Belfast Telegraph

Bowen 'embarrassed' by attention

The BBC's Middle East reporter Jeremy Bowen has admitted he found it "embarrassing" to become the focus of attention when he was shot earlier this month.

The 53-year-old was injured when shotgun pellets hit the side of his head and leg as he covered the unfolding violence in the Egyptian city of Cairo.

Writing in the Radio Times, he pointed out he had a "lucky escape" but felt uncomfortable about featuring in the news himself because he had always been trained to keep his own experiences out of his own reports.

He said: "However interesting I might think my own experiences are on any given day, the news is about other people. It has been a bit embarrassing, then, to find myself, for a brief moment, part of the story from the Middle East.

He said he was only "lightly wounded" when he was caught in the blast from a shotgun fired by an Egyptian army soldier, less than an hour after three supporters of the deposed president Mohamed Morsi were killed. He said he saw one man lying dead in the road with the back of his head blown off.

He writes in the Radio Times, which is on sale today: "I had a lucky escape. I had an operation to take pellets out of my right leg, just below the knee, and my left ear. The pellet in my leg lodged near the bone, damaging neither muscles nor any important blood vessels.

"I was even luckier with the one that hit my lower left temple and ended up in my ear. When the surgeon took out the stitches, he said, "You know, there's so much important in that part of your head that could have been hit. But it missed everything."

He said it would have been "absurd" to pretend nothing had happened when he came to broadcast that night after word of his injury spread, but he chose to let it illustrate the events which were happening around him.

"In my report for the BBC News at ten o'clock I tried to concentrate on the Egyptians. TV reports should have a sense of time and place, and I included a piece to camera with blood on my face.

"I hope the story said something about the day's events in Egypt, not my personal experience," he said.

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