Good Reads: Syria's conflict, hero journalists, and the power of parents
A tribute to war correspondent Marie Colvin, a few tips about Syria from Lawrence of Arabia, and one Indian woman's fight against sexual harassment top this week's list of stories worth reading.
Being Marie Colvin
The news reports that come out of Syria on a daily basis often leave more questions than answers. How do ordinary people survive in such a war? How can a country’s leader order his military to fire artillery shells into packed urban areas, knowing that such actions will cause civilian casualties by the thousands?Skip to next paragraph
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The late foreign correspondent Marie Colvin was obsessed by these questions. Like many war correspondents, she ran toward the sound of gunfire, while everyone else was running away. In February of this year, she had herself smuggled by Syrian opposition members into the besieged city of Homs to document what she considered a terrible war crime, made more terrible by the fact that no one was there to see it, or to stop it. It was an assignment that would cost her her life.
For Colvin, the facts were clear: a murderous dictator was bombarding a city that had no food, power, or medical supplies. [NATO] and the United Nations stood by doing nothing. In a nearby village, hours before they left, 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. “The next war I cover,” she had written in 2001, “I’ll be more awed than ever by the quiet bravery of civilians who endure far more than I ever will.”
Lawrence of Syria
The black-and-white morality of the Syrian conflict – symbolized by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s overwhelming use of force, and by the cruelty of his intelligence service in torturing opponents and dissidents – doesn’t make it any easier to find a solution to the crisis.
But should the world intervene militarily in Syria? It’s a question that T.E. Lawrence, better known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” had an answer for: No.