John Pomfret - Quotes

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I think to a certain extent in Bosnia and among the Hutus in Rwanda and also among the Tutsis in Rwanda who then took revenge on the Hutus, there is a sense of being swept up and a sense that the society in which they live has gone mad. ---->>>

When I see somebody being mistreated, my eyes tear up and I want to stop it. And I believe that the best thing I can do is to write about it, because if I insert myself into the equation it doesn't really do much good, but if I write about it I think it could do more good. ---->>>

My main form of transportation at that time was a bicycle, because bicycles could move though the crowd. ---->>>

The one indication that I got that I was doing the right job in Bosnia was that at different periods of time all the factions came down very hard on me. ---->>>

But on the other hand, in the midst of the chaos, you find normal people. You find people who are willing to risk their lives to tell you what they saw, even though they have no dog in the fight. ---->>>

I had my life threatened by Bosnian Serbs on numerous occasions. ---->>>

Srebrenica was a horrendous war crime and it had to be uncovered. ---->>>

For me the much more significant question is what did the Americans do, if anything, to help the Croatian army, because they are the ones that changed fundamentally the map of Bosnia, not the Bosnian army. ---->>>

And when they do spin out of control there are important ramifications that affect America, not just its direct national interest but its broader interests as a nation which has thought of itself as a beacon to other nations, of freedom, liberty, democracy, whatever. ---->>>

One of the problems that we have as American journalists is that we bring the American cultural baggage with us and we plop it down and it follows us around and that's just a fact of life. ---->>>

And then I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to go to China in 1980, which was quite early. ---->>>

I was posted to China in the summer of 1988, which was the greatest time ever, I think, to have been in China. ---->>>

I've been shot at on numerous occasions. ---->>>

In some ways the domestic reporting is a lot easier because Americans will talk to you about anything. ---->>>

Stanford had no journalism program so I just learned by doing, effectively. ---->>>

The desire to become a journalist came really because I very much like living abroad, and like to travel, and wanted to be paid for it. ---->>>

The work is a calling. It demands that type of obsession. ---->>>

When you do a job like this you have to like having cold sweat on your back. ---->>>

Whereas with foreign coverage there's a much broader disconnect between you and your audience. ---->>>

Working overseas is more difficult in that it's much more complicated to get people to open their hearts to you and to tell you information. ---->>>

A lot of times when we work overseas we tend to put the experience of someone who lives overseas, a Chinese person or a Korean person or a Bosnian person, within the prism of an American life. ---->>>

I think some of the best reporters are the ones who can really illustrate the differences between societies, at the same time trying to connect the fact that there are a lot of shared values in addition to those differences. ---->>>

Good journalism, I think, represents life and if you try to organize something too neatly it usually blows up in your face and doesn't really happen the way you want it to. ---->>>

I grew up in New York City in the late '70s, at a time when U.S. - China relations were something that was on the front page of The New York Times on a regular basis. ---->>>

I think that's the main threat in Bosnia and Rwanda and Zaire. There doesn't seem to be much willingness to engage these problems unless they directly affect national security interests. ---->>>

I was fourteen when Kissinger made his secret trip to China, and then there was subsequently Nixon's trip to China, and I was very much seized with an interest in China. ---->>>

I went back to the States and started at a small newspaper in Riverside County, California, covering the police; I was making $280 a week covering the police. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: American
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Occupation: Journalist
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For the journalist, see John Pomfret (journalist) John Pomfret (1667–1702) was an English poet and clergyman. John Pomfret was the son of Thomas Pomfret, vicar of Luton, and was educated at Bedford School. His mother was Catherine Dobson, the only surviving daughter of English Civil War painter, William Dobson (wikipedia)