Daring perhaps isn’t always courage; sometimes its more about conviction and conscience that makes celebrated individuals out of ordinary men and women. And yet to sustain one’s own in this path that the spirit harbours as a marker of its integrity isn’t also a calibre that is reared naturally by all and sundry.
For some it takes decades of realisation to mould one’s self into the seeker of truth, metaphorically rather than spiritually in this case. For others though it’s just that one moment of living through something very personal yet entirely universal that charts out the life goal for them.
Treading the latter path of living an identity realised in her own experience is multiple award winning British- Iranian journalist Christiane Amanpour. As the Chief International Anchor for CNN and host of CNN International’s nightly interview program ‘Amanpour’, the celebrated woman is undoubtedly one tremendously adulated, courtesy an inspiring legacy that she has crafted on her own. But no less prominent is her very identity that which holds her in a stead of pride- as someone dedicated to the virtue of living by the truth.
For a shy girl aspiring to be a doctor during her formative years, Christiane Amanpour might not seem to ‘adhere’ to the doctrines of a set life. In going wayward not entirely by will but also in part due to destiny, Amanpour found herself trailing the expanses of a profession that soon would translate into being the harbinger of an identity largely clouted by such profound realisations that echoes also her own chances through life. And as she progressed through this world defined as much by facts and figures and fears as it is done by prospects that present themselves as pretty exciting manifestations of reality, working her way hard up the journalistic echelons by leaps and bounds, Amanpour presented not just herself but also the world with such a version of her personality that would go on to hold millions captivated- and sought to be ushered into better realities- in the days to come.
Born and raised in Tehran, Amanpour and her family however soon had to fled to England from the country of her birth at a time when the Islamic Revolution gained steam and the subsequent outbreak of the Iran- Iraq war. Moving to the United States several years later to study journalism at the University of Rhode Island, Amanpour graduated in 1983 from the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa society, soon landing a job at CNN on its international desk as an entry level assistant marking the beginnings of a career that would shape up to be one of considerable influence in her honest leanings and dedicated ideals.
With the Iran- Iraq war being her first major coverage, it once again was the event that shaped further Amanpour’s journey as a journalist after having prodded her on several years earlier to acquire a voice to bring out events and circumstances as they were to the world. She went on to report on the democratic revolutions sweeping Eastern Europe during the late 1980s and worked her way up to serve as correspondent for CNN’s New York bureau by 1990.
But it was Amanpour’s reporting during the ties of the Bosnia war a couple of years later that marked the turn of the tide for her as a journalist of utter conviction in ideals and an impeccable submission to what was the rightful truth. While this moment of reporting no doubt is one of the most significant markers of her career, it has been Amanpour’s stance during the crisis that what earned her prominence as a journalist of repute. Refusing to stay neutral in a situation where the oppressive party was clearly in the wrong, Christine Amanpour made her voice heard all through as a woman who was neither afraid nor could be compelled to compromise her ethics either on premises of the ideals of her profession and surely not based on any personal attack or scathing criticism. Criticised she indeed was, for her seemingly pro Muslim stance as she went about reporting atrocity after atrocity on the Bosnian Muslims, with an emotional adage that often was the expression of her own humane disposition, sidelining perhaps the expectations of a profession that required the likes of her to stay as ‘unaffected’ as possible. Amanpour however stood her side, even as her professional objectivity came under question, reiterating her belief in how staying neutral can sometimes mean playing accomplice to a crime- and how in all her utter conviction and conscience even amidst all the chaos, she refuses to compromise with.
Her credibility as a journalist established and intact by then, Christine Amanpour went on to report from the frontline, from a host of other conflict areas over the years. Be it Iraq, Afghanistan, the Palestine, Israel, Pakistan, Somalia, Rwanda, and the Balkans as also from the United States during Hurricane Katrina and Indonesia during the Indian Ocean tsunami, Amanpour soon came to be know for her brand of fearless reporting, prominently across a range of such issues that are sensitive and unsettling all at once. Whether it’s reporting about genocide in Africa and the Balkans or violations of human rights elsewhere or the terror in America in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Amanpour has seen the ghastly and done it all, however with a dignity that has stuck with her throughout in her belief that the truth needs to be told.
Perhaps it is this viewing of numerous crises altogether up, front and personal that has cumulatively contributed- and compounded- to Amanpour’s own personal drawings of what it means to hold the truth up in its stark light. Deriving from her personal brush with the experiences of her pre teen years to living first hand the horrors of war and its associated ills of oppression, poverty and hunger, Christine Amanpour discovered that there is no second nature to atrocities. Unless the perpetrators of crime are named and shamed and punished, there is no way that the truth will be allowed to prevail, no matter how consequential of a bearing it might have on future world issues. That perhaps is what makes Amanpour lend such a dynamic approval to the #MeToo movement that has seen women open up about their experiences with sexual predators and opportunists alike. And yet even as she barges on about how those involved should be dealt with in an according manner, she is truthful enough to even oblige that lives and careers should not be ruined altogether. That indeed is a drawing from her forever conviction about the power that rests with absolute truth. Given how not all allegations turn out to be true or are even exaggerated at times, it only is expected enough from a personality as rooted in the right of things as Christine to take a sensible approach to all matters that need to judged by statements.
But despite all her rootings for the righteous man, as also woman, Christine Amanpour is an outspoken feminist. For someone who sees feminism as equality ruling supreme across barriers, it indeed is characteristic enough of this woman so rooted in righteousness to not unduly facilitate womenfolk and parallely disprove such men who never had been in the wrong in the first place. In her strong, unwavering conscience, Amanpour has always been believing of saying things the way they are, in a trait that stays away from needlessly sensationalising the essential facade of reality that journalism needs to portray. Whether that be in her apparent subjectivity during the Bosnian war or even her personal wallowing in shame in not being able to respond appropriately to the painful incidence of mass genocide in Rwanda, Amanpour never compromises with her ethics. For her the wrong never ceases to be wrong, irrespective of whosoever might be involved in the dealings.
It derives therefore from her own essence in reporting that Amanpour has also been as vocal in advocating the cause of refugees and children worldwide. Having seen the appalling state of survival that children, as victims of any form of injustice suffer, and stirred further by her own emotions as a mother, Amanpour is extremely sensitive about children’s rights and how the world has failed to live up to its duty for them. Also herself a migrant, spurred on by conditions and circumstances to be regularly on the move, it needs no speculation where Christine’s resonance in the plight of migrants stems from. More than any professional training perhaps, more than even her experience acquired through extensive and in most cases landmark coverage of international assignments, Amanpour remains mostly a professional shaped by her person. That explains mostly why in also getting to interview top world leaders, most iconic, some controversial, Christine Amanpour has managed to evoke genuine responses from otherwise diplomatically adept, politically sharp brains. In being a woman shaped by her personal identity and professional legacy later, Christine Amanpour is what the world can consider a genuine professional growing from her own ideals as a human first and journalist later.
No wonder then that in being spurred by such experiences that speak for herself, Christiane Amanpour’s commitment to her journalistic treadings is something very personal to her. A prominent advocate of protecting journalistic freedom across such issues that range from the free will of expression to the non essential curbs of conforming to a dictum not always reverent in practice, the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for freedom of expression and journalist safety since 2015 takes prejudice to the negative interpretation of journalists in general by the world at large. Specifically unapproving has been Amanpour of US President Donald Trump’s frequent deriding of the press and media, staying uncompromised within her beliefs and convictions and prodding her own self to fight for dignified sustenance of the fourth pillar of democracy all the more.
Notwithstanding however her many political assertions on the journalistic front embarking from her coverage of a wide many crises that has lent her worldwide fame and reputation, Christine Amanpour continues to be a woman spurred by humanitarian pursuits. Concerned as much as she might be with the unrest that has governed certain parts of the world since long, the daring woman has also embarked on a journey that lets her delve deeper into a crisis of a different kind. So if on one hand Amanpour marks her namesake news programme as a no nonsense coverage of happenings characterising the world, on the other side of the spectrum there is her six-episode series Sex & Love Around the World that shows a different dimesion to her, albeit not in altogether a variegated light of leanings. In connecting with women around the world as to what shapes experiences of their emotional and physical intimacy, Christine Amanpour has managed to unearth a different world altogether- one where even such women otherwise perceived to be generally downtrodden emerges with such unexpected views on needs and aspirations that can take anyone aback. It indeed is to the credit of the magnificent phenomenon Christine Amanpour translates to that renders her so very effortless in eking opinionated responses even out of the most vulnerable and stoic presences anywhere in the world.