As a former journalist I was hit hard today by the deaths of two journalists in Homs, Syria. Marie Colvin, an American journalist and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik were killed when the media center in which they were working was struck by artillery fire.
Just last night I listened to Colvin being interviewed about the horror in Syria on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360. She was telling the heartbreaking story of a young boy who had been killed by artillery fire when it struck his apartment. Ochlik’s video of the boy struggling to breathe just before he died brought tears to my eyes.
This was the kind of story Colvin often focused on, tales of women and children, innocent victims caught in the crossfire of an ugly war. It takes real courage to go into war zones and risk your lives so the world can know what’s going on. Now she and Oclik have joined the tens of thousands of other victims of this tragic conflict.
She had already lost an eye covering the guerrilla uprising in Sri Lanka, but that didn’t stop her from continuing to go into hell holes around the world and practice her craft.
Ochlik, who was only 29, was an award-winning photographer whose lens had captured tumultuous scenes in Haiti, Congo, Tunisia, and Libya before he came to Syria.
Americans venerate our soldiers, sailors and airmen who put their lives on the line in foreign conflicts, as well we should. I think we also should esteem the journalists who are armed with no more than a computer or a camera. They are our eyes and ears in places we can’t go, wouldn’t want to go, but need to know about. Without them, we are blind and deaf to what is going on around the planet.