ABC RADIO (AUS) PM: Ceremony held in northern Iraq for Paul Moran [transcript]

Ceremony held in northern Iraq for Paul Moran
Reporter: Louise Willis

HAMISH ROBERTSON: A simple ceremony has been held in northern Iraq to celebrate the life of Australian ABC cameraman Paul Moran. He was killed in a suicide bomb attack in the town of Sayed Sadik as he worked with our reporter, Eric Campbell.

Eric is now on his way back to Australia, but other journalists are staying on in the area to cover the war, while they mourn the loss of a colleague.

As Louise Willis reports, one of those journalists is Michael Ware from Time Magazine.

LOUISE WILLIS: Michael Ware is an experienced journalist, having covered several recent conflicts, but all the advice and training he received couldn't prepare him for the trauma of witnessing the death of a colleague.

MICHAEL WARE: Now for half an hour before the car bomb was detonated, we were under some mortar fire and heavy machine gun fire so we were all scurrying and jumping into fox holes and hiding behind sandbag bunkers.

We were in the throes of this experience when all of a sudden there was a god awful explosion just behind us in what should have been a safe area in the rear and I spun around and across a grassy field, I saw the fireball and the smoke and I dashed down there and found a scene of carnage.

LOUISE WILLIS: After the incident, Michael Ware's employer, Time Magazine, allowed him to remain in Kurdish controlled northern Iraq and he's there with a handful of other journalists.

MICHAEL WARE: I basically keep working. That way I don't have time to stop and think.

The one important thing is the community around you and the journalists, even though we are fiercely competitive -- and I like nothing more than to scoop some of my best mates on a story -- we still stick together fairly closely.

LOUISE WILLIS: Last night those journalists attended a ceremony led by the Kurdish community, who have named Paul Moran "a martyr of Kurdistan".

The ABC's Eric Campbell, who's now on his way back to Australia, used the occasion to pay tribute to his colleague.

Michael Ware says Eric recounted Paul Moran's journalistic skills and his enthusiasm for a story.

MICHAEL WARE: It was a good wake for a lot of people to say goodbye and mark the moment and have some time to pause and reflect on what is going on and that's been typical of the reaction of the Kurdish community here.

Even when we were in the hospital, as things were still very, very chaotic, three women representatives of the Women's Union of Kurdistan barged their way through security and carried on with all the help that they could.

LOUISE WILLIS: The suicide attack on Saturday is the second car bombing Michael Ware has witnessed in a month. He says he's not proud of that fact, but says he learned new survival skills from each incident.

MICHAEL WARE: If there is anything good to say about being in this place it's things like that.

I get to know how these people are working, how they're operating, and that tells you a lot about what it is they are hoping to do, what their commitment is, what their level of fanaticism is and it helps you understand just what kind of people, what kind of an organisation, what kind of a threat, you're dealing with.

HAMISH ROBERTSON: Michael Ware, of Time Magazine, speaking to Louise Willis.