I had heard of Marie Colvin as a respected journalist for the London Sunday Times. I didn't realize she was an American. And although I remember seeing a picture of her, with her distinctive eye patch (necessary because she lost an eye covering war in Sri Lanka or some other global hotspot), I couldn't have told you anything else.
Until today, of course, when her story ended so sadly, with her death in Syria as the result of shellings by the Syrian army on civilians in Homs. She died doing what she loved to do. In fact from all accounts that are pouring in from friends and fellow professionals, she died doing what she felt compelled to do: telling the truth. Getting the real story out. To the world.
The narratives of great journalists are, of course, at the apex of human communication. They initiate the kinds of conversations that must take place in order for us to know our world, to know the truth about what is happening not only in our home towns but most especially around the world in the places that even in this time of hyper technology, needs to be observed--and reported on --first hand.
Marie Colvin died shortly after her interview with Anderson Cooper about the senseless killing of civilians in Syria, including the death of a baby boy. When Cooper asked her if it was appropriate to share with others these horrors of war, especially when they involved young children, she responded with an
emphatic yes. She believed the story must get out. And it must be the truth.
It is interesting that in this age of technology, when literally anyone can consider himself a journalist, sharing opinions and iPhone photos with the world, it still takes the eyes and ears and immense courage of a Marie Colvin to get the story right. To arm us with what we need to continue the conversation so that when appropriate it rises to the shout the world needs to hear.
I often say that face to face conversation is the new luxury. Marie Colvin was there, as she was for decades, face to face with war. And I suppose her kind of journalism is itself a luxury. She was reported to be the only British news journalist still on the scene in this bloodbath in Syria.
Thank you, Marie Colvin. I hope your example will inspire others. It has certainly given those of us who can only imagine your life, a sense of awe at what you did and the gift you gave to all of us.