Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Marie Colvin: RIP
Marie Colvin was a journalist rather than a pilot, but her life of courage is one to be celebrated. Many journalists have lost their lives covering wars and uprisings and terrorist activity around the world. Marie Colvin joins that august company.
New York Daily News: Marie Colvin, American-born journalist killed in Syria, remembered as fearless
Marie Colvin, an American war reporter killed in a mortar strike in Syria Tuesday, is being remembered by colleagues as one of the bravest foreign correspondents of the current generation.
Raised in the Oyster Bay area of Long Island, Colvin attended Yale University before starting her career as an overnight crime reporter for the United Press Agency in New York City.
She later moved overseas to work as a foreign correspondent for Britain’s Sunday Times, where she reported for the past two decades.
TWO WAR CORRESPONDENTS KILLED IN SYRIA
"Marie was an extraordinary figure in the life of The Sunday Times, driven by a passion to cover wars in the belief that what she did mattered," Sunday Times editor John Witherow said in a statement.
"But she was much more than a war reporter. She was a woman with a tremendous joie de vivre, full of humour and mischief and surrounded by a large circle of friends, all of whom feared the consequences of her bravery."
Colvin, 57, was renowned for her fearless reporting from notorious war zones including Afghanistan, the Balkans, Baghdad, Beirut, Chechnya, East Timor, Libya and Sri Lanka, where she lost an eye after being hit with shrapnel in a 2001 attack.
"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 in Sri Lanka. "Equally, I'd rather be in that middle ground between a desk job and getting shot, no offense to desk jobs.
"For my part, the next war I cover, I'll be more awed than ever by the quiet bravery of civilians who endure far more than I ever will. They must stay where they are; I can come home to London."
Colvin married and divorced twice. She had no children.
Colleagues said she spent her life defending and reporting on the plight of women and children in insufferable war zones.
"She was among the greatest human beings I have ever met because she was always on the side of truth. She was always on the side of the oppressed. She never once tired. She never once faltered. All that mattered to Marie was the truth," American journalist T.D. Allman wrote in the Daily Beast on Wednesday.
She was believed to be the only British journalist in Homs - and was last seen making the media rounds eerily close to her death. In an appearance on the BBC on Tuesday night, she described seeing a baby die in front of her. And in her last report published in the Sunday Times over the weekend she wrote that people in the besieged Syrian city were, "waiting for a massacre."
The scale of human tragedy in the city is immense," she wrote. "The inhabitants are living in terror. Almost every family seems to have suffered the death or injury of a loved one."
Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director of the Human Rights Watch told Britain's Telegraph newspaper it never occurred to Colvin to evacuate the war zone.
"Just yesterday, after she filed her news story, one of the first things Marie Colvin did was get in touch to tell me just how horrible the situation was in Homs. It was vintage Marie Colvin -- I could just imagine her happily chatting away with me as the shells fell around her building, and being totally in her element," he said. "She was one of the most fearless and dedicated ... reporters I have ever met, and someone I looked up to as a hero and an inspiration."
Colvin shrugged off her many accolades and awards and was known for her quick wit, laughter and for being the life of any party, Sky News defense and security editor Sam Kiley wrote.
"She was, however, never coarse. Always elegant. She did not get around to having children but yearned for them without bitterness," he wrote. "Her maternal warmth was so gentle and magnetic than when she played with my toddlers years ago in Jerusalem, it was all I could do to resist giving her one to take home."
Her death, according to the Telegraph, was something she never saw as too big of a price to pay to report the truth.
"Our mission is to report these horrors of war with accuracy and without prejudice," she said at a ceremony honoring foreign journalists in 2010. "We always have to ask ourselves whether the level of risk is worth the story. What is bravery, and what is bravado?
"Journalists covering combat shoulder great responsibilities and face difficult choices. Sometimes they pay the ultimate price."