Wednesday, February 22, 2012

At present it is impossible to tell ...

... how good a journalist Marie Colvin really was (and we really don't care about the French photographer, Remi Ochlik or the other 58 people who were killed at Homs). At the moment she is proclaimed by one and all to have been the greatest reporter since newspapers have existed, the woman who told the truth and went wherever the story was, regardless of danger. All of that is true, though there are other reporters of that kind and fortunately they do not get killed. Also, before her beatification by President Assad's forces I heard various accounts of her. As I don't read the Sunday Times, I have to rely on other people's accounts.

One thing, however, is clear to me: Britain is no longer in the position of being able to "avenge" the death of a journalist (not that she ever was and in the old days did not even try - journalists took their chances) and the Americans are unlikely to provide the necessary fire power. We have no real idea who is fighting Assad and whether we want to support them, wonderful though it would be to get rid of that particular mass murderer. Until we know what we want to see in Syria and, on the whole, the experience of Libya and the Arab Spring does not fill one with feelings of hopefulness, until we know that the people we support are the ones we want to support, until we can explain that this is in Britain's interests, we must not get involved in Syria militarily even after the (possibly targeted) killing of a Sunday Times reporter.

Dixi. I have spoken. Will anyone listen?


  1. Hi Helen, I personally salute Marie Colvin, a person who would seem to have cared passionately about people and was prepared to risk her life in order that the plight of the unfortunates in Homs did not go unremarked, and now of course it is at the top of the headlines not in the way she intended.

    It is a deeply distasteful feature of the MMS and possibly an unflattering feature of our human condition that when a tragedy is announced anywhere in the world the first thing we find out is how many british holiday makers have had to return home and whether they will be eligible for compensation!...

    I weep for Syria and have nothing but contempt for the men who would commit these despicable acts whether against journalists, children, women or even shock horror men and look forward personally to hearing about the mobile phone footage of Assad being strung up from a lamppost, however I agree with you that any military action on our part there would be not only wrong, but a mistake.

    I support the efforts of the frogs to try to open a 2 hour daily truce to get injured people out, it is just sad that nothing was done until a famous person died, one of the most shocking things I remember hearing at the outset of this campaign was that doctors were being rounded up and removed. I would rather have liked our increasingly useless government to have tried to achieve some humanitarian end rather than (presumably) waiting until they can send in the Army for some good action man headlines and a bit of reliable old "there is no harder decision etc etc" boiler plate...

    Evil evil bastards

  2. Whatever happened to the spirit of "The War of Jenkin's Ear"?

  3. Captain Jenkins was not a journalist and there was some point in fighting the Spanish Empire at the time.