81 A Disappearance in Damascus: Deborah Campbell in Conversation with Alison Broddle
In 2007, award-winning Canadian journalist Deborah Campbell travelled undercover to Damascus to report for Harper’s on the exodus of Iraqi refugees into Syria. Campbell’s resulting book, A Disappearance in Damascus, is far from what she expected to write. To help set up contacts, she hired Ahlam, a refugee—but, while under Campbell’s employ, Ahlam was kidnapped. Campbell realizes that Ahlam’s work may have led to her arrest by the Syrian secret police. Campbell looks for Ahlam for months, crucially aware that she runs the risk of ending up in one of Syria’s notorious jails herself. Tonight Campbell talks about the unshakeable friendship between two women from very different cultures, finding courage in the face of danger and reporting in the midst of violence and conflict.