Tonight, CNN’s Arwa Damon will be at the Newseum in downtown DC to collect Oxfam America’s first ever “Right the Wrong” Award. The award comes as Damon returns from a reporting stint in Turkey, where she has been covering anti-government protests. But for the past few weeks, Damon has been been covering a much more dangerous beat -the civil war in Syria. Indeed, Oxfam is recognizing her tonight for her “fearless reporting on conflict and humanitarian disasters in Syria.” (A great example of which can be found here.)
“It is a bit surreal,” she says of the contrast between the chaos of a war zone and the pomp of an awards ceremony.
“I am more comfortable being out there, dirt under my nails, amongst it all. But of course it’s phenomenally flattering and I think it does serve as a platform to highlight all the issues that we are covering out there.”
Damon is perhaps uniquely suited to cover the war for CNN -she is the quadrilingual, half-American granddaughter of former Syrian Prime Minister Muhsin al-Barazi. He was deposed and executed in 1949 during one the coups that wracked the early days of the independent Syrian state. She grew up in Morocco and Turkey, graduated from Skidmore College in New York, and began her career shortly after 9/11. At the time, she was working at a Turkish textile company, but in the face of the anti-Arab backlash taking hold of the country, she decided to dedicate her life to a higher purpose than hawking robes and carpets.