Liberation's Aubenas no stranger to trouble spots
March 1 (AFP) - Florence Aubenas, the French reporter who issued a
desperate appeal for help Tuesday from her Iraqi captivity, is no
stranger to tough situations.
A senior reporter for the past 18 years for the Left-wing Paris
daily Liberation, Aubenas, 43, has covered many of the world's most
challenging crisis points, such as Rwanda, Afghanistan or Kosovo.
"She is a great professional, who is used to danger zones," said Antonie de Gaudemar, the newsroom chief at Liberation.
"She has immense talent. She loves to go off on assignment. She's plucky but she's not reckless," said a colleague.
"Florence is a free woman who chose this calling of journalist,"
according to her mother, Jacqueline, a university professor and cinema
"She loves her job, and she does it with dignity and respect," she
told Liberation shortly after her daughter's abduction January 5.
Aubenas and her Iraqi guide and translator Hussein Hanun al-Saadi
have become symbols of press freedom in France and further afield.
Their portraits hang in several cities, including the European capital,
One month after Aubenas disappeared during a reporting assignment
near Baghdad, an Italian journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, was also
abducted. She later appeared in a video, saying her life depended on
the withdrawal of Italian troops from Iraq.
The press freedom group Reporters Sans Frontiers is pushing every
possible button for the release of the two journalists and the
translator. The appeal has been supported by Arab intellectuals and
French performers who took part in a packed-out concert at the Olympia
theatre in Paris February 14 that was retransmitted to the Arab world.
Born in Belgium, but with French nationality, Aubenas worked for the
daily Le Matin and the weekly Nouvel Economiste before joining
As a special correspondent not only in hot spots abroad but in many
of the tough neighbourhoods around French cities, Aubenas sought to
describe the human emotions and tensions behind the bare facts. Her
mother said Aubenas sought to bring out "the concrete suffering" behind
the daily welter of abstract news.
On her latest assignment to Iraq, Aubenas was reporting on the fate
of Iraqis driven out of their homes after the American assault on the
city of Fallujah.
Aubenas has written several books, including "Letter to an Iraqi friend" and "Two Eyes Too Many" about the genocide in Rwanda.