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Hommage à Marie Colvin

Je ne traduis pas ce magnifique discours, ce vibrant appel à la PAIX (si quelqu'un veut le faire à ma place ?) :

Marie Colvin gives the address during a service for war wounded at St Bride's Church

Marie Colvin, who died in Homs, Syria, gives an address during a service for war wounded at St Bride's church, London. Photograph: Arthur Edwards/WPA Pool/Getty Image

Your Royal Highness, ladies and gentlemen, I am honoured and humbled to be speaking to you at this service tonight to remember the journalists and their support staff who gave their lives to report from the war zones of the 21st century. I have been a war correspondent for most of my professional life. It has always been a hard calling. But the need for frontline, objective reporting has never been more compelling.

Covering a war means going to places torn by chaos, destruction and death, and trying to bear witness. It means trying to find the truth in a sandstorm of propaganda when armies, tribes or terrorists clash. And yes, it means taking risks, not just for yourself but often for the people who work closely with you.

Despite all the videos you see from the Ministry of Defence or the Pentagon, and all the sanitised language describing smart bombs and pinpoint strikes, the scene on the ground has remained remarkably the same for hundreds of years. Craters. Burned houses. Mutilated bodies. Women weeping for children and husbands. Men for their wives, mothers children.

Our mission is to report these horrors of war with accuracy and without prejudice. We always have to ask ourselves whether the level of risk is worth the story. What is bravery, and what is bravado?

Journalists covering combat shoulder great responsibilities and face difficult choices. Sometimes they pay the ultimate price. Tonight we honour the 49 journalists and support staff who were killed bringing the news to our shores. We also remember journalists around the world who have been wounded, maimed or kidnapped and held hostage for months. It has never been more dangerous to be a war correspondent, because the journalist in the combat zone has become a prime target.

I lost my eye in an ambush in the Sri Lankan civil war. I had gone to the northern Tamil area from which journalists were banned and found an unreported humanitarian disaster. As I was smuggled back across the internal border, a soldier launched a grenade at me and the shrapnel sliced into my face and chest. He knew what he was doing.

Just last week, I had a coffee in Afghanistan with a photographer friend, Joao Silva. We talked about the terror one feels and must contain when patrolling on an embed with the armed forces through fields and villages in Afghanistan … putting one foot in front of the other, steeling yourself each step for the blast. The expectation of that blast is the stuff of nightmares. Two days after our meeting, Joao stepped on a mine and lost both legs at the knee.

Many of you here must have asked yourselves, or be asking yourselves now, is it worth the cost in lives, heartbreak, loss? Can we really make a difference?

I faced that question when I was injured. In fact one paper ran a headline saying, has Marie Colvin gone too far this time? My answer then, and now, was that it is worth it.

Today in this church are friends, colleagues and families who know exactly what I am talking about, and bear the cost of those experiences, as do their families and loved ones.

Today we must also remember how important it is that news organisations continue to invest in sending us out at great cost, both financial and emotional, to cover stories.

We go to remote war zones to report what is happening. The public have a right to know what our government, and our armed forces, are doing in our name. Our mission is to speak the truth to power. We send home that first rough draft of history. We can and do make a difference in exposing the horrors of war and especially the atrocities that befall civilians.

The history of our profession is one to be proud of. The first war correspondent in the modern era was William Howard Russell of the Times, who was sent to cover the Crimean conflict when a British-led coalition fought an invading Russian army.

Billy Russell, as the troops called him, created a firestorm of public indignation back home by revealing inadequate equipment, scandalous treatment of the wounded, especially when they were repatriated – does this sound familiar? – and an incompetent high command that led to the folly of the Charge of the Light Brigade. It was a breakthrough in war reporting. Until then, wars were reported by junior officers who sent back dispatches to newspapers. Billy Russell went to war with an open mind, a telescope, a notebook and a bottle of brandy. I first went to war with a typewriter, and learned to tap out a telex tape. It could take days to get from the front to a telephone or telex machine.

War reporting has changed greatly in just the last few years. Now we go to war with a satellite phone, laptop, video camera and a flak jacket. I point my satellite phone to south southwest in Afghanistan, press a button and I have filed.

In an age of 24/7 rolling news, blogs and Twitters, we are on constant call wherever we are. But war reporting is still essentially the same – someone has to go there and see what is happening. You can't get that information without going to places where people are being shot at, and others are shooting at you. The real difficulty is having enough faith in humanity to believe that enough people be they government, military or the man on the street, will care when your file reaches the printed page, the website or the TV screen.

We do have that faith because we believe we do make a difference.

And we could not make that difference – or begin to do our job – without the fixers, drivers and translators, who face the same risks and die in appalling numbers. Today we honour them as much as the front line journalists who have died in pursuit of the truth. They have kept the faith as we who remain must continue to do.

This is the text of a speech Marie Colvin gave at St Bride's church, Fleet Street, London on November 10, 2010


Tous les commentaires

22/02/2012, 21:51 | Par Claude RIBEYROL

Je traduis ici le premier passage que j'avais mis en caractères gras :

"Couvrir une guerre, signifie aller dans des endroits livrés au chaos, à la destruction et à la mort, en s'efforçant de témoigner. Cela signifie essayer de trouver la vérité dans la tempête de sable de la propagande, là où s'affrontent des armées, des tribus ou des terroristes. Et oui, cela signifie prendre des risques, pas seulement pour vous-même, mais souvent pour les gens qui travaillent en étroite collaboration avec vous.
Malgré toutes les vidéos que vous voyez du ministère de la Défense ou du Pentagone, et tout le langage aseptisé décrivant des bombes intelligentes et des frappes chirurgicales, la scène sur le terrain est restée remarquablement la même depuis des centaines d'années. Cratères. Maisons détruites par le feu. Corps mutilés. Les femmes qui pleurent leurs enfants et leurs maris. Les hommes leurs épouses, les mères leurs enfants.
Notre mission est de rendre compte de ces horreurs de la guerre avec précision et sans préjugés. Nous devons toujours nous demander si courir le risque en vaut la peine. Qu'est-ce qui relève de la bravoure, et qu'est-ce qui tient de la bravade?"

23/02/2012, 01:53 | Par Tinus en réponse au commentaire de Claude RIBEYROL le 22/02/2012 à 21:51

Je prends le relais sur une partie :

Les journalistes qui couvrent les combat prennent d'énormes responsabilités et font face à des choix difficiles. Parfois ils en payent le prix fort. Ce soir nous rendons hommage aux 49 journalistes ainsi que ceux qui travaillaient avec eux sur place, tous tués pendant qu'ils acheminaient l'information jusqu'à nous. Nous pensons aussi aux journalistes du monde entier qui ont été blessés, mutilés, ou enlevés et pris en otage pendant des mois. Il n'a jamais été aussi dangereux d'être correspondant de guerre, parce que les journalistes en zone de combat sont devenus des cible privilégiées.
J'ai perdu mon oeil au cours d'une embuscade pendant la guerre civile Sri lankaise. J'étais partie dans la zone nord tamoule ; les journalistes y étaient interdits. J'y ai découvert une catastrophe humanitaire dont personne ne savait rien. Comme j'avais été infiltrée clandestinement à travers la frontière, un soldat m'a lancé une grenade et j'ai eu le visage et la poitrine entaillés par les éclats. Il savait ce qu'il faisait.
La semaine dernière seulement, en Afghanistan, j'ai pris un café avec Joao Silva, un ami photographe. Nous avons parlé de la terreur qu'on ressent et qu'il faut contenir lors des patrouilles de reconnaissance militaires, à travers les champs et les villages aghans … mettre un pied devant l'autre, vous attendre à chaque instant à l'explosion. L'attente de cette explosion nourrit ensuite les cauchemars. Deux jours après notre rencontre, Joao a sauté sur une mine. Il a perdu les deux jambes, jusqu'à la hauteur du genou.
Beaucoup d'entre vous ici vous être demandé, ou vous demandez en ce moment même, si tout cela vaut le prix des vies, la peine immense, les coûts. Sommes-nous vraiment en mesure de saisir l'enjeu ?
J'ai affronté cette question pendant ma convalescence. Un article de presse avait titré : "Marie Colvin est-elle allé trop loin trop cette fois-ci ?" Ma réponse était et reste que cela en vaut la peine.


23/02/2012, 09:00 | Par Claude RIBEYROL en réponse au commentaire de Tinus le 23/02/2012 à 01:53



23/02/2012, 11:05 | Par Grain de Sel

@ Tinus & Claude Ribeyrol,

merci !

23/02/2012, 11:34 | Par Passan

Merci !