Speaking Out

Senior editor Pamela Colloff on spending a day in Crawford and talking to war protesters.

texasmonthly.com: Did you volunteer to work on this piece? What interested you about it?

Pamela Colloff: Creative director Scott Dadich and contributing photographer Brent Humphreys came up with the idea when they heard that Cindy Sheehan would be staging a protest in Crawford over Thanksgiving weekend. Because I had spent a month reporting in Crawford in 2002, they asked me to write the story. It actually involved no writing—just interviewing.

texasmonthly.com: How long were you in Crawford, and how did you decide which protesters to write about?

PC: Brent and I were in Crawford for only one day, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I interviewed the protesters who Brent said he was the most interested in photographing.

texasmonthly.com: You have written about Crawford before. Is the climate the same as it was? How has it changed?

PC: That’s hard to say because I spent so little time there for this particular story. I didn’t see anyone at the protest who I knew from my time in Crawford; everyone I spoke with that afternoon had come into town from somewhere else: Waco, Houston, Dallas, and so on.

texasmonthly.com: How long did you talk to each protester?

PC: Brent asked me to interview each protester while he or she was being photographed. It was hard to have any kind of real conversation that way, since there was a protest going on around us. So I called everyone afterward and spoke to them at greater length.

texasmonthly.com: What was the most difficult aspect of working on this story?

PC: Some people were very wary when I first approached them, particularly if they were old enough to remember how the FBI kept track of protesters during the Vietnam era. They would say, “You want to take my picture?!” and were very suspicious of our motives.

texasmonthly.com: What was the most interesting thing you learned while working on this story?

PC: Usually, people don’t like to talk about the war very openly. Everyone seems to have strong views about our involvement in Iraq, so it doesn’t make for “polite conversation.” I found it refreshing to be in a space where people were outspoken about their opinions.

texasmonthly.com: In the story featured in the magazine, there are two protesters in their twenties, two in their fifties, one

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