BEIRUT — Family, friends and a wider community of those he had inspired gathered Tuesday to remember the award-winning journalist Anthony Shadid, who died last week at 43 in Syria.
In the Assembly Hall of the American University of Beirut, Shadid’s father, wife, brother and cousin joined diplomats and fellow reporters in recalling a man who had won two Pulitzer prizes for his work in the Middle East, and, said the speakers, touched many lives.
“He captured the real essence of our boiling area,” said Antoine Chadid, the Lebanese ambassador to the United States, who also conveyed the condolences of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Miqati.
“We realize how much the world, Lebanon, the U.S. and of course his family have lost,” Chadid said. “But men like Anthony Shadid never leave,” he said, commending the legacy of a man raised in a Lebanese family in Oklahoma, who won acclaim for his work for the Associated Press, the Boston Globe and The Washington Post, where he was honored for his coverage of the war in Iraq.
At the time of his death, Shadid was Beirut bureau chief for the New York Times, and colleagues from that newspaper praised his work, particularly his commitment to engaging with ordinary people and his deep understanding of the history and culture of the Arab world over a 15-year career abroad.
“His writing, especially from Iraq, created space for a new kind of storytelling in American journalism,” said Kareem Fahim, a correspondent for the Times. As others did, Fahim remembered his colleague as a kind friend, generous with advice, who warmly invited him to visit him in Lebanon.
“It’s going to be so much emptier without him,” said Steve Fainaru, who worked alongside Shadid when the two reported for The Washington Post in Iraq. “I really will miss him so, so much.”
Addressing hundreds of people at the university where Shadid was awarded an honorary doctorate last year, members of his family paid emotional tribute to a son, brother, husband and father of two, saying that although he often wrote about death and violence in the region, he sought life, joy and humanity both personally and in his work.
As a boy, said his brother, Damon Shadid, his favorite game was to go exploring. “I invite you,” he said, “to re-read some of his body of work, and see it through the eyes of that child who loved to go exploring.”