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A woman who risks everything: Clarissa Ward
A woman who risks everything: Clarissa Ward

As a foreign correspondent, she has already been to many international hot spots around the world. Now she reports live from Kabul for CNN. The American Clarissa Ward is one of the bravest reporters in the world. Who is the journalist, how does she live privately, what drives her?

Clarissa Ward
Clarissa Ward

She is the mother of two young children. Ezra Albrecht Nikolaus Nour is three. Caspar Hugo Augustus Idris is just 14 months old. She lives in London and is married to Philipp von Bernstoff, a successful fund manager. She is currently risking her life. Reporter Clarissa Ward, 41, currently reports around the clock for the news channel CNN from Kabul - the city that has been firmly in the hands of the Taliban for days. Wrapped in a Nikab, warning shots are constantly being fired from somewhere. Ward flinches briefly when another shot is fired, but nevertheless confidently continues her interview with a Taliban with a friendly smile. "Sorry," she says. He interrupts: "First, cover up your face."

There are scenes that are oppressive and impressive at the same time - because they show how little this woman can be intimidated. Even though it is in one of the most threatening regions in the world. Working for journalists in Afghanistan has become life-threatening. As the organization "Reporters Without Borders" reports, at least three journalists have been murdered since the beginning of the year. The homepage says: "In 2018 alone, at least 15 media workers died in several bomb attacks. Journalists are threatened by various parties to the conflict (…) Women are particularly at risk. "

How do you want to protect women?

Clarissa Ward remains on site anyway. Her credo: "I don't believe in hypotheses. Reality interests me." She mingles in groups of Taliban fighters and seeks conversation - and discussion. "How do you want to protect women? Many are afraid that they will no longer be allowed to go to school or work," she wanted to know from one of the men. "You can go on with your life," replies the latter, "But you will have to cover their faces." - "Why?" - "Because it is an Islamic rule."

In a blog post for Women for Women International, she writes: "Being a woman is the greatest asset for me as a war reporter, as in my work environment often 50% of the population is inaccessible to my male reporters. Women are the glue of community. You have a completely different perspective on war, politics and life."

Clarissa Ward: Your background

The American grew up in Manhattan and later studied at Yale University in New Haven. One year after graduation, in 2002, she did an internship in CNN's Moscow office - inspired by the coverage of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In 2003, she started working for Fox News in New York. She started her career in international news with many major events: the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, the death of politician Jassir Araraft, also in 2004, and that of Pope John Paul II in 2005. After she reported about it from America, she was already live on site in 2006 during the Lebanon war and during the trial against Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

"I love my job. I can travel and be an eyewitness to moments steeped in history. I fundamentally believe in both good and bad. When you do this work, you see the worst of humanity, but also the best. As a journalist, I've had the privilege of experiencing the strength, resilience, and generosity of the human mind in the most appalling circumstances - it's inspirational beyond belief, "said Ward, who speaks six languages - French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin: Her job has so far taken her to many parts of the world: from October 2007 she was foreign correspondent for ABC News in Moscow, and three years later she moved to Beijing, where she worked in Syria and Ukraine, among others.

The mother of two has already received for her assignments numerous awards and prizes:Seven Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, two Edward R. Murrow Awards for Outstanding Journalism, … the list goes on.

Wedding, two children and a life in extremes

The journalist met her husband, Philipp von Bernstorff, at a dinner party in Moscow in 2007. Love at first sight. The two married in London in 2016. The 41-year-old bought her wedding dress six days before the wedding, She did the make-up and hair herself.

Their son Ezra Albrecht Nikolaus Nour was born in 2018. 2020 then Caspar Hugo Augustus Idris. About her first pregnancy, she says: "I have resolved to take it easy - and not say anything at work for the time being. I was concerned that it might change the way my colleagues felt about me. I asked myself, 'What if, after twelve years of jumping out of helicopters in war zones, learning languages and meeting people from all walks of life, I was just a privileged, pregnant white lady working in a general department store Looking at overpriced strollers? '"That is why Ward agreed when she was offered to travel to Greenland for a documentary about climate change. She remembers:" A mild summer night there was minus 10 degrees Celsius. Our guide told us that we would sleep in tents. In addition to the altitude and the freezing cold, I had to contend with one of the most common side effects of pregnancy: the urge to urinate, which constantly forced me to leave my sleeping bag."

After Alaska, Ward flew to Saint Martin in the Caribbean to report on the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. "We ate canned food and washed our mouths with sea water. On the third day my husband Philipp sent me an article that said that Saint Martin had mosquitoes with the Zika virus, which can be very dangerous for pregnant women. 'It's a little late now,' I replied."

Next stop: the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar, where more than half a million Rohingya Muslims fled the brutal crackdowns of the Burmese military and paramilitaries. At the time, Ward was five months pregnant. A few weeks later, Ward, now heavily pregnant, embarked on another mission: a trip to Yemen, to report there about the great famine caused by the civil war.

Her job seldom has a break. Even if she knows: "You need space, you need a normal life. I have an incredibly guilty conscience when I am enjoying myself when at the same time I know what is going on in the world. But you have to be able to accept joy without guilt, recognize the privilege of not living in a zone of conflict, and value love, friends and family - whatever you enjoy."

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