I'm starting with a short recap of this week's events, for those who may not be up to speed. Anderson headed to Cairo, Egypt last Sunday and was reporting on events of the uprising in Egypt on the ground and anchoring AC360. Things went well Sunday through Tuesday.
Then Wednesday, things took a turn for the worse. Anderson and his crew were set upon and Anderson was punched repeatedly and attacked by a mob of supporters of President Hosni Mubarak.
Anderson opened the Wednesday night broadcast of AC 360 with, "Good evening. Tonight, we are live in Cairo. This is not exactly how we had planned to bring you tonight's program, but the situation changes here minute by minute in Cairo, especially today. But I just want to tell you we are broadcasting from a location that we thought was pretty safe, up until about half-an-hour ago. Then, after that heavy fire, we got a report that pro-Mubarak forces have left the area around Liberation Square, and have now fanned out in some other neighborhoods. And the security situation, where we are, has changed somewhat in the last 30 minutes or so. We have been advised to actually turn off our lights, get down on the floor and try to barricade ourselves in the area that we're in. So that's what -- that's why we're doing this program like this tonight. It's not going to look very good over the next hour, but I hope you bear with us, because what has happened today in Egypt on these streets has been nothing short of extraordinary. The entire situation has changed here in the last 12 hours. People have died who did not need to die and people will die tonight who do not need to die. And there were many people wounded today. And we don't have actual numbers for you. But what we have seen has been nothing short of a pitched battle for the future of this country on the streets of this country, outside the Egyptian Museum and inside and all around Liberation Square." And the broadcast looked like this ~
Then on Thursday, another group of pro-government forces smashed a rock through Anderson's car window while he and his crew were in it. While he had been reporting from the Cairo streets, by Thursday night he had gone to ground. Anderson opened Thursday night's AC360 broadcast with, "We are coming to you live from Cairo tonight from an undisclosed location. I can't tell you where we are, frankly for our own safety. There's a lot of journalists now who have kind of gone to ground here in Cairo. And that's the situation we're facing. Journalists don't like to become the story, but, unfortunately, they have been made the story here over the last 24 hours. Systematically, we have seen journalists attacked, we have seen cameras taken down. We would like to be showing you instead of this picture, this strange image of us sitting on the floor of an undisclosed lighting in dim lighting, we would like to be showing you pictures, live pictures, of what's happening in Liberation Square right now, but we can't do that because our cameras have systematically been taken down through threats, through intimidation, through actual physical attacks. I don't mind telling you I am a little bit scared, because we frankly don't really know what the next few hours will hold. And I think there's a lot of people who are scared tonight in Egypt." And the broadcast looked like this~
Anderson closed the broadcast with, "We don't know where we will be broadcasting from tomorrow night. We don't know, frankly, if we can broadcast from here tomorrow night. We certainly hope so."
While things improved somewhat by Friday night's broadcast and Anderson was back on a balcony with "real lights" things were still not good.
Anderson and his crew were not the only ones in danger. The Committee To Protect Journalists slammed Mubarak officials and state-run media for creating a dangerous atmosphere for reporters in the region. And, The Committee said it has documented at least 114 direct attacks on journalists this week, including on reporters from Al-Jazeera and the Times of London. According to the NYDailyNews.com Anderson made the difficult decision on Saturday to leave Egypt and return to NYC.
This, of course, Got Me Thinking !
The first thing that came to mind was this excerpt from Anderson's book, Dispatches From The Edge. (If you haven't read it, I suggest you do and if you have read it, it may be time to pick it up again.)
SARAJEVO, MARCH 1993. Bosnia wasn't my first war, but at the time, it was the deadliest one I'd seen. It had taken me nearly a year after Burma, but Channel One had finally hired me as a correspondent. I was twenty-five, still shooting my stories on a home video camera, and traveling all alone, but at least now they were picking up the bills.
It was the first year of the war in Bosnia, and Sarajevo was under siege. Serbs in surrounding mountains lobbed shells into the city, mortaring the marketplace where old men sold their broken watched and tried to hold onto their dignity. A shell would land, blood splattered the street. You could feel the impact blocks away. There were snipers as well. Their bullets cut through the air, silent, spinning. No tracer fire, no warnings. Just snap, crackle, pop and a body would crumple to the ground.
Anyone who tells you they aren't scared in a war zone is a fool or a liar or probably both. The more places you've been, the more you know just how easy it is to get killed. It's not like in the movies. There are no slow-motion falls, no crying out the names of your loved ones....
I was afraid to sleep in my bed in my room at the Holiday Inn. I kept thinking some shrapnel might kill be during the night. So I'd lay on the floor, trying to sleep, listening to the dull thud of mortars landing on nearby buildings."
I was able to find the following video from his Channel One days in Sarajevo on YouTube ~
Between 1993 in Sarajevo and 2011 in Egypt, Anderson has traveled to many destinations to report on conflicts, and put himself in dangerous situations to bring us the story. I'll leave you with this video of his Reporter's Notebook from July 19, 2006 reporting on the conflict taking place in Haifa Israel.
And a few pictures of Anderson's field reporting from places of conflict ~
BLOGGER'S NOTE: While I will miss Anderson in the field, I completely understand why he decided to return to the NYC studio. I look forward to his continued coverage on the historic Uprising in Egypt. ~ Wonz.
Anderson will be Piers Morgan's guest tomorrow night~
Back from Egypt, Anderson Cooper on "Piers Morgan Tonight"
Yesterday Anderson Cooper tweeted: "It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to leave #Egypt. CNN continues to have many teams in place. It was a hard decision to leave."
Now back in New York, Cooper will sit down for a lengthy interview on "Piers Morgan Tonight" Monday to talk about his experience.
Anderson was mentioned in two segments on Saturday Night Live this week~
SNL - Weekend Update
SNL - Regis & Kelly skit
And Anderson was also mentioned on The Soup this week~