In the Line of Duty

The day before she died, journalist Marie Colvin told CNN how dangerous it was to try to do her job, to simply survive, amid the shelling and violence in Homs, Syria, the besieged center of resistance to President Bashar al-Assad’s bloody regime. The next day, Colvin, the veteran foreign correspondent for London’s The Sunday Times newspaper, was killed along with Remi Ochlik, a French prize-winning war photographer. Murdered in the line of duty, by a brutal dictator who is clearly lying when he claims that his army is not targeting civilians. So far this year, three other journalists have died while covering the fighting in Syria — another Frenchman and two Syrians.

And that sad total doesn’t include the tragic loss of Anthony Shadid of The New York Times, who died February 16 of an asthma attack while traversing equally dangerous terrain.

What commentator Mike Barnicle said of Shadid after his death applies to all his fallen colleagues: “He was a reporter. He didn’t blog. He didn’t tweet. He didn’t sit at home and opinionate about things that he saw. He was in the field. He talked to real people. He reported on real situations in places consumed by violence.”

And he — they — did it for us. So that despite Assad’s desire to shield the world from his inhumanity, we can learn the truth about Syria and the other dangerous places that real journalists bravely tred.

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In the Line of Duty

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