The first of two parts
(LANDER) – A Lander journalist injured while covering a rebel assault on Sirte, Libya, for CNN News in September returned home this past week for a short visit with his family. Ian Lee said he was very happy to be home, and he said he is completely healed from the September incident, when shrapnel from a rocket propelled grenade pierced his leg above the ankle. A Libyan paramedic was killed in the attack, when the RPG hit his ambulance in a convoy entering Sirte.“It was a very surreal experience,” Lee said when he visited County10.news headquarters before Christmas. “I never imagined getting shot, it’s not like what you see in the movies, it just happened.” I really appreciated the prayers and support of the Lander community after I was injured,” Lee said. “It was very special. People from big towns don’t get that kind of support.”
Lee is a member of Lander’s Faith Lutheran Church congregation. Immediately after his injury, Lee said CNN flew him to Paris for surgery. “They really took good care of me,” he said. During his recovery, Lee was able to travel to London with friends to see the NFL’s Chicago Bears play a game there before he returned to the Middle East.Lee expressed his thanks in a video message to the community.The LVHS grad pursued his college degree at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University in Tempe. He was named a Fullbright Scholar and he received a critical language award to study Arabic. His project under the scholarship was to study the emergence of on-line media in Egypt and the Middle East, especially how such sites as Facebook, Twitter and other web sites were used. “I studied how social media works there, and the differences between Egyptian and U.S. media,” Lee said.
His conclusion was that people are more free to post on English than on Arabic web sites. “It’s an example of that country’s growing pains,” Lee said. “The demographics of Egypt are such that most don’t have access to the Internet. Those who do represent not a broad segment of their society, but are most likely activists, the more liberal people there.”
Lee’s shrapnel wound was not the first time he was involved in an incident while on duty for CNN. “I was in the Sinai Desert working on a story about human trafficing in August when our vehcile blew a rear tire en route to the border and it rolled about five times. It was just before I left for Libya,” he said. “I was lucky to walk away without an injury,” he said.
In part two, Ian talks about the political landscape in Egypt and what he’ll be covering once he returns to Cairo.