ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Colleagues of Shifa Gardi, the Rudaw correspondent tragically killed last year while reporting on the war in Mosul, have shared their memories of her life and work.
Shifa Zikri Ibrahim, professionally known as Shifa Gardi, was reporting on the war against ISIS in western Mosul for her daily TV program Focus Mosul, when she was killed near the northern Iraqi city on February 25, 2017.
She was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) planted by ISIS on the edge of the Khasfa pit, a mass burial site south of the city. A number of Hashd al-Shaabi fighters accompanying her to the spot were also killed and others wounded.
Among those injured was Rudaw cameraman Younis Mustafa.
“A year ago today, martyr Shifa and I were together in Mosul to cover the fight against ISIS,” Mustafa said. “Unfortunately, on that day we faced this unwanted incident.”
Still living with the injuries he sustained that day, Mustafa described the ordeal.
“Shifa got martyred right there and I was very severely wounded. Thanks be to God, after a number of surgeries my health is in a good condition. I managed to some extent to overcome the giant wound caused to me.
“Thanks be to God, I am working now. But my health has not 100 percent improved. I need to undergo some more surgeries.”
Mustafa remembers his colleague fondly.
“Shifa was one of the best people of Rudaw. I hope such catastrophes will never be repeated on any journalist and particularly our employees.
“Shifa Gardi was also supportive and loyal to her work, encouraging us also to be as loyal as her in our job.”
Shifa’s colleagues gathered on the first anniversary of her death to remember her valuable work and her cherished friendship.
Rudaw presenter Gulistan Mihemedemîn used the anniversary to pay tribute to the inspiring example Shifa set for women in the media industry.
“No one will be able to take her place … I can only say I’m still missing her and her place is still empty.”
“Her death echoed around the world. We saw how the whole international media talked about her courage and work in covering the war in Mosul. And at the end we lost her there.
“But I want to say that she came back to us, she is here, she is in Kurdistan. She is a symbol of the women, the fighting women. I’m talking about media. Being a female in this field is very difficult, it’s very hard.
“And also going to cover the news in the war, it’s something that we are all proud of her.”
A year on from her death, a statue has been unveiled in her memory outside Rudaw’s headquarters in Erbil. A special memorial event was also held in her honor.