CNN, Al Jazeera, and Reuters, among others, are reporting on the deaths of American journalist Marie Colvin, and French journalist Remi Ochlik, in Homs, a city to the north of the Syrian capital of Damascus. The unrest in Syria is now nearly a year old.
Of course it happens every day that people– blameless and blameworthy alike– are killed in war. It is simply not possible for us to name them all, imagine them all, hold them all, and grieve them all. Our human limitation is a mercy here; loss and pain abound, and could easily swamp all of our boats. It’s not up to us to carry the pain of the world.
For the sake of our humanity, though, there are times when our compassion needs some exercise; when we need to re-contact our ability to feel– to some very, very small degree– the suffering of others. I am grateful for journalists who feel called to be witnesses for the victims of injustice and war, and to tell the stories of those who do not have a voice. It is a high calling.
Here is an excerpt from Al-Jazeera’s report, and the link to the full story:
Two foreign journalists have been killed in Homs, as activists said shelling of a district of the Syrian city continued amid warnings of an escalating humanitarian crisis. Omar Shakir, an activist in the city, told Al Jazeera that the deaths of Marie Colvin, a US reporter working for the UK’s “Sunday Times” newspaper, and French photographer Remi Ochlik occurred as a building used by activists as a media centre was shelled on Wednesday….
Victoria Nuland, a US State Department spokesperson, said the incident was “another example of the shameless brutality of the Assad regime.” France demanded access to the victims of the attack and summoned Syria’s envoy to Paris. “I am asking the Syrian government to immediately stop attacks and respect its humanitarian obligations,” Alain Juppe, the foreign minister said. “I have asked our embassy in Damascus to require the Syrian authorities provide secure medical access to assist the victims with the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross,” he said in a statement.
“Marie [Colvin] 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. “She believed profoundly that reporting could curtail the excesses of brutal regimes and make the international community take notice.”
In a phone interview with British broadcaster BBC on Tuesday, Colvin described the situation in the area as “absolutely sickening.” She said she had witnessed the death of a two-year-old boy after he was hit by shrapnel, and said there was a “constant stream of civilians” in the field clinic she visited. “No one here can understand how the international community….”