Thursday, February 23, 2012
Marie Colvin Killed in Syria, and the Story She Paid With Her Life to Tell
Marie Colvin, the celebrated American war reporter who died in Homs on Wednesday, together with the young French photographer Rémi Ochlik, looked every bit the part of a war reporter.
She took to wearing a black patch over the eye she lost when shot in the civil war in Sri Lanka in 2001, and always seemed to have a notepad and a pen in her hand. She was inevitably in the midst of war’s chaos before the rest of us got there, proudly filing, as she did on Tuesday, as “the only British newspaper journalist” at the scene. She was a legend to all of us who cover conflict, and universally beloved for her inspiring courage and deep commitment to the work of reporting.
On Tuesday, after she filed her horror-filled account from Homs for her paper, The Sunday Times, she got in touch on Facebook to tell me just how horrific the situation in Homs was. We had worked closely together in Libya for the past year, strengthening an occasional friendship over the years into a deep and affectionate bond. As she was preparing to enter Syria last week, we compared notes several times, looking at the routes into the besieged city of Homs and assessing the risks she would face. Her drive and determination to report—to witness—overcame all of her fears, and she was absolutely determined to get in, somehow.
Our conversation reminded me of what a unique person Marie Colvin was—an amazing journalist for sure, always first on the scene, but also a deeply caring human being who was never overcome by the cynicism and egotism that plagues the world of war reporting.