I’m always told it’s important for teenagers to have role-models. Be it Becks, Beyoncé or Rowling; we are all consistently advised to swallow some inspiration. It’s a valid point. But what happens when you lose yours to the barbaric shelling of al-Assad’s vicious, uncontrolled Syrian forces? I’m sitting here struggling to do Colvin justice with words, because in all honesty, the courage of my role-model was beyond words.
Living a career immersed in the stirring atrocities of the warzone, submerged in the suffering of the oppressed and sunken deep into the world’s most perilous pits- Colvin embodied the extremities of human courage. Colvin lived life, not on the edge, but at the intensely dangerous, flaming core. And this is where she thrived. She once spent a period on the Sunday Times foreign desk managing other reporters and editing; the boredom nearly killed her. Colvin was born for the front line. Being strafed by Russian war planes, hunted by Tamil tigers In Sri-Lanka, escaping blood-lusting crowds in Cairo; this was Colvin. The reporter of turbulent truths, the asker of searing questions, the passionate risk taker who opened our eyes and shook the international community into taking notice; this was Colvin.
I really struggled with her death. Yes I was an avid follower, have keen interest in her field of work and had the privilege of sitting at her foreign desk seat during work experience last year; but there was something more potent that troubled me. Every day we’ll turn on our tellies, watch the news, frown at the suffering and feel that uniform pang of sympathy. But then what? It’s just one quick flick of the button to extinguish that flicker of emotional distress with some light-hearted reality TV. We’re laughing within minutes. But Marie’s work is the reality- the cold, sickening and inconvenient truth of our war-torn world- and she was in the thick of it. As we pop the kettle on and sit there comfortably, she was being the “someone [who] has to go out and see what is happening”.
But you know all this. Yes she was a role model for journalists, an inspiration for women-taking the almost exclusively male world of war reporting in her stylish , feminine stride; but you’ve read all this before. So here’s the truth; Marie Colvin isn’t really dead. The ripples of her unfaltering courage will resonate on and the echo of her impassioned plight will forever linger across the warzones and settle in the throbbing hearts of others out there now, doing what she did. She’s so far yet so near.
Marie Colvin has taught me a profound lesson; the importance of impact. Through a life and death spent in the pursuit of truth, she has shown me how far and deep you can go into something you care about and the importance of leaving your mark in this world. Marie died doing something that she loved, something that made her feel most alive and something that transformed the notion of journalism from being just a job to a mission. This is why Colvin’s death- on her tragic mission- was almost a noble, horrid inevitability. Though you don’t have to go to a warzone to find something worth fighting for, Marie still teaches us about what’s really important; finding that something, getting hands on and shaking the world.