Truth, Terror and Consequences with Award Winning Former War Correspondent
Through his lectures, Chris Hedges takes people on dark journeys to places they thought they would never go. Painting pictures with words, he acts as a tour guide to the realities of war and those who choose to accompany him will return with a better understanding.
On February 28, the Selkirk College Mir Centre for Peace Lecture Series welcomes the Pulitzer Prize award winning journalist, author and activist to Castlegar’s Brilliant Cultural Centre. Currently an educator and columnist for Thruthdig, Hedges will dive deep into the world he has witnessed for more than two decades.
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges will be arriving to the West Kootenay later this month as the latest speaker in the Mir Centre for Peace Lecture Series.
“I spent 20 years as a war correspondent,” Hedges said when asked about the topic of the lecture. “It’s about the poison of war, the culture of war and what it does to individuals and societies in all the various conflicts that I covered. That dark lust for violence, that capacity for evil that we all have.
“In a time of war when a culture is gripped by war, the death instinct becomes dominant. I think what most people don’t understand about it is how seductive it is. I will be drawing on various experiences I had in various conflicts to talk about the nature of war and what it is.”
Outspoken Views and Tarnished Awards
When al Qaeda attacked the United States on September 11, 2001 Hedges was based in Paris. Over the next year, he worked with other New York Times reporters to shed light on global terrorism. In 2002 he was part of the New York Times team that won the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage.
“It did nothing for me,” Hedges says of the honour. “I have been in the profession so long that I have seen brave reporters never win prizes and I have seen crappy reporters win Pulitzers. I had done reporting long enough to be pretty jaded about prizes. I know who great reporters are and I know what great reporting is, I have seen how that reporting is often never given a prize at all because it’s too disturbing to the centres of power and the committees that give prizes don’t want to go there.”
On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, Hedges released his book War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning. He became an outspoken critic of the invasion appearing on programs like Charlie Rose to let the world know that the move would lead to disastrous consequences. After being on the ground in the Middle East for so many years prior to the 9/11 attacks, Hedges says he knew the United States would not be greeted as liberators in Iraq and there were no stockpiles of nuclear weapons to justify the invasion.
“I was heard,” Hedges says of his outspoken views. “Not many people heeded it, but I was heard.”
Not Shying Away from the Truth
Hedges post-New York Times career has continued to build and he has established himself as one of the leading voices of change in the United States.
He writes a weekly column for Truthdig, the online newspaper that promises to “drill beneath the headlines” and has written more books. Hedges was the speech writer for 2008 presidential candidate Ralph Nader and has publically supported the Green Party of the United States.
In November, 2011, Hedges was arrested with others in New York as part of the Occupy Wall Street demonstration. He was heavily involved in the movement, authoring the first issue of The Occupied Wall Street Journal.
Tickets for the Mir Lecture are available at the Selkirk College Bookstore in Castlegar, Otter Books in Nelson and at the door ($16 for the general public and $13 for students/seniors). The February 28 lecture starts at 7 p.m. at the Brilliant Cultural Centre (1876 Brilliant Road).
You can read the entire story on Chris Hedges at selkirk.ca.