March 7, 2021

Marie Colvin, the correspondent of the invisible

The figure of Marie Colvin is worthy of film. He fought to the death for his beliefs, to defend the weak through journalism. He fell in love several times and led a life also full of adventures, excesses and traumas. This is the story of a war correspondent, of a real heroine. And indeed his avatars reached theaters. This May premiered in Spain, "A Private War" (The Correspondent).

Marie Colvin was never a copywriter. In fact, he abandoned her in 1986, 30 years before his murder. That is, he spent more than half of his life in the line of fire. Born on January 12, 1956 in Oyster Bay, New York, she studied Journalism at Yale University and began her career at the United Press International press agency, where she became head of her delegation in Paris in 1984. Shortly after, in 1986, he was linked to "The Sunday Times" as a correspondent in the Middle East.

For almost three decades it covered the conflicts of Sierra Leone, East Timor, Kosovo, Zimbabwe, Chechnya and the recent Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, where he came to interview Gaddafi, who, it is said, fell in love with her. From the turbulent waters in which he sailed under the motto of "reporting on the horrors of war with accuracy and without prejudice," the first major injury to his physical integrity arose: the loss of the left eye in Sri Lanka, due to a Granada, in 2001. The black pirate patch she had been wearing since then, made her an even more suggestive woman, not only for her colleagues, but for the intelligentsia and the characters she was always surrounded by.

Christina Lamb, another correspondent for "The Sunday Times," wrote about Colvin's death: "Of course, covering wars is a risky business. When I started as a correspondent in 1987, traveling with the Mujahideen, our concern was not to accidentally step on an antipersonnel mine or get caught in a bombing. But we never imagined that we could be deliberately killed by those whose atrocities we were documenting. Under the Geneva conventions, journalists who cover conflicts have the same rights as civilians, and killing them is a war crime. ” Marie assumed your task with deep convictions but also as an addiction: go back and forth once and again to the sites of conflict. Where the greatest atrocities are gestated, a work misunderstood by many and also has its consequences. Colvin suffered constant attacks of panic, insomnia, nightmares, anxiety … "Fear comes later, when everything is over," he said.

His personal life was no less random. Three failed marriages (two of them with the same man), and several more relationships that did not forge and irretrievably crashed against the weight of everyday life. "It may not serve to lead a normal life," said Colvin, who also had no children, although he tried. Upon returning to London, Marie fixed her hair, nails and gave memorable parties in her apartment in Hammersmith, on the north bank of the Thames, well watered in alcohol. She was a classy lady who wore armor shaped like a bulletproof vest.

Colvin twice won the British Press Award for Best Correspondent, the Bravery in Journalism award, from the International Foundation for Women in the Media, and the Best Journalist of the Year from the Foreign Press Association. In his latest report he denounced, visibly upset and upset, that he had witnessed the death of a baby because of the bombing of Bashar Al Asad's troops in Homs, and strongly called for the intervention of other nations of the world: “In Syria nobody understands how the international community allows this to happen. ”

Shortly after he died on February 22, 2012 after the launch of a rocket against the building that housed the work center of several Western journalists in the opposition neighborhood of Baba Amro. The correspondent Javier Espinosa, who was there and was saved shortly, tells us: "It was an example of dedication to journalism, even to sacrifice his personal life."

“He was an extraordinary figure in the life of the‘ Sunday Times ’, driven by a passion to cover wars with the belief that what she did mattered to people. But, above all, as we have seen in his chronicles of last week, his thoughts were with the victims of violence, ”proclaimed at the time its director in“ The Sunday Times, ”John Witherow. The companions cheered her: "She was the first to arrive and the last to leave." And not all stories have a happy ending, but in any case his was glorious.

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