Correspondent Marie Colvin Dies in Syria
I was driving back from an appointment with a political campaign staff yesterday, my radio tuned to Oregon Public Broadcasting, and listening to famed American journalist Marie Colvin reporting from Homs, Syria.
I’ve written about Syria as a journalist and novelist, and I’ve studied that region of the world for years. I’ve never been there, of course. I have the comfort of being a rocking chair “expert.”
Colvin, an American of the Sunday Times of London, did her usual amazing work, talking about the shocking tragedy. As she has for decades from hot spots all over the planet.
She told BBC World Desk that Homs was a starving city. “They (the Syrian military) have locked everyone into the city and are shelling it.”
She spoke with a shocking, raw anger, rarely heard in the voices of most reporters, regarding the city north of Damascus. (And infamous for being razed by the father of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, almost three decades ago. It’s the origin of columnist Thomas Freedman’s dictum regarding all-out war on civilians: “The Homs Rules – there are no rules.”)
Colvin spoke with an icy accuracy, a cold rage put on hold long enough to tell the story. She set her horror aside to do her job.
I woke up this morning to find out Marie Colvin is dead. She is a casualty of the same bombardment she reported on. She and French photojournalist Rémi Ochlik both died.
For decades, I’ve studied war spots around the world. Often relying on correspondents like Marie Colvin, or Anthony Shahid, who died last week in Syria. They are the ones who bring these atrocities to our attention. They’re the outriders. The ones who risk their own necks so the rest of us know about the worst events in the worst parts of the world.
We owe a debt of gratitude to war correspondents like Marie Colvin and Anthony Shahid, and Rémi Ochlik. And photojournalist Tyler Hicks, who carried Shahid’s body from Syria to Turkey so his family could have closure.
There would be a mild irony in asking any of them to rest in peace. They never sought peace. Or maybe I’ve got that exactly backwards. Maybe all Colvin and Shahid ever did was seek peace, by shining a hot, harsh light on war.