Sunday Morning Reads: "Marie Colvin's Private War," Vanity Fair August 2012

The term "travel" has, in the past decade, become associated almost exclusively with the pursuit of pleasure, with the search for the perfect photograph, the most delicious, authentic food, and for the sort of self-discovery described in books like Eat Pray Love. As a result, within the narrow and - let's face it - mostly hedonistic confines of the food and travel writing world, we often take for granted those who travel not for personal pleasure, but to shed light upon conflicts and crises across the globe, intrepid reporters who put their lives at risk in order to bring attention - and help - to the voiceless.

Vanity Fair's August 2012 issue features a heart-shattering article about Marie Colvin, a Sunday Times journalist killed in Homs, Syria, in 2012, while reporting on the humanitarian crisis of the Syrian civil war.  She traveled out of a burning desire to expose the truth, combined with a complicated personal history that left her incapable of living a "normal" life, sitting safely behind a desk. This, from the last days of her life: 

"In a nearby village [in Syria], Conroy had watched her trying to get a signal and file her story for the next day's paper on her vintage satellite phone. 'Why is the world not here?' she asked her assistant in London. That question, posed by Colvin so many times before - in East Timor, Libya, Kosovo, Chechnya, Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka - was the continuing theme of her life."

Her journeys were unlike anything that we, the average globe trotters, will ever experience. She lost an eye from shrapnel in Sri Lanka, had nightmares about the atrocities she witnessed, and yet ventured out into absurdly dangerous situations again and again.

So let us not forget that traveling encompasses much more than exploring the world for pleasure's sake, that the news we read each day comes from people, like Marie Colvin, who put themselves at risk in the name of the truth. We owe it to them to read just as much about the places we can't visit, for safety reasons, as those we dream of visiting.

Yours truly, one story at a time,



Lucidfood said...

Beautifully conveyed. I had heard about Marie Colvin's death but didn't know much about her. I'm so glad to have learned her story here and in the VF article. I would say she was true to herself, and died doing what she believed in. I admire her bravery. -Louisa

Radina Valova said...

Thank you! She really was an amazing woman. It's incredible to me that journalists put themselves at such personal risk for the sake of getting the truth out!