Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bearing Witness: Women's History Month

(© Copyright David Hawgood and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

Women's History Month usually reaches back across the decades or even centuries for examples of women who broke ground in various life arenas. Today, I'm going to reach back just a little while and mention Marie Colvin, American journalist for the London Sunday Times.

If the name sounds familiar, it's because she recently made news as one of several journalists killed during a shelling in Homs, Syria. Or maybe you heard her name in the news a few years ago when she lost her eye during Tamil Tiger attacks in Sri Lanka. Or you may have wondered about a picture of a woman reporter wearing an eye patch.

(photo by syriana2011 creative commons)

Generally, reporters are supposed to get their bylines into the news, not themselves. Why would a middle-aged woman continue to put herself in dangerous places? Marie Colvin went where others were afraid to go so that she could bear witness to what was happening in the world, according to NPR's Phillip Reeves. Read the transcript here. Reeves closes his remarks with this: "She stressed the importance of continuing to cover conflicts. She acknowledged it is very dangerous. But she said people have a right to know what their governments are doing in their name, a right that Colvin and several others have just died for."

This report, and this one from the New Yorker, and this fabulous portrait and article with links from BoingBoing (caution: language alert) made me appreciate Ms. Colvin and everyone else who seeks to bear witness and bring on-the-spot information to the rest of us.

And I ask myself and you, gentle reader, to what do you bear witness? Is it big enough to stake our lives on?


  1. Hi Jane,
    Honestly, I have no courage like her, so even more I respect her way of life. I've just known her by the recent news of death.

  2. Hi beagleAnnie, I agree, but maybe we have courage in different ways.

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