One wonders when the world will have had enough...
...Had enough of the depraved and despicable regime in Syria slaughtering its own helpless people.
The rest of the Arab world and the wider world at large seem just as helpless. The U.N. can't even pass a resolution condemning the mounting atrocities. And that's just words.
I wonder if you can imagine just for a moment that the U.S. Army had set up its field guns around Jacksonville, Florida or Columbus, Ohio, or El Paso, Texas (all about the size of Homs) and began shelling mercilessly. And every citizen who tried to flee was at the mercy of hundreds of snipers. Imagine if the British Army were to do the same to Liverpool or Nottingham or Leeds. Imagine, just for a moment, what it might be like if it were to happen to you, in your home town.
Unthinkable? Maybe. But it's happening to Syrians.
Why? Because a corrupt and immoral regime is frightened for itself. Frightened by what might happen if it loosens its grip on power.
That regime is ruthless. Everyone else is helpless.
Courageous Syrian dissidents who were doing all they could do—getting the word out, hoping the rest of the world will choose not to be helpless—are dying too. Citizen journalist Rami al-Sayed was killed on Tuesday.
'She was wonderful'
Everyone says nice things about the dead once they're gone, and evidently that's a social convention you're supposed to observe at all costs. That must be for the feelings of the survivors, since the dead themselves are presumably past caring. However, by all accounts that I can find, correspondent Marie Colvin really was a remarkable person, loved by all who knew her and admired by those who didn't. Plenty of people described her when she was alive in the rosy terms people conventionally reserve for the deceased.
Reportedly, one of the last things she saw in the days before her death was a Syrian baby dying before her eyes.
Don't imagine that one happening to you. That's too much.
I hope they make a movie about her life. I can see Meryl Streep in the title roll, looking almost as good in an eyepatch.
She and French photographer Remi (or Rémi) Ochlik (pronounced osh-LEEK) were killed by the Syrian government when a shell slammed into the building they were in. Direct hit; instantaneous death. Remi Ochlik had won a World Press Award First Prize only weeks ago. Here are some of his pictures. Some people say pictures have to stand alone; but are pictures worthy of more attention when a life is risked to get them? When the risk sometimes ends up the wrong way? The pictures at that site came at a cost.
Neus Agency photojournalist Olivier Laban-Mattei told AP Television News that Ochlik was unlucky, not imprudent. "I am persuaded that he did not take unnecessary risks," said Olivier. "He was caught in between bad luck and ballistic reality." Just doing his job.
I'm always sorry to have to write about the deaths of yet more journalists. It happens all the time. All too frequently. Sanctimonious noises will be made about how nobody's death is more important than anybody else's. But still, the ones that touch us are specific deaths, usually people to whom we can feel a connection, who we can differentiate as individuals. That's just the way it is, just the way we humans are.
Through it all, one wonders when the world will have had enough.
(Thanks to Judith Wallerius)
Note: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. More...
Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Jim Hamstra: It is so sad to hear of the deaths of these brave journalists who by sneaking into the country are getting the truth out. Hopefully the tyrants who are killing their own people will someday be brought to justice but I'm afraid many more will die first.
"We spent last April touring Syria. It was my third photograph trip in Syria and I have always found the people to be very friendly and helpful. Things were really tense when we left as the killings had started. Twenty nine people were killed in Homs the day before we got there and we saw funeral processions at the mosque behind our hotel. When we got back to Damascus we were the last two people left in the hotel and the owner drove us to the airport saying he knew all the back roads and would get us there safely. The hotel was right off Martyrs Square which was then a staging area for thugs. I had hoped the trouble would be over soon and had a return trip planned but as I follow the news I don't see much hope. It seems so sad that there is no one that can help the people and no end to the violence. Thankfully there are people in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon that are helping those than can escape. Why is the U.N. so helpless?"