Sometimes people carry out certain tasks and are called “brave,” while “stupid,” “naïve,” and “psychotic” would apply just as well. For war correspondents looking to cut their teeth in the field, sometimes all those words mean the same thing. That’s certainly the case for Sunil Patel, who traveled to Syria so he could cover the bloody conflict there. His account, published in Vice Magazine, is the real-life narrative of what can happen to and in front of someone when they’re willing to travel to one of the most dangerous places in the world. And it was all in order to become a journalist.
Read I Went to Syria to Learn How to Be a Journalist in its entirety by clicking here. An excerpt below:
After the interview, we got a call that a bakery had been bombed and we should come to the hospital where the victims were being treated. It took 15 minutes to get there and turned out to be a total horror show. The “hospital” looked like it had previously been a little hotel.
Out front there were seven or eight bodies lined up along a wall. They were covered up in sheets, their stiff arms and legs sticking out from beneath the fabric. Next to them, a woman was crying hysterically over her son’s corpse. Reporters flocked around her.
This was when I realized that maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a journalist. I couldn’t work up the gall to take a picture of her. Eventually, I took a few, but it was excruciating.
Inside, people were hauling in a mess of mangled bodies. Most of the victims were conscious and breathing, but there was blood everywhere. They had a vacuum hose with which they were trying to suck all the blood off the floor. The doctors were trying to treat everyone at once, and it was apparent they were having a miserable time—especially trying to treat one man whose head was oozing pools of blood.
I’d never seen anything like it and absolutely could not handle my shit, so I went back outside. But outside wasn’t much better. A truck had arrived, and a group of men was loading a young guy’s corpse into it. Men and women were crying.