Even amid reports of drone strikes and killings, Augusta native Jeb Boone works toward returning to Yemen. When he does, he’ll be armed with a reporter’s notebook and pen.
For two years, Boone lived in Yemen, working as the managing editor of the Yemen Times, the nation’s most widely read English-language newspaper, and as a freelance journalist covering Yemen’s revolution. He witnessed protests and violence but discovered more paying attention to the goodness and humanity of the Yemeni people, he said.
Now, Boone, 26, works in Atlanta as a freelance journalist covering cyber security and technology, primarily for the international news organization Global Post. He keeps his focus on returning to Yemen as a full-time correspondent for a major news organization.
“I always wish I was there,” Boone said.
On Sunday, Boone, a graduate of Davidson Fine Arts School, returns to his hometown to share the story of finding his second home in Yemen.
Antiwar activist and CODEPINK founder Medea Benjamin, who recently returned from a trip to Yemen, also will speak.
“I would like to go back to the Middle East at some point or to areas of conflict,” Boone said. “It’s hard to stay away.”
Recently, Boone completed medical combat training for freelance journalists working in war zones that teaches how to provide first aid to a fellow journalist wounded by bullets or shrapnel.
The training began after journalist Tim Hetherington was fatally wounded by shrapnel covering the conflict in Libya in 2011.
Boone studied the Middle East and Arabic as an undergraduate. While in college, he studied abroad in Yemen for seven months.
Journalism was a craft Boone learned in the field filing stories in Yemen.
He left Yemen in early 2012, only when the lack of electricity and escalating violence made his job as a freelancer too difficult.
“Working as a journalist in Yemen, you gain a strong appreciation for the subjective nature of the truth,” he said.
Before joining the Yemen Times, Boone took a job as the managing editor at the Yemen Observer, a government-run publication, in October 2010.
“To be succinct, the Observer was just too pro-regime for me to feel good about the work I was doing,” he told The Augusta Chronicle in February 2011.
Boone wants more Americans to pay attention to Yemen and consider the people’s plight when forming public policy.
“The situation is so sad to see what started as a youth uprising against an authoritative regime and was hijacked by old political parties and left youth out of the picture, all for political gains,” he said.
Boone and Benjamin will speak at 3 p.m. at the Augusta Library Headquarters, 823 Telfair St. Benjamin will sign her book, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. at The Book Tavern, 936 Broad St.