Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Do It To Me, One More Time …

Well, today I’m going up to see for myself.

Following the unfortunate deaths two teenagers in Clichy-sous-Bois, six nights of rioting have turned the town into a virtual no-go area. Violence has spread to other Paris suburbs and it doesn't look as though the government can put a cap on it that easily. Tonight, myself, a journalist and a producer are to spend a night with the riot police. Oh joy.

With the regular office journalists out of the country, I have to work with a replacement from the UK. A ‘ring-in’, as we call them, he’s some young spunky 30-something, taking over for the month of November. Normally, he gets to report on run-of-the-mill British home news (cat stuck up tree, that sort of thing) but tonight‘s story I fear, is like letting a child into a firework factory with a box of matches. I do not trust him one iota. Not a single millimetre of a nat’s whatsit and, by the way he's getting all excited and talking about this shoot, I can see us coming to blows. Following the fun and games we all had in Kosovo, I reached the age of 40. At that point I thought, “Right, that‘s it. No more hot areas, no more civil unrest and no more war”. TV and newspaper agencies (from plush, leather-bound offices) push and goad both staff and freelance TV cameraman and stills photographers to 'get closer to the action' .

Between 1991 and 1993, I spent my time covering the Bosnian war and some truly atrocious bomb attacks in South Africa. With each exploit, I lost friends. Five in total. Once you’ve seen ‘premiership’ war and bloodshed up close, then an inner city riot shouldn’t be much of a problem? Well it is when you have an aversion to violence. I’ve experienced enough of it and I’ve reached an age when I would prefer to do something less traumatic. Furthermore, I don’t like young keen journalists who think that by giving their cameraman a good shove, they’ll get what they want.

Being caught in the middle of a riot with both eyes open is bad enough, but with one eye shut (the open eye pressed up against the viewfinder) you have less than bugger-all of a chance. If this ‘ring-in’ pushes me to go further into tonight’s action, I shall simply hand him the camera, “You want to get injured getting your precious pictures, then you go get them …”.

Will report back tomorrow ...

Stu

1 Comments:

Blogger Ptegan said...

Hope you made it back in one piece !

Thursday, November 03, 2005 1:15:00 am  

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