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Friday, September 29, 2023

Staff Editorial

News from Syria gained at great costs

“They call it widows’ basement. Crammed amid makeshift beds and scattered belongings are frightened women and children trapped in the horror of Homs, the Syrian city shaken by two weeks of relentless bombardment.”

Those were the first lines of journalist Marie Colvin’s final report from the war torn Syrian city of Homs before her untimely death on Feb. 22.

Covin, an American expatriate, was in Homs covering the Syrian uprising for The Sunday Times, a British newspaper she had worked at for 20 years.

She died alongside 28-year-old French photographer Remi Ochlik in a rocket attack on a make shift press center that injured French journalist Edith Bouvier and British photographer Paul Conroy.

According to the U.N., an estimated 5,400 people have died in the Syrian uprising over the last 11 months.

As passive consumers of news, we often forget that some of the information we consume was gathered at great danger by journalists like Colvin.

While the U.N. can offer estimates on the number of Syrians massacred by their government, we need people like Colvin to humanize those numbers, to tell the stories of the dead and injured. Colvin and Ochlik did not die in vain. They died serving the people of Homs; they died heroes’ deaths.

CBS News correspondent Laura Logan, who suffered a brutal sexual assault while covering the uprising in Egypt last year, remembered Colvin while a guest on “CBS This Morning,” on Jan. 23.

Logan told hosts Charlie Rose and Gayle King that she felt guilty about and responsible for Colvin’s death.

When King asked her why she felt that way she responded, “For doing what she was doing. For being there on the ground, like Marie was, telling the story of people whose voices cannot otherwise be heard.

“If you’re not there to record the truth about what’s happening to them, then it cannot be stopped. No government can ever be pushed into stopping it.”

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