Last night, CNN’s Arwa Damon received an award from Oxfam honoring her reporting on the Syrian Civil War. The network’s senior international correspondent has spent a decade reporting from some of the world’s most dangerous and fascinating places -including Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, Thailand, and now Syria. Earlier in the week, FishbowlDC was able to get Damon to answer some questions for us about her work.
Q: In your reporting on Syria, you’ve been involved with some truly devastating situations. How do you keep from being overwhelmed by all the terrible things that are happening around you?
A: It is overwhelming and at times suffocating. Seeing others’ pain – watching as they cope with the tirade of emotions that comes with the unbearable loss of a loved one – can leave you feeling utterly helpless. The only thing we can do is try to the best of our abilities, knowing that we can never fully succeed, to portray that to our audience in hopes of raising awareness and generating change. The hardest part about Syria is that the sense among myself and many of my colleagues is that we must have somehow failed, that we’re just screaming into a dark vortex.
I can’t even begin to recall how many times I have been asked a variation of the question: “What’s the point of talking to you? The world is mocking us, listening to us, watching the videos you shoot and what’s on YouTube and yet, still mocking us. How can no one care?” And I can’t answer it. I can’t explain how the world can watch and do nothing.