I didn’t write anything about this on my site when I first learned that Steven Vincent had been murdered, at least in part because I didn’t want to help get the idea out there. But a certain segment of the world seems to think that Steven Vincent was having a romantic relationship with his translator Nour Weidi, and that this explains why he was killed.
First of all, it’s pretty clear from his writing that Vincent’s relationship with Weidi was more than a simple journalist-translator one. How much more is unclear to me, though rumors that Vincent (who had a wife in the United States) crossed the line somewhere are running rampant.
It’s not terribly kind to speak ill of the dead or dig into their laundry (dirty or otherwise), though, and I won’t try to delve any deeper. If you really need to know more, there is a legion of writers who didn’t agree with Vincent about Iraq who will be happy to help you learn.
The theory seems to go something like this: Vincent was having an affair with his translator and locals, their honor bruised, killed him for it. Therefore, Vincent’s writing in Iraq isn’t worth anything.
Or something like that. Pretty shameful, really.
Martin Kramer responds to a Juan Cole article that supports this theory:
But maybe what’s really at issue here is Cole’s ego (on his website, it usually is). Beneath his haughty dismissal of Vincent (“did not know anything serious”) lies the fact that Vincent had the audacity to challenge him. Vincent didn’t think much of Cole’s armchair expertise or his claim to be driven by concern for Iraqis, and told Cole just that on his weblog:
You might want to review your own site and how well it reflects love and concern for the Iraqi people. After all, on “Informed Comment,” pro-liberation Iraqi bloggers are accused of being CIA agents, the elections are practically dismissed as window-dressing and every terrorist–no, I mean guerrilla, as Cole would have it–attack is given marquis billing, as if their psychopathic bloodlust discredits the liberation of 26 million people. Whoops, I mean 23.5 million–because according to Cole’s Wednesday post, 2.5 million Iraqis support the “resistance.”
Well, I thank Cole for revealing his gut-level concern for the Iraqi people… My question to the Professor is, which Iraqi people–the fascist thugs he calls the “resistance,” or the police, National Guardsmen, politicians, everyday people and eight million voters who comprise the true Iraqi “resistance”? We await his Informed Comment.
Cole didn’t respond then. But now that Vincent is dead, Cole has seized the last word in the argument. Vincent shamed him, but now he has his honor back. He’s taken his revenge. These sentiments and this sort of behavior tend to be rural and to hold among the uneducated, but are not unknown among full professors.
I don’t know what the truth about these rumors of romance are. But, even if true, I don’t see how they would really affect the legitimacy of Vincent’s writing. In any event, regardless of any disdain that Vincent may have been due over these rumors, I find it odd that anyone is suggesting that he deserved death.
UPDATE: Link to the Kramer post inserted. Sorry.