Marie Colvin in Her Own Words on Fighting Back

As a foreign correspondent, she covered hot spots around the globe, including Afghanistan. Blinded in one eye while on assignment, Marie Colvin, who died on February 22, 2012, while covering the violence in Syria, revealed to MORE readers back in 2002 the lingering physical and psychological scars, and reminded us why reporters must put themselves in harm’s way

by Marie Colvin
marie colvin image
Photograph: Getty Images

The Sinhalese, the majority of the population, were divided. A man wrote from Colombo: “I am not a Tamil, but if there were more journalists reporting the truth as you did, this war would be over in twenty-four hours.”

Others were less kind. One of the more printable Sinhalese critics—a woman claiming to be a doctor—wrote: “If you sleep with dogs, you wake up with bugs.”

So, was I stupid? I would feel stupid writing a column about the dinner party I went to last night. You can only describe what I do as “stupid” if you agree wars shouldn’t be covered by journalists, or think they should be reported by way of government press conferences. If journalists are to report on what really happens in war, on the atrocities and pain and death, they are going to face risks.

For my part, in the next war I cover, I’ll be more awed than ever by the quiet bravery of civilians who endure far more than I ever will. They must stay where they are; I can come home.

When Colvin saw Dr. Chang in New York for a followup visit, he confirmed that she would not regain sight in the damaged eye. Given the option of a cosmetic operation, she declined, because there was still the possibility of its injuring her other eye. She will, therefore, wear the patch for the rest of her life, but is still going strong as a correspondent for the London Sunday Times.

 

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Originally published in the March 2002 issue

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