I can't tell if in times of war everyone around you becomes a "freelance photojournalist" or if flpjs just arrive to take the place of departed residents. I suppose it's a combination of the two, me a borderline example of the former, half of the current residents of Talal's shining examples of the latter.
Two days ago, Israel expanded its bombing campaign in Beirut for the first time into an area that included Christians - the Eastern Europeans, the Spainaird and the New Zealander were all there moments after the strike.
Me (close to midnight, in the hostel): 'How did you get down?'
EE1: 'We took a taxi. We got in and told him where we wanted to go. He said 'I know where is it, I just escaped from there. Really good luck."
Freelance reporters are more savage than most of the staff reporters I've come to know at any of the networks or papers here; they're working to make a name for themselves, they're in it for the risks, for the shock. They are vultures. They sat in the dorm room until well past one loading up their jpegs onto portable Macs, exasperated in joy at the sheer carnage they'd be able to capture. It was like kids picking over their candy after a successful Halloween.
EE1: "How did you get this!?" (It was a picture of a man putting a human head into a plastic bag.)
NZ: "He climbed up there, onto the roof where the bodies that had been inside had to go up."
S: "They were bringing the bodies up there, the ones they couldn't bring down...the whole roof. Where I was, there were all the bodies and the parts. They were putting them in bags because they will have to wrap all the parts."
EE2: "But you need...(poking his leg)...you need flesh, you need flesh!"
S: "Look here" (pointing to pictures of arms, etc)
EE2: "No no, is an arm - is part - just, you need just flesh - flesh!"