, all women and children, in the first hopeful sign that negotiators were making progress in their efforts to end the siege.

4 Comments:

Blogger Les said...

Just a few passages that made me shiver:

"And the sense of hope that accompanied the sight of each survivor was tempered by the horrors among even the lucky. "

"The covered remains of one woman, carried out of the hospital and set in the hospital yard, told of a terrible end. Her bare feet protruded, showing soles of feet that were covered with fresh nicks and cuts, as if before she died, she had run and run and run."

Man. Maybe we could try to get this writer as a speaker? And then Brick could come, and Chivers could humiliate him! Anyway...do you guys think he had to know Russian to report this story? There are very few quotes...it's an amazing example of how to evoke this universal language of imagery - everyone knows what it is to be terrified.

September 7, 2004 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger sree said...

FYI, CJ "Chris" Chivers is J'95

September 9, 2004 at 4:10 PM  
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