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 ...



Blogger Ptegan said...

Hope you made it back in one piece !

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

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home