12 January 1956 - 22 February 2012
Today we honour the courageous Marie Colvin, a front line journalist who was impassioned to bring truth to readers around the world. She was recently killed while reporting on the crisis in Syria when her building was bombed. She died alongside French photographer Rémi Ochlik, who was on hand to document images of the conflict.
No stranger to the intense demands of the front line, Marie placed herself in incredible to danger in order to fulfil a personal goal of hers. In 2001, while reporting on the conflict between government forces and rebel Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, Marie lost the sight in her left eye following an attack.
This was a time for her to reflect on the choices she was making. Undeterred, she continued to commit herself to her life's work.
'My job is to bear witness. I have never been interested in knowing what make of plane had just bombed a village or whether the artillery that fired at it was 120mm or 155mm'
For Marie, conflict was a human story, rather than a political or religious one. And it had human consequences.
'These are people who have no voice. I feel I have a moral responsibility towards them, that it would be cowardly to ignore them. If journalists have a chance to save their lives, they should do so'
Although her words resonated across the world, and her style became synonymous with the truth, Marie was someone who took action. Fearless and heroic, she judged the impact of conflict on innocents to be unfair. In 1999, while reporting in East Timor, she refused to leave a besieged compound which was being attacked by Indonesian-backed forces. The compound had 1,500 women and children inside - innocents who could not be ignored. Marie stayed with an unarmed UN force, and reported her experiences to the world. With the global community watching the events unfold, she was able to help secure evacuation of all 1,500 people after a tumultuous four days.
We jon the international community in remembering and celebrating her life.
Lord Justice Leveson said:
'To say that she was a fine reporter does not do justice to the tribute that she is owed and which I am very pleased to acknowledge'
Her friend and fellow journalist Jim Muir wrote:
'She had an absolute compulsion to go to where bad things were happening, and tell the world about it'
'If there is a scale of courage, Marie was at the top of it. Because she knew the reality of war, and there are no guardian angels... her coverage was the bravado of the foolhardy who imagine themselves invulnerable'
'It was the quiet determination of someone who had to do what she believed she was for; knowing the risks and possible consequences. To tell the story and give a voice to the voiceless'
We thank her for humanising the news. We remember for her courage. We celebrate her for her action.