Journalist Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik Killed in Syria

Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times and Remi Ochlik of Reuters have become the latest journalists to die reporting on the massacres in Syria.

Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times and Remi Ochlik of Reuters have become the latest journalists to die reporting on the massacres in Syria.

The Telegraph (“Syria: Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin ‘killed in Homs’“):

Marie Colvin, a Sunday Times journalist, and a French photographer have reportedly been killed in the besieged Syrian city of Homs after the house where they were staying was shelled.

Colvin, an American reporter for the British newspaper, and photographer Remi Ochlik both died in the attack, opposition activists and witnesses said.

Shells hit the house in which the two veteran war correspondents were staying, then they were killed by a rocket as they tried to make their escape, Reuters reported.

Colvin, known for wearing a black eye patch after she lost an eye due to a shrapnel wound while working in Sri Lanka in 2001, was the only journalist from a British newspaper in Homs.

At least two other Western journalists were wounded after more than 10 rockets hit the house, it is understood.

Only yesterday, Colvin reported on shelling in the city in a video for the BBC, as well as CNN, in which she described the bloodshed as “absolutely sickening”.

“I watched a little baby die today,” she said. “Absolutely horrific.

“There is just shells, rockets and tank fire pouring into civilian areas of this city and it is just unrelenting.”

In a report published in the Sunday Times over the weekend, Colvin spoke of the citizens of Homs “waiting for a massacre”.

“The scale of human tragedy in the city is immense. The inhabitants are living in terror. Almost every family seems to have suffered the death or injury of a loved one,” she wrote.

In 2010, Colvin spoke about the dangers of reporting on war zones at a Fleet Street ceremony honouring fallen journalists.

She said: “Craters. Burned houses. Mutilated bodies. Women weeping for children and husbands. Men for their wives, mothers, children

“Our mission is to report these horrors of war with accuracy and without prejudice.

“We always have to ask ourselves whether the level of risk is worth the story. What is bravery, and what is bravado?

“Journalists covering combat shoulder great responsibilities and face difficult choices. Sometimes they pay the ultimate price.”

Ochlik was born in France in 1983 and first covered conflict in Haiti at the age of 20. Most recently he photographed the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

The two were killed when a shell crashed into a makeshift media centre set up by anti-regime activists in Baba Amr district, activist Omar Shaker told the AFP news agency.

Sad news but, as Colvin herself noted, the risk journalists willingly take to report from war zones.

FILED UNDER: Media, Obituaries, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Brummagem Joe says:

    It’s a risky business reporting on events in places like this. Journalists as a class are not particularly well esteemed (not without reason) but there are a lot of very courageous reporters like Colvin and Shadid around and this often gets lost in the general noise level.

  2. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    I think foreign and war correspondents are, as a class, much higher esteemed. That is, there’s a journalist, and then there’s a journalist.

  3. EddieinCA says:

    Hey, look over there: Obama is a socialist radical Muslim.

    When you read about civilians being shelled (and massacred) by their own government, it makes you truly appreciate how pedantic and silly our domestic politics have become.

    Ugh.

  4. Dazedandconfused says:

    This prompted me to look to see what became of Michael Ware. He “lost it” in Mexico. The years of covering Iraq did most of the damage, and Juarez was the straw. CNN dumped him, something they should never be forgiven for.

    He wrote something recently. For The Beast. He’s obviously still haunted.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/04/24/to-walk-with-ghosts.html

    Hang in there Mike.

  5. Nalliah Thayabharan says:

    Death is tragic and no one is happy when another human gets killed. The said correspondent’s employer is reported to have advised her to leave the city of Hom as it was not safe, but she had opted to stay behind and faced the consequences: most sane people would say that the step she took was sheer folly rather than courage, bravery or a desire for truth.

    The fact that does not get highlighted enough, sadly, is that hundreds of thousands of soldiers are forced to go to war and get maimed or killed defending their country. Yet, there are only a few to praise their valiant actions.

    War correspondents, as well as international NGOs involved in doing charity, survive on the misery of others. If there are no wars, there will be no news to emanate from these so-called theatres of war – an odd term to describe locations full of death and destruction, with nothing resembling any acting – and the ‘brave’ correspondents will have to look for alternative employment.

    The saddest state of affairs is that the West, which thinks it is clean as a whistle when it comes to the issue of the violation of human rights, survives on exporting mayhem and destruction. The countries labelling themselves as developed nations foment dissension among the peoples in places that somehow had managed to carry on in their own way, and provide backing and material support to their lackeys to attack the legally constituted establishments in nations that are not ready to tow the line demanded by the West. The weapons for the so-called freedom struggles, of course, are those produced in factories in the West, a move that provides employment to their men and women. The initiators of trouble, if they fail in their endeavours, are then encouraged to leave their home countries to settle in the West, who then constitute a dependable ally to continue their work from a distance, away from their homelands.

    When the destruction is complete, it is time for the peace merchants and the infrastructure rebuilders to descend en masse in the trouble spots to tell the ‘natives’ how they should solve their problems. Of course, it comes at a price: approximately 80%, or at times even more, of the so-called aid is spent on enviable salaries, accommodation in luxury condominiums and comfortable transport for their expatriate staff.

    Do we really want live images of soldiers, their enemies or the civilians caught in the conflicts getting blown up relayed to our TVs or computer screens? Dismembered bodies or blood-soaked clothes are not among the prettiest sights that one would like to witness at any time of the day. As far as areas of conflict are concerned, what the average person would wish to see is an outcome with some form of settlement rather than the ghoulish path that the deliverance process had to traverse.

    It is time that those who opted to put their heads out to be chopped when there were people waiting with raised swords in their hands to grant their wish are projected as heroes. Genuine heroism is when one risks his life and limb to save those who attacked him or ventures out to liberate the near and dear of the ones who were shooting you.