Thoughts…Words…

Speaking the Truth to Power

Posted in Humanity, Peace, War by udoit on February 26, 2012

Marie Colvin stated “Speaking the Truth to Power” as the mission of a war correspondent in her address to commemorate journalists, support staff and cameramen who had lost their lives during conflicts at a service held in the St Bride’s church on November 12th, 2010. About a year later – on February 22nd, 2012 – she was killed while serving the mission in Homs, Syria. This post is not an obituary but a tribute to her and the mission.

Marie Colvin

Marie Colvin

The appropriate meaning for “Power” in the mission statement is the citizens because as a journalist she wanted to report the truth to citizens who are the most powerful authority of any democratic country. When the majority of the citizens unite, the power that’s been generated is unimaginable but as we all know people are divided based on various elements such as race, class, religion, ideology etc. In addition to that, different forces in the society such as selfish corporate executives (including media owners), politicians, and government officials keep people divided so that they cannot realize that power. I am not saying 100% of above-mentioned persons are like that, I guess you know what I mean. Marie should have been aware of these facts,  but she continued her mission after losing one eye in Northern Sri Lanka while covering the humanitarian disasters in the Year 2001. The level of commitment and bravery she demonstrated by continuing her mission is phenomenal and describing that through words is impossible. However, I want to share these events in order to describe her courage and the background in which she served the mission.

Marie Colvin on Monday, May 18, 2009, at 5:30 a.m., called UN Secretary General’s chief of staff – Vijay Nambiar – in Colombo, Sri Lanka to relay a message that she had received from members of the militias who were surrounded in a bunker with 300 loyalists including women and children. According to Colvin, they were ready to surrender to Sri Lankan government troops and they wanted Nambiar be present there to guarantee their safety.

Vijay Nambiar told Colvin that he had been assured by Sri Lankan president that those who gave up would be safe if they were to “hoist a white flag high”. When Colvin suggested that Nambiar should go personally to witness the surrender, he told her it would not “be necessary” and that “the president’s assurances were enough”. In addition, his brother Satish Nambiar, at the time was working as an advisor to the Sri Lankan military. Hours later the lifeless bodies of dozens of militias including the two men who told Colvin that they were ready to surrender, were put on display. A few months later, General Shavendra Silva whose Division 58 was in charge on the day of above incident was appointed as UN’s Senior Adviser on Peacekeeping Operations.

According to her, understanding and accepting these realities are not difficult but the real difficulty is having faith in humanity to believe that enough people be they government, military or the man on the street, will care when her report reaches the printed page, the website or the TV screen. I wish one day enough people care about her stories and the mission in order to stop war and realize the imperatives of peace.

References:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9098053/Syria-Marie-Colvin-in-her-own-words-our-mission-is-to-report-the-horrors-of-war.html

http://www.salem-news.com/articles/february222012/lanka-surge.php

Related links:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/tamil/multimedia/2012/02/120226_mariebanda.shtml

http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/22/world/meast/syria-journalist-amanpour/index.html

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