Why is it great? This story was part of the late writer’s Iraq coverage that won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting. It captures Iraqis’ sense of loss in the war, and the loss that had seeped into their bones for years beforehand. They long for a time without pain, for a time of beauty and peace. But they also have created a past that gives them comfort. Near the end of the story, he asks a resident if Baghdad was ever really beautiful. The resident paused. “No,” she answered. “No, I don’t think Baghdad was ever a beautiful city. But it was a lively city. It was civilized.” When the Nieman Foundation celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzers in 2016, war correspondent Francesca Borri wrote this in an essay about Shadid: “When Russian writer Vasily Grossman asked to be sent to the Battle of Stalingrad during the Second World War, other journalists objected that he had no war experience. ‘I don’t care if he is not an arms expert,’ their editor replied. ‘I need an expert of human soul.’ Shadid was an expert of the human soul.”

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