An East – West Journalist Hasan Mert Kaya Caner
Her latest book, Begum, acclaimed writer describes journalist Kenize Murad describes life and the struggle of a woman of the eastern world caught in a triangle of love, power and social pressure. Making a splash with her much-talked-about novel, From Palace to Exile, Murad in this latest book takes up the story of the uprising led by Begum Hazret Mahal, who lived in Northern India’s powerful Awad Kingdom in the 19th century. We spoke with Murad about her career in journalism, the world of the east and her most recent work, Begum, in an interview for readers.
You have a long career in journalism that has taken you to some of the world’s most dangerous places. Do you love your work?
Yes, journalism is a job that is very important to me and that I have always loved to do. This profession has been a great adventure for me that 1 could never give up. I could easily have worked in France and French politics and been successful to boot. But being in the Middle East, in the place where civilization began, was a passion for me. I was in Iran during the revolution, for example, While everybody else was at home glued to the TV, munching on a snack while they watched events unfold on the screen, I was right in the thick of it. I witnessed everything in person, and that was very important to me.
You’ve been in other countries as well at critical moments…
Yes. I’ve gone to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Palestine and a whole slew of other places as a reporter and investigative journalist. These are places fraught with life’s great tragedies. Tragedy and hope are what give meaning to life in this region. You won’t find them in everyday life in the West. You live in an apartment, you go to work, you come home. Everything ticks along normally in the flow of life. You won’t easily be a witness here to the great events, the great turning points of life.
What have you seen?
What have I seen! I have seen human courage. I’ve seen that a human being can be more than himself. Every time I return to France from Lebanon and Palestine, I hear people grumble about this problem and that, and it makes me really angry. Complaints like that strike me as comical after the things I’ve seen in the places I’ve risked my life to go. But let me also point out to your readers that if I’d had a child, or been a journalist forced to take photos, I would never have taken those risks. You have to get up close to photograph events as they are happening. Coskun Aral, for example, is one of the most distinguished names in the field. I could never have taken the risks he has taken. And as far as I know, he also gave it up when he became a father.