Scott Horton Interviews Steve Connors and Molly Bingham
Steve Connors and Molly Bingham discuss their movie “Meeting Resistance” about the Sunni occupation resistance, how Saddam Hussein’s capture freed more Iraqis to fight against the Americans, the psych-ops aimed at America framing the insurgents as social outcasts instead of the normal citizens they are, the complex interplay between the Iraqi, Iranian and American factions in Iraq, the similarity in the way the West and Islamic traditions venerate war dead and the difficulty they had in getting the film made.
MP3 here. (42:18)
Steve Connors was born in Sheffield, England. He began taking photographs while serving as a British soldier in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s. After leaving the military in 1984 he worked for London newspapers and housing charities, but maintained a preference for photographing the quirkiness of British life.
At the end of 1989 Connors started traveling – first to Czechoslovakia as the communist government fell and then into Sri Lanka in 1990. Connors spent the early1990s covering the wars following the break-up of Yugoslavia and later spending time in Russia and the former Soviet Union as the euphoria of a new age gave way to the miserable realities of economic meltdown. Connors has worked for most of the worlds’ newspapers and magazines including Time, Newsweek, The New York Times in the United States; The Guardian, The Observer and The Telegraph in London and in Europe he has worked for Der Spiegel, Stern and Paris Match among others. Connors spent fifteen months from November 2001 on in Afghanistan. Starting during the invasion, he went to Iraq, and spent fourteen months there total, working ten months solidly on Meeting Resistance, Connors’ directorial debut.
Molly Bingham was born in Kentucky and graduated from Harvard College in 1990. She began working as a photojournalist in earnest in 1994, traveling to Rwanda in the wake of the genocide. She spent a good amount of her energies for the following four years focused on the regional fallout of that event. Aside from her photojournalistic work, Bingham has also completed two special projects for Human Rights Watch – one on Burundi and another on small arms trafficking in Central Africa. From 1998 through 2001 Bingham worked as Official Photographer to the Office of the Vice President of the United States.
In 2001 Bingham returned to work in Central Africa, producing a story for the New York Times Sunday Magazine (published in August 2001) on the mineral “coltan” that is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Washington on September 11 Bingham got some of the only close up pictures of the Pentagon, and followed the story of America’s response to the 9/11 attacks to Afghanistan later in the fall. 2002 found Bingham in the Gaza Strip and Iran before heading to Iraq shortly before the US attack in March 2003. Bingham was detained for eight days by the Iraqi government security services and held in Abu Ghraib prison with four other westerners during the war, and released to Jordan in early April 2003. Bingham’s first major written story – on the Iraqi resistance – was published in Vanity Fair in July 2004. Bingham teamed up with Connors in August of 2003 to begin a film about who was behind the emerging post-war violence in Iraq.