Anecdotes of a journalist in the war
After six years of work, he had the opportunity to cover a war for the first time. It was the year 1991, at the age of 25 and with great fear, Alberto Peláez raised his hand to be one of those brave men who informed us of what was happening in the Gulf War night after night. “I remember that he was on Televisa visiting my colleagues and Jacobo called them to ask who wanted to go to war? At that time I had no commitments, no responsibilities, no children, no wife, no mortgages… I offered to go,” says the journalist. This is how he arrives at his first war, a fact that he describes as “extraordinary”, there, he had the opportunity to be in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Egypt, in addition to interviewing Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.
“You cannot find the exact word to define a war, it is a mixture of disagreement, lack of love, sadness, anguish, danger, emptiness… all of that must be put together. There are also moments of joy, some that are fun, intense”, says Peláez when we ask him about the feeling of being present in a military conflict. And it is that during his years as a reporter he had the opportunity to go to 20 wars although, he confesses, there was one that marked him in a special way. “The one in Sarajevo, the former Yugoslavia. There I understood what rudeness was, I had been in Somalia or Afghanistan, they had shot at us, I had seen deaths but when I went to Yugoslavia, I went as a correspondent for The vanguard and I remember that I traveled with Plàcid Garcia-Planas, he had already been there and he told me ‘open your eyes very wide because what you have seen here, you have never seen, nor will you see it again’, how right he was! that way of killing himself was crazy”, confesses the Spanish journalist.
Regardless of his professional experience, Alberto remembers the fear and a lot of nerves one night before leaving home to cover armed conflicts as a reporter. “Mónica Arredondo, my wife, is so brave that many times one night before I left, we were about to go to sleep and I told her ‘I don’t want to go’ and she answered ‘well, you’re leaving,’” recalls the Spaniard. On the other hand, returning to his house after experiencing such strong moments has been one of the best feelings he has experienced both personally and professionally. “He always came back very disoriented because he was away for at least two or three months. After going to a war, he rested, cried a lot and little by little he was decompressing… two days later we had a party with the family”, he assures.
Similarly, the journalist highlighted that during these 40 years that he has practiced the profession, Alberto told us about some of the greatest learnings that he learned from covering armed conflicts as a correspondent. “I am one of those who believes that man is good by nature and they have taught me to humanize myself much more and to understand that you could be the one who has to be in the war, you have to empathize and put yourself in the other’s shoes”.