Philip Reeves

Philip Reeves is an award-winning veteran international correspondent based in Islamabad, Pakistan. Previous to his current role, he covered Europe out of NPR's bureau in London.

Reeves has spent two decades working as a journalist overseas, reporting from a wide range of places including the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Asia.

A member of the NPR team that won highly prestigious Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University and George Foster Peabody awards for coverage of the conflict in Iraq, Reeves has been honored several times by the South Asian Journalists Association.

In 2010, Reeves moved to London from New Delhi after a stint of more than seven years working in and around South Asia. He traveled widely in India, taking listeners on voyages along the Ganges River and the ancient Grand Trunk Road. He also made numerous trips to cover unrest and political turmoil in Pakistan.

Reeves joined NPR in 2004, after spending 17 years as a correspondent for the British daily newspaper, The Independent. During the early stages of his career, he worked for BBC radio and television after training on the Bath Chronicle newspaper in western Britain.

Over the years, Reeves has covered a wide range of stories - from the Waco siege, to the growth of the Internet, Boris Yeltsin's erratic presidency, the economic rise of India, and conflicts in Gaza and the West Bank, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Graduating from Cambridge University, Reeves earned a degree in English literature. He and his wife have one daughter. His family originates from New Zealand.

The British have some stunning cathedrals, and York Minster, in the north of England, is one of the most magnificent of all.

Construction on it began 800 years ago, and a mere 2 1/2 centuries later, work was complete.

The result was one of Europe's largest Gothic cathedrals and one that's had a rough ride through history: It's been pillaged and looted, and damaged by devastating fires and lightning strikes.

Today, there's another threat: acid rain. As a result, the cathedral's stones are decaying.

Many signs are in the Cyrillic alphabet. The men and women sitting in the cafes are speaking Russian. The shops sell vodka, black bread, pickled herring and Russian-brewed Baltika beer. You have to pinch yourself to remember where you are.

This scene, with all its echoes of the former Soviet Union, is not in St. Petersburg or Vladivostok, or anywhere else in that vast sweep of bleak northern lands. It is in Ashdod, Israel, a palm-lined, pastel-colored port city that sprawls along the mild shores of the Mediterranean.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, while our politicians are consumed with the deficit deadline, many leaders around the world are taking a step back, putting quill to paper and carefully composing their Christmas messages. In Britain, particular attention will be paid to Queen Elizabeth's message, because this year she's celebrating 60 years on the throne.

NPR's Philip Reeves sent this letter, musing about what it meant to be British as 2012 comes to a close.

Tens of thousands of people turned out for a mass rally in the Gaza Strip on Friday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hamas, which governs Gaza. The guest of honor was the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal.

This is Meshaal's first-ever trip to Gaza, and it's been seen as a political milestone in Hamas' attempt to gain wider acceptance in the region.

Gaza is a small, very crowded strip of land that is full of young people. Roughly 1.7 million people live here, and about half are under the age of 18.

Young People, Politically Minded

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And a very different emotion on the West Bank, where Palestinians are reveling today in their new status as a non-member observer state in the United Nations. What that change means depends on who's talking. NPR's Philip Reeves was in the West Bank city of Ramallah, as the vote was announced.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, CROWD CHATTER)

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

The United States is strongly against it. So even more strongly is Israel, but this will not deter the Palestinians from going to the United Nations today to secure a vote formally upgrading Palestine's U.N. status. There's little doubt the vote will pass easily, securing what the Palestinian leadership considers a significant diplomatic victory.

NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is only two days old, and already both sides claim it's been violated. At issue are the circumstances surrounding the killing today of a Palestinian by the Israeli military. NPR's Philip Reeves reports from Gaza City.

Burhan Khan can't remember exactly when he fled from Afghanistan to Pakistan. He thinks it was about 30 years ago.

"Because there was war. There was killing, there was murdering, there was firing, and they wanted to kill me, and they wanted to kill my children, so I had to come here," he says.

It was the final phase of the Cold War, and CIA-armed Afghan guerrillas were fighting to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan.

Khan and his family wound up where they are today, in a mud hovel on a patch of wasteland outside Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Muslims around the world are celebrating the holy festival of Eid this weekend. That includes almost all of the people of Pakistan. NPR's Philip Reeves is in that country, and sent us this postcard.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAFFIC NOISES)

Stop someone in the street. Ask them about the case of Malala Yousafzai. They will likely know — after the worldwide publicity given to her story — that Malala is the Pakistani teenager who was shot for demanding the right of girls to go to school.

They will surely know, too, that the people who shot Malala in the head from close range were the Pakistani Taliban. They will probably view Malala as the heroine she clearly is. And the Taliban will be seen as the violent fanatics that they surely are.

A 15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl remains in critical condition after being shot in the head for defying the Taliban and championing the right of girls to go to school. Malala Yousafzai rose to prominence during the recent war in Pakistan's Swat Valley by writing a blog under a pen name. NPR's Philip Reeves reported on that war — and twice met Malala's father. Reeves sent this account of the tough world in which Malala spent her childhood.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This week has brought one of the most disturbing images to emerge from years of conflict, in Pakistan. A 15-year-old girl lies in a hospital bed, with a bullet wound in her head. This is her punishment. She had the courage to demand the right for girls to get an education, and because she criticized violent Islamist militants who aim to stop girls, like her, from doing that. From Islamabad, NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, East Germany's secret police, the Stasi, frantically tore up millions of files gathered during decades of spying on its own citizens.

More than two decades later, the vast array of secret papers collected by the Stasi is still in huge demand. So far this year, 70,000 people have applied for access to the Stasi archives.

Many are young Germans — some searching for information about relatives, others just eager to know more about their country's past.

Something horrible has happened in Berlin.

You won't see it on TV or in the newspaper, but I know about it. So do my neighbors.

That's because there's a lamppost on our street, festooned with a note that reads, "A HORRIBLE ACCIDENT HAS HAPPENED." And naturally, once you see a note like that, you have to find out more.

As it turns out, the note was written by 29-year-old Maira Becke. But before I reveal her calamity, I must first explain the significance of lamp posts here in Berlin.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Europe's debt crisis has caused havoc, toppling governments, breaking banks, leaving a multitude of young people without jobs. Now there's a glimmer of hope.

As NPR's Philip Reeves reports, today, Germany's highest court cleared the way for the next big step in the eurozone's grand plan to save itself.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)

The London 2012 Olympics were billed as the Social Games, with Twitter, Facebook and other services making it an immersive experience. But it might be remembered as "The Crying Games," for the swelling of emotions many Britons experienced. We run down some of the Olympics' winners and losers:

The Losers

The Stiff Upper Lip

Transcript

SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:

You find out so much about a country, you know, when it's hosting the Olympics. It's almost as if the games lay bare a nation's soul. NPR's Philip Reeves says that is what's happening in Britain. He's finding the experience unnerving, as he explains, in this letter from the Olympics.

Any claim the British have to their fabled "stiff upper lip" is being destroyed by these Olympic Games. The Brits' lips are wobbling like jellies; their tears are flowing faster than the summer rain; their crowds are cheering themselves hoarse.

Some Londoners may not be much interested in sports - but one image from these Olympic Games will surely remain with them, long after the cheers and crowds have faded away. It is the spectacle of their mayor, Boris Johnson, brandishing a Union flag in either hand, dangling helplessly from a zip wire 20 feet above the ground.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We've been following some big developments today in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal in Britain. Prosecutors are charging eight people - including a former top aide to Prime Minister David Cameron - and a woman who was Rupert Murdoch's top lieutenant. NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

In Britain today, parliament continues its hearing on the interest rate scandal at Barclays Bank. This week, several of the bank's top executives resigned, including the chief executive, Bob Diamond. Yesterday, parliamentarians quizzed Diamond for three hours.

NPR's Philip Reeves is in London, where he says outrage is growing.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The Olympic Games are now just over three weeks away. NPR's Philip Reeves is tracking preparations. He brings us his latest letter from London.

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: So it's true then. Surface-to-air missiles really will be stationed on London's rooftops during the Olympic Games.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And European leaders worked through the night last night, at a summit in Brussels aimed at tackling the eurozone's worsening debt crisis.

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: NPR's Philip Reeves is there and says they've reached an agreement on at least some issues.

Spain and Italy are among the largest economies in Europe. Their borrowing costs have been spiraling towards unsustainable levels. Spain has warned that it can't afford to pay them for much longer.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The soccer game - they call it football - between Greece in Germany in Poland yesterday was always about more than just sport. Of course, there's friction between these two countries because of that eurozone crisis and both sides said they'd try to set aside politics for the day just to enjoy the entertainment. Now, of course, as has been widely reported, Germany won the game. They head to the semi-finals of the European championship. NPR's Philip Reeves was there and he sends us this account of an unusual day.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It is indeed a celebration fit for a queen, one who has been on the throne in England for 60 years. Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee celebrations continue today, and NPR's Philip Reeves is following all the festivities.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Queen Elizabeth arrives at the River Thames to begin her journey; the fanfares and cheers and a steam train in full voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAIN HORN)

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene. The financial woes of Greece and other countries of the eurozone, have meant painful austerity measures in exchange for financial bailouts. Now, Irish voters have approved a European Union treaty to battle the debt crisis. It's an effort to enforce strict budget cuts or face financial penalties.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

A mass tax revolt is under way in Ireland, and hundreds of thousands of people have resolved to break the law and refuse to pay a newly-introduced levy on households. The tax is $125 a year, but protesters say it could lead to larger property taxes in the future.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The British have been holding a public inquiry into press ethics for the last few months. The government is responding to the outcry over the phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World. The inquiry's investing the way newspapers, the police and politicians may feed off each other and that means shining a light into the secluded world, in particular, of the prime minister's social set. NPR's Philip Reeves has been watching the questioning.

(SOUNDBITE OF INQUIRY)

Pages