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Tans lecture by British female war correspondent
MAASTRICHT. She has been ambushed by the Taliban, abducted by Pakistan’s ISI, narrowly escaped the suicide bombing of a hotel and was on Benazir Bhutto’s bus when it was blown up. In the Tans lecture, bestselling author Christina Lamb will talk about her work as a female war correspondent.
I knew their stories would be bad. But to sit on the floor with them, hold their cold hands, look into their sad eyes and hear the agonising detail was my most harrowing experience in a lifetime of covering conflict.
Last year Christina Lamb wrote an article for the Sunday Times on the 1,100 Yazidi women and children who escaped Isis after fleeing from Iraq to Germany. With her empathic style, Lamb often focuses on women’s issues. She has also written about the girls abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria and about violence against women in Afghanistan.
In an interview published by News UK, she says: “Personally I think the real heroes of war are not the men fighting, but usually the women who are struggling to protect, feed and shelter their children while all around them is chaos.”
Lamb became a bestselling author after writing I am Malala (2013), about the sixteen-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban fighting for her right to an education. The book was translated into forty languages.
Lamb’s career started with an unexpected wedding invitation from Afghanistan, which led her to Karachi in 1987. She was just 22. She then moved to Peshawar to cover the mujaheddin fighting the Soviet Union, and within two years she had been named Young Journalist of the Year. Since then she has won 14 major awards, including being named Foreign Correspondent of the Year five times. She has also been based in Islamabad, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Washington.
Over the course of almost thirty years in the business, Lamb has seen two huge changes. “One is technology which has made the job much easier logistically”, she continues in the News UK interview. “We can file instantly from the tops of mountains in the Hindu Kush or the middle of the desert in Iraq. Sadly, the other change is that being a foreign correspondent has become much more dangerous. I have lost a number of friends.”
Currently Lamb is chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for the Sunday Times and a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center for International Affairs in Washington.
The Tans lecture is organised every year to honour Sjeng Tans, the founder of Maastricht University.
The Tans lecture is on Monday 6 november (8 pm), Tongersestraat 53, lecture hall