an area of the map for world news.
March 2002 issue of
World Press Review
(VOL. 49, No. 3)
on the Front Lines
World Press Review Associate Editor
her a war correspondent. Norwegian journalist Åsne Seierstad,
31, resents the label. I hate weapons, she says
simplyand continues to report from the worlds battlegrounds.
She has won many awards for her reporting from Kosovo, Chechnya,
and Afghanistan. I won for fearless journalism,
but I can tell you it was often afraid journalism,
admits Seierstad, who entered her profession casually,
posing as a reporter in Moscow to interview then-Russian President
Boris Yeltsins political rival Ruslan Khasbulatov (who
in 1993 led fellow legislators in a coup attempt).
Born to a feminist author mother and a leftist politician father,
Seierstad did not stay long in her birthplace, Lillehammer.
She lived in France, then went to Mexico after college; she
worked for Russias news agency ITAR-TASS in Moscow; she
spent six months in China studying Chinese, resided in Belgrade
in an artists collective, then in Venice, and took German
classes in Berlin. Fluent in five languages and with good working
knowledge in another four, Seierstad is able to cover her subjects
as few other war correspondents can.
Last year, Seierstad published a book (With My Back to the
World), a portrait of 13 individual Serbians and one family
during a decade of war. But she has refused publishers
offers to write a book on her work that would seem, as she puts
it, to be about Me and My War.
I havent found the peace inside myself to settle
down in any one place, Seierstad admitted to the Oslo
newspaper VG. I am rootless. According to
Oslos Aftenposten, Seierstad recalls sitting in
a bunker on the front line near Kabul as the city was liberated
from the Taliban. She thought about death but was more concerned
about getting shrapnel in her thighwhich would have stopped
her from skiing. Nothing is worth getting shot for,
is her mantra.
The journalist, who declared as a young girl that she would
never want to become prime minister because she doesnt
belong to any party, has maintained her independence. If things
are not going well for her in Norway, she simply takes offand
might end up riding on a tank with the Northern Alliance on
their way to Kabul.