Farnaz Fassihi Discusses Her Cultural Heritage as a Mechanism For Successful Reporting

Farnaz Fassihi says being from Iran helps with approaching Iraqis.
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TRANSCRIPT

Question: As a Middle-Easterner, do you feel an affinity with Iraqis?

Fassihi:    Oh, sure.  I’m Iranian-American.  I was born in the US to Iranian parents and spent part of my childhood in Iran and kind of witnessed the Iranian revolution and the war with Iraq when I was child.  I think the reason that perhaps Iraqis identified with me or that I was comfortable talking to them and covering them was because I am from that region, you know, my heritage is from a country right next door.  I still have relatives living there.  I have also, like many of the Iraqis, experienced war and uncertainty and immigration, and I have families who’d lived in Iran, who’ve sort of, you know, lived through sanctions.  So, when I would tell them that I’m from Iran and I often go back to Iran and I have relatives there, I think that they felt comfortable with me, you know.  I think, that they felt like I could perhaps really understand what was happening to their lives.  I wasn’t just from this privileged nation very far away.