Tributes from Members of Parliament

Members of Parliament have paid many tributes to Marie Colvin since February 22. Here are some excerpts.

Comments made during the International Women’s Day Debate, Thursday, 1st March 2012:

Baroness Benjamin: I would like to take this opportunity to recognise and praise the work of Marie Colvin, killed a week ago in Homs. She won the Women of the Year Window to the World Award in 2001 for her bravery and work in journalism. She often said, “I go into places by choice but the people I am covering have no choice”. She will be truly missed.

Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde: I was delighted that the noble Baroness, Lady Benjamin, mentioned Marie Colvin because, over the years, it is women like her who, in their own chosen channel of life, have made enormous impressions that help our general debate. She was born in New York but chose to live in and work from the UK. Her male colleagues have suffered the same fate and many journalists have lost their lives in trying to get the full story out. It is a name for which we should perhaps pause today and pay respect.

Baroness Morris of Bolton: Along with the noble Baronesses, Lady Benjamin and Lady Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, I also pay tribute to Marie Colvin, whom I had the pleasure of meeting and who was a good friend of many in your Lordships’ House. Her bravery, and the bravery of all who put themselves in danger to bring atrocities to our attention, is humbling. Women across the world have lost a true champion with the sad death of Marie Colvin.

David Cameron & Edward Miliband’s comments during PMQs on Wednesday, 22nd February 2012:

The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): “Members of the House will also have seen the reports that the talented and respected foreign correspondent of The Sunday Times, Marie Colvin, has been killed in the bombing in Syria. It is a desperately sad reminder of the risks that journalists take to inform the world of what is happening, and of the dreadful events in Syria. Our thoughts should be with her family and friends.”

Edward Miliband (Doncaster North): “We are also thinking today about the tragic death of Marie Colvin. She was a brave and tireless reporter across many continents and in many difficult situations. She was also an inspiration to women in her profession. Her reports in the hours before her death showed her work at its finest, and our thoughts today are with her family and friends.”

A further tribute to Marie during a debate on the safety of journalists abroad on Wednesday, 21st March 2012:

Mr Don Foster (Bath): I am pleased to have secured the debate, which will focus on the sadly topical issue of the safety of journalists abroad. The debate is timely, as a meeting is to take place tomorrow in Paris at which the UNESCO international programme for the development of communication will consider the report, “The Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity”. The UK will be represented by Professor Ivor Gaber.

Recent news that has drawn much international attention to these issues. On 22 February, in the Syrian city of Homs, the American-born veteran war reporter Marie Colvin died, along with French photographer Remi Ochlik, when a shell hit the building in which she was sheltering. The 56-year-old had been a reporter for The Sunday Times since 1985 and had covered conflicts from Chechnya to the Arab spring. She won glowing posthumous accolades. The Foreign Secretary said:

“For years she shone a light on stories that others could not and placed herself in the most dangerous environments to do so…. She was utterly dedicated to her work, admired by all of us who encountered her, and respected and revered by her peers”.

The priest at her funeral said, simply, that she was

“a voice to the voiceless.”

Sometimes, reporters such as Marie Colvin play a greater role than that of providing a voice—Peter Oborne, in The Daily Telegraph, wrote:

“At times, Colvin herself intervened in history, as she did in 1999 in East Timor when she helped save the lives of 1,500 refugees encircled by Indonesian troops in a United Nations compound. The situation was so dangerous that the UN commander wanted to evacuate, leaving the refugees to their fate. But Colvin insisted on staying behind, thus shaming the UN commander into staying – and averting a potential massacre.”