From 2002 to 2006, Mark Willacy was the ABC's Middle East Correspondent, based in Jerusalem. His apartment sat perched over the Hinnon Valley, the Biblical Valley of Hell, a fact that seemed aptly symbolic given that his tour in the Middle East saw him observe first-hand some of the most dramatic and violent events of the 21st century – from the second Palestinian Intifada to the US invasion of Iraq and the vicious insurgency that followed.
His account of these four turbulent years is personal, informed and utterly riveting. From the horror of witnessing the results of suicide bombings first-hand, to clandestine interviews with some of the Middle East's most-wanted terrorist leaders, to surreal cricket matches played behind concrete blast walls and fortifications in Baghdad, Mark captures the human dimension of the Middle East's tragedies, revealing what it really means to live through events we only read as news stories. With compassion, humanity, and a leavening of humour, The View from the Valley of Hell takes you behind the headlines and into the heart of the most volatile and important region in the world today.
Between July 2002 and July 2006, Mark reported from Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Morocco, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and the Persian Gulf (onboard HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Kanimbla).
As well as being the ABC's Middle East Correspondent, Mark has worked as a Political Correspondent in Canberra. He reported on the 2000 coup in Fiji, and has covered stories in Indonesia, Singapore and most recently East Timor. He's currently working as a reporter on the ABC's Landline program. He lives in Queensland with his wife and two young children. Mark won Australia's premier journalism award – a Walkley – for his reporting in Iraq on the fall of Saddam Hussein. He was also nominated for Walkley awards in 2004 and 2006 for his coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.