What it’s like to witness an exploding car bomb: Brooklyn Brewery war correspondent series video.

What It’s Like to Be 50 Yards Away From an Exploding Car Bomb

What It’s Like to Be 50 Yards Away From an Exploding Car Bomb

Dispatches from the front.
June 9 2014 10:51 AM

What It’s Like to Be 50 Yards Away From an Exploding Car Bomb

First silence, then chaos.

Deborah Amos.

Last year Brooklyn Brewery launched an interview series at its brewhouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in conjunction with RISC, a nonprofit that offers instruction on life-saving skills for freelance war journalists. The conversations were an instant hit.

For its second season, Slate partnered with the brewery to film the series. Each month we’ll release our favorite excerpts from the conversations. In this first installment, Steve Hindy, founder of Brooklyn Brewery and a former Associated Press foreign correspondent himself, sits down with Deborah Amos, NPR's Middle East correspondent and the author of Eclipse of the Sunnis. See earlier segments on watching Richard III with Bashar al-Assad and the fallen culture of Iraq, and check back for more excerpts this week.

“In the moment when it happens, there is no sound.”


Deborah Amos was standing at the Turkish-Syrian border when a car bomb went off only 50 yards away. Four minutes later, she filed a story. Back in the United States, she explains that she has a hard time with more mundane tasks like crossing bridges, detailing how “the fear that you suppress comes out in funny ways when you’re home.”

In the clip above, she details the aftermath of car bomb—the silence and shock, quickly followed by frenzy—and why she hasn’t gone back to Syria since.

A.J. McCarthy is a Slate writer and producer.

Ayana Morali is the former executive producer of Slate Video.