Shipping Note: This item usually arrives at your doorstep in 10-15 days
Author: Shyam Bhatia
Publisher: Speaking Tiger
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9789385755538
War reporters tend to have shorter lives than many others in the same profession of journalism, simply because they are exposed to more day-to-day risks in remote parts of the world where timely help is a prized commodity.
Shyam Bhatia is one of the lucky few who has lived to recall and recount unique survival stories, including his eyewitness experience of a mini massacre on the Kabul to Kandahar highway, followed by his own detention, torture and daily threats of execution by the mujahidin.
The Afghan experience was followed by an equally chilling episode in southern Sudan where Bhatia’s media convoy drove over a carefully concealed landmine, resulting in one colleague’s death and injuries to several others. In the ensuing chaos Bhatia and his friends cradled their dying friend and recited what they remembered of the last rites following his passing.
Just as gripping is his account of uncovering mass murders in Delhi, breaking the story of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, as well as his encounter with the besieged Marsh Arabs of Iraq that won him the Foreign Journalist of the Year award.
In a lighter vein Bhatia also talks about his first major interview with the late Yasser Arafat and how he secured more long-term access to the Palestinian President by capitalizing upon his passion for honey.
As you read this first-hand account of life as a foreign correspondent, it becomes obvious that regardless of professional skill, luck or good fortune is all too often what makes the difference between life and death.
Funny, moving, revealing and heartwarming, Bullets and Bylines reads like a thriller that takes the reader behind the scenes to understand the stories behind the headlines.
‘The thirty-five men and women lying dead before me were each shot with a single bullet that made a muffled ‘pop’ as it passed through their heads. Only minutes earlier we were fellow passengers on the Kabul to Kandahar bus that was stopped near Ghazni by anti-Soviet mujahidin. True, I survived, but my Afghan co-travelers became victims of a mujahidin bloodlust that started in 1980 and would last for several decades.
In theory the US-backed mujahidin, forerunners of today’s Taliban, were licensed to kill only those construed as being pro-communist or pro-Soviet. In practice the mujahidin were trigger-happy, keen to settle scores, or simply eliminate anyone who annoyed them, such as their innocent victims on that freezing afternoon in 1980.
Those dead men and women committed the mistake of holding on to newly issued red identity cards. Since red was the color of communism, invoking memories of the Cold War slogan ‘Better dead than Red’, their fate was sealed. And each dead body seemed to drive temperatures even further below the minus 19 degrees that matched the cold of the Arctic Circle. It was the type of cold that I have never forgotten.
- From the chapter colder Than the Arctic Circle
‘A compellingly written book about the unknown world of the foreign correspondent…it takes the reader on a thrilling series of adventures from India to the shores of the Atlantic.’
== Kuldip Nayar, senior journalist and author of Beyond the Lines: An Autobiography
‘Shyam Bhatia leads us straight to the horror. His compelling and courageous reports hold a mirror to conflict in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. Running risks to tell the stories of those who endure warfare, he reflects that the price journalists pay is always danger.’
== Trevor Fishlock, Writer & former correspondent with The Daily Telegraph and The Times, London
1. Colder Than the Arctic Circle
2. Heroes of Peace
3. 149 Turbans
4. Nuclear Secrets
5. The Price of Truth
7. Dodging the Spooks
8. The Marsh Arabs
9. The Power of Honey
11. Paris by the Sea
13. Terror in the Holy Land
14. Golden Gun
15. Running on Empty