Over at The New Yorker’s site, George Packer has published some powerful thoughts about the death of Sultan Munadi. An excerpt:
In Iraq and Afghanistan and a growing number of other places, the foreign correspondent would be a target with or without the fixer, but the fixer is a target because he or she is with the foreign correspondent. Both are considered spies, but one is only an infidel, while the other is something worse—an apostate, a traitor…For the most part, the risk strengthens the bond. It becomes a cause of tension only when it’s borne by just one side.
In spite of the closeness, the relationship is troubled by a kind of imbalance of power. In the course of the work, the fixer is relied on so heavily by the foreign correspondent that an observer who didn’t understand the system might assume that it’s the fixer who is in charge. After all, it’s the fixer’s country, and he or she knows it so much better. And yet the foreigner has the money, the name, the infrastructure, the power to hire and fire, and the ability to come and go, especially if things get sticky.
Packer’s post is titled, “It’s Always the Fixer Who Dies.”