‘It’s great that Iraq is not being forgotten’

Daniel Santopietro writes about his experience of APJC’s Baghdad eTour on 2 March 2013. Daniel, a broadcaster with community radio station The Pulse, was one of 10 journalists to take part in the videoconference program on reporting development challenges in Iraq.

A key issue that really got my attention at the eTour is the way in which Iraq is developing as a nation 10 years after the invasion.

I found it fascinating to hear from everyone who spoke about the war and the turbulent times the country is going through, and fascinating to hear from people who fled Iraq. This got me interested in reporting on the development challenges that Iraq still faces today.

In doing further research for my radio piece I stumbled upon a speech given by United States President Barack Obama back in late 2011. This was a period of final withdrawal of troops in the country, and while he acknowledged that Iraq was not the perfect place, he went on to say “we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.”

From the topics that were being discussed at the eTour, I knew like many others that this was simply not the case.

Not many international journalists have reported on Iraq since the withdrawal. I’ve read people like Janine Di Giovanni on their experiences reporting on this conflict, but the work of  independent journalist Donna Mulhearn (APJC’s Baghdad connection) really opened up my eyes to the situation in Iraq. Donna shows great courage, going out in the face of violence to report on the challenges the country faces.

I knew deep down that the country was still unsafe, but I had been hoping that the lack of media attention meant things were steadily progressing politically, economically and socially. But the message that I kept hearing throughout the day from the speakers was of a country that is going through a really difficult period, and is struggling. This is an area that through my radio report, I wanted people to hear and understand.

The eTour has been an excellent insight into Iraq today. It’s great that Iraq is not being forgotten.

All the speakers were excellent, and in my opinion they all see hope for the country, if not in the short term then in the long term. It is a fascinating topic to discuss. Attending the eTour has made me realise that there is more to Iraq – more to discuss and report about and I plan to return to the topic of Iraq in future and report on its progress as a nation.


Hear Daniel Santopietro speak on The Pulse – Geelong

» Download Mp3 radio clip