In what appears to have been a targeted attack, Syrian forces killed two western journalists in an artillery assault on the city of Homs today. Marie Colvin, a veteran American war correspondent, and Rémi Ochlik, a French photographer, died after their makeshift media center was destroyed in mortar and rocket strikes. Full story from the New York Times. This news parallels the deaths of journalists Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington in Libya last year. Many more civilians and rebel fighters have died in both conflicts and attention paid to the loss of western journalists should not take away from the very real and tragic sacrifices that the Libyan and Syrian peoples have paid. Nonetheless, as these reporters efforts sought to empower and make whole those sacrifices, mourning their loss also honors the subjects of these two horrific conflicts.
In a painful coincidence, I had published an earlier version of this post today about an event on Stanford campus that I want to promote even more forcefully after this news.
This evening at the Stanford GSB's Cemex Auditorium, the Creative Writing department will sponsor an event for the ongoing Ethics and War series. A showing of the documentary Restrepo and a post-screening discussion with one of the two filmmakers, Sebastian Junger, will take place at 7pm tonight. I highly encourage anyone to go see to the event. Details here.
In addition to this incredible film (learn more here), the event is special for the absence of its second filmmaker: journalist and photographer Tim Hetherington, who was tragically killed while reporting in Misrata nearly a year ago. A rare combination of a strong back and an artistic eye, Hetherington braved dangerous assignments only to emerge with images and stories that transcended their subjects.
His final work, below, has that rare tragic beauty about it. Particularly within the context of his death on assignment and the awful news today which echoed that event, I found it an incredibly moving portrait of conflict. Check out the video and come to the event.
Photo Credit: Flickr/poppet with a camera