An afternoon in August 2004. I was ready to set off for my home in northern Baghdad when two explosions rocked the building that houses the Washington Post Baghdad bureau, where I worked as a correspondent. I peered out the window -- first right, then left -- to locate the smoke from the bombings. Near a Christian church in the central neighborhood of Karrada, I saw a huge tornado-shaped cloud rising into the air.
I grabbed my notebook and camera and headed out with the bureau's night-shift driver to cover the bombings. As we arrived at the scene, another bomb exploded in a car parked nearby, scattering shrapnel all over the place, including onto our car. Luckily, we were still inside, and the shrapnel fell only on the hood. People covered in blood ran in all directions, screaming in pain and horror.
For the first time, I realized how dangerous my job as a reporter had become.