Chris Hedges: A virtuous American voice

Mohamed Salmawy
Sunday 16 Jun 2024

I could see signs of emotion on the face of the renowned American journalist Chris Hedges, winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, as he witnessed the warm welcome extended to him by the Egyptians during his brief visit to Egypt to receive the first annual Tewfik Diab Grand Prize.

 

Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper allocated the Tewfik Diab prize at half a million Egyptian pounds, equaling the sum of the Nile Prize - the largest state award.

The 900-plus audience at the Opera House, where the awards ceremony was held to mark Al-Masry Al-Youm's 20th anniversary, received Chris enthusiastically in appreciation for his pro-Arab causes writings.

These writings were recently evident in his strong stance against the Israeli genocidal war against Gaza since last October.

Chris, one of the harshest critics of the pro-Israel US policy, said Washington is an actual partner in that war providing Israel with money, weapons, and political support.

He added, therefore, that America can stop the bloodshed in Gaza within hours.

Chris chose to address the audience in Arabic - a language he learned while he was the New York Times bureau chief in the Middle East.

During his visit, Chris visited the Journalists Syndicate and met with its members who welcomed him warmly. He also toured Cairo and spoke to people in its streets.

In 2003, Chris disagreed with the New York Times policy on the US invasion of Iraq.

He left the newspaper without a moment's hesitation when the newspaper refused to publish his articles about the war.

He lost a job at the New York Times but he gained himself.

With the Gaza War, his position was clear. Here, he faced not the New York Times but the entire ruling establishment and earned its anger while receiving death threats.

The Fox News channel launched a fierce campaign against him for months on end and the Wall Street Journal dedicated an editorial to attacking him.

When Charlie Rose hosted him on his famous program, the audience attacked him and forced him to step off stage.

All that must have been on his mind when he told me before leaving Cairo for London to participate in a meeting to support Palestine: "I have visited Cairo many times, but this visit will remain dear to me. The people surrounded me with their kind affection and I met wonderful people."

"Thank you," he told me and I felt he was saying it to all of Egypt.

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