The Romance of a $200,000 Dollar Phone Call

The romance of being remote, isolated, and incommunicado used to be my career. I was a foreign correspondent from 1984, during the civil war in Lebanon, until the Iraq War in 2003 (when I decided I was too old to be scared stiff and too stiff to sleep on the ground).

During those two decades, I spent a lot of time in “to hell and gone” – the deserts of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, and Iraq… the jungles of Mindanao, El Salvador, Honduras, and Peru… the mountains of Chiapas, Kyrgyzstan, and Himachal Pradesh… the chaos of Bosnia, Kosovo, and Albania… Peshawar, the Swat Valley, the tribal areas of Northwest Frontier Pakistan… Apartheid-era Soweto, Transkei, and KwaZulu… with Palestinians in locked-down West Bank refugee camps, with Israeli troops on West Bank patrols, on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, at the barbed wire fence around Chernobyl, in East Berlin during the The Spy Who Came in From the Cold era, and again when the Wall was coming down.

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