Under the wire : Marie Colvin's final assignment
"Where are all the men?" the editor asked Marie Colvin, who would not abandon hundreds of refugees in war-ravaged East Timor, and answered, "I suppose they just don't make men like they used to." They may not make war journalists, male or female, to match the likes of Marie Colvin who was one of the greats and valued as such by her colleagues.
International photographer Paul Conroy recounts the reporting he and Marie Colvin did in 2012 in the Baba Amr section of Homs, Syria which was known for its support of opposition forces. In unadorned language and incidents we are taken into the world of war journalists and how they get their stories. Journalists were not welcome in Syria, so Conroy and Colvin hatched different schemes, but eventually negotiated with smugglers to get from Lebanon to Syria. They were driven by several trucks and cars, often with headlights off, deposited in cement block houses where they waited for more rides, trekked through unlit fields and eventually to a tunnel, about 2 miles long and 4 feet in height, through which they walked hunched over, to an exit to wait for more rides.
Colvin was not a thrill seeker, but was driven by the need to see first-hand what took place in war zones: East Timor, Chechnya, Sri Lanka, Libya and Syria. Often fueled by adrenaline, cigarettes (Finally ordered to give them up by her dentist, she inhaled the smoke when Conroy would light up.), coffee and whatever food was available plus a competitive edge, Colvin went and stayed in places where no one else would go. Having left Homs once because there were confirmed rumors that there would be a final assault on the city, which then did not take place, Colvin returned with Conroy for a second time which proved deadly for her and French photographer Rémi Ochlik. Paul Conroy and Edith Bouvier were seriously wounded and eventually smuggled out. There is evidence that these journalists were specifically targeted because they had witnessed and filed reports on the bombing of civilians and hospitals by the Syrian army. Marie Colvin firmly believed it was a journalist's job to see, investigate, ask questions and report, and there was no substitute for being where the action was. On the front line : the collected journalism of Marie Colvin is available in LAPL.