As a multi-award-winning journalist who has spent a life trafficking in stories — reading, writing, reporting, teaching, speaking, performing — Craig Pearson has a flair for the written word so vital to successful reporters and essayists.
Pearson has a well-rounded reporting background, having covered pretty much every issue imaginable in a 24-year career at three daily papers, including on the provincial campaign trail and as a war correspondent in Afghanistan.
Pearson has served as a long-time general-assignment reporter, with stints in a smorgasbord of beats. And he has often wielded opinion with various columns and blogs over the years, at the Sherbrooke Record, the Montreal Daily News, and the Windsor Star, where he writes his unique Pearson to Person perspective in the paper and online.
He doesn’t shy away from any issue or reporting situation, from skydiving and bungee jumping to covering riots and visiting crack houses.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in communication studies, has written for three daily papers, has taught writing and reporting for more than a decade at the University of Windsor, has won several awards, speaks French, keeps fit and basks in current affairs.
He has an interest in many media: print, film, television, photography, video and the Internet. He is a former radio announcer who has done some acting, lots of public speaking and recently, net news casting. With equal parts compassion and daring, Pearson’s reports are detailed, sometimes offbeat, but always a great read.
Rockets, bombs and gunfire form the deadly currency of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. So, too, did they fuel Pearson’s journey through war, cultural understanding, and the violent east-west clash in the deserts, villages and military camps of a modern-day hell.
As Canada’s role in a hot, dangerous and faraway land changes in 2011 — but does not end — it is time to reflect on the success and failure of the Canadian mission.
Outpost Mosque provides timely analysis and observation, starting with a vivid account of surviving a rocket blast at a forward operating base. It explores the reasons someone volunteers for Kandahar Airfield. It includes Afghanistan history and the last 30 years of war Afghans have endured, under the Soviets, warlords, Taliban, and now us.
It discusses how a desperately poor, landlocked nation in central Asia has triggered the most multinational war in the last half century. And how a multi-billion pipeline hangs in the balance, but only hush-hush behind the scenes. Outpost Mosque takes a critical look, questioning the deadly military push to flush out insurgents, and praising the humanitarian efforts that will continue after 2011.
All along, Outpost Mosque mixes detailed reporting with a highly personal journey: from the first-hand fear sparked by a rocket attack to a phone conversation on the dangers of Afghanistan with Michelle Lang — just before she became the first Canadian reporter to die in Afghanistan. The book provides a rare but much-needed up-close analysis of Canada on the battlefield and Afghans going about their daily lives.