Jane Bonham Carter reviews biography of Marie Colvin

I always liked reading Marie Colvin’s reports from war zones. She brought the stories of people whose lives were constrained or ruined by war to our breakfast tables. She made you understand the dilemmas and dangers people faced just to get through the day.

Colvin died in Syria in 2012. Her friend, Lib Dem Peer Jane Bonham-Carter, reviewed a new biography of her written by Channel 4’s Lindsey Hillsum in this week’s Sunday Times.

She was extraordinarily brave. The stories of Marie’s courage are legion, but the one that stands out for me was East Timor. There, holed up in 1999 in a UN compound with 1,500 women and children, she and two other heroic female reporters, Minka Nijhuis and Irena Cristalis, refused to go when an evacuation of international and national staff and the press was announced. She stayed, reported on the plight of those left trapped via her satellite phone, and after four tense days was able to leave for safety. Not an outcome she expected — her sister Cat remembers her calling “to say goodbye as she was likely to be killed”. Marie later wrote that “staying in the East Timor compound was one of the moments in my life of which I am most proud”.

As Hilsum notes, Marie was hopeless with technology, frequently erasing stories by accident and needing help to send copy from her computer. But, as I saw countless times, she had an extraordinary ability to get people to open up to her. What she wanted to do was tell people’s stories, and relay their words to the outside world.

Despite her apparent addiction to danger, she did not court death. She loved life, absolutely loved it — loved young people, too, and was loved in return by them. But she had her own horrors to deal with, in particular in Sri Lanka in 2001, where, despite clearly identifying herself as a journalist, yelling it, in fact, she was fired on by a government soldier.

You can read the whole thing here.(£)

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User Avatarjoeb 21st Nov - 1:34am
    Katharine, housing costs are a critical element. With housing benefit frozen at 2011 levels and rents having risen 30% it is virtually impossible to cover...
  • User AvatarMatt (bristol) 20th Nov - 11:48pm
    Speaking of details, and unnecessarily complicating my point with multiple subclauses, I object entirely to this post based on the contention that it has omitted...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 20th Nov - 11:34pm
    Why these horrible things happen who can even imagine, people victims of hatefulness, innocent of ever hurting, typical of those who so often are targeted,...
  • User AvatarMartin 20th Nov - 11:24pm
    I hope that Vince and others in the leadership are looking at what can positive action can be achieved to promote the representation and input...
  • User AvatarSue Sutherland 20th Nov - 10:50pm
    The lack of an emoji button is very frustrating.
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 20th Nov - 10:42pm
    This has been a very worthwhile exercise, Katharine. Obviously there are lots of ideas (and just as important) a recognition that something should be done....