Media,  Syria

The uncommon courage of Marie Colvin

We’ve reported over the years on too many cases of journalistic cowardice, hypocrisy and malpractice. So it is with sadness and righteous anger that we note the deaths by Syrian shelling of Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik in the besieged city of Homs– two of the thousands killed by the regime of Bashar al-Assad since last March.

Colvin was interviewed by CNN a few hours before she was killed, describing the death of a baby boy hit by shrapnel.

Colvin wore a patch after she was wounded and lost sight in her left eye during an ambush while covering fighting in Sri Lanka in 2001.

Colvin said she would not “hang up my flak jacket” even after the eye injury.

“So, was I stupid? Stupid I would feel writing a column about the dinner party I went to last night,” she wrote in the Sunday Times after the attack. “Equally, I’d rather be in that middle ground between a desk job and getting shot, no offense to desk jobs.

Speaking to BBC News Tuesday, Colvin compared the situation in [the Homs neighborhood of] Baba Amr to the massacre of Srebrenica during the Bosnian war in 1995, when Serb forces killed more than 7,000 Muslims.

She said there were 28,000 living in Baba Amr and “they are here because they can’t get out.”

UPDATE

Judy in the comments below says:

Marie Colvin was a self-confessed risk-taker. Such people are often difficult to be around, totally dogmatic about their own views and ready to erase others in their path.

But as with Steve Jobs in his field, she did have an unremitting dedication to excellence,so that the risk-taking was never applied to what she wrote (Johann Hari and Jayson Blair being examples of morally despicable risk-taking.) On the contrary, she learned to mould and channel it into delivering news from beyond the edge of possible, and that’s an awesome achievement. I’m glad to see that all the mainstream news sources are giving her the headline tribute she deserves, and that Cameron & Miliband stopped the Punch n Judy show to pay tribute to her.

It’s of course awful to think of all those lives being wilfully crushed and snuffed out just to keep that murderous dictator, his goons and cronies and his couture-clad wife in security and comfort. And she did as much as anyone to put some of those painfully and pitifully stamped out lives before us.

But it is so very sad to try and take in that we will never be reading or hearing from her again.

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