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tv   Lindsey Hilsum In Extremis  CSPAN  December 22, 2018 9:00am-10:07am EST

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rivers. i heard other names for people who looked like me, names with ugly, bladed edges, names to make us smaller, quieter, less boisterous, hess of ourselves -- less of ourselves. >> sunday at 9 p.m. on "after words," the book, "the oh side of -- the other side of freedom." he's interviewed by derek johnson. .. we can make something and i'm always mindful. the thing about the tax bill. if they can rewrite that then talk to me we have to wait 2000 years to end the incarceration.
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there was a clear and present reminder that people made this up. but we can also go pretty quickly. >> watch booktv this weekend on c-span2. >> all right thank you. welcome, everybody. my name is robert mahoney executive director. i would like to welcome our guest, the media, friends of lindsay wholesome. and of course our guest, we are here to discuss her new book which is a biography of the famous u.s. journalist, marie colvin. lindsey hilsum, let me tell you a little about her before we start the discussion. she is known to many of you. lindsey is british and started
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life i am told as an aid worker inlet american africa. their progress were journalist. i remember coming across her because of her reporting from rwanda and the genocide in 1994. i think you are one of the first english language reporters there at the very beginning. so lindsey had a very strong career in broadcasting in africa before she eventually moved to china for news where she is now the international news editor. and she has covered most of the big stories of the last 15 or 20 years including much of the middle east, the balkan and even was the bureau chief in china for several years. so the reason that we wanted to do this is that this book gives you an incredibly detailed and
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very how can i say, sympathetic but at the same time, not a -- of a very famous journalist. it shows the wonderful achievements of marie as reporter and storyteller but also the cost she paid in her personal life for the work that she did. we are very lucky to have with us, two of marie's childhood and high school friends. renaldo and tom --. marie grew up as some as you may know on long island and oyster bay. she went to school there and started her career in journalism here. in this region working for a publication and then upi. for those of you that don't know what is it was a wire service that rivaled ap. i worked for a correspondent
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for a rival agency and upi people always very gutsy. there are very few resources but managed to be very inventive because of that. she got a great schooling and that before she eventually moved to the sunday times of london which at that time, had just been acquired ably by murdoch and was a big deal in the uk. there were several of the new papers that appeared on the sunday, the observer, the telegraph, that paper gave certain new stories. anne-marie was a star on the newspaper. that is a little introduction to the talk. we are at the committee to protect journalists and another lindsay has said some of her remarks in the context of the broader risks that journalists face. marie is exceptional. or was exceptional in that she went to places when other people pulled out.
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we will come us over this in the conversation i hope when we talk about how today, most journalists wouldn't even be allowed by the the news and the security advisors to do what she did, but she did anyway. so without further ado, i want to ask lindsey to talk a little about the biography. and the first thing i wanted to ask you, you set for me, you set her work and you start at the point in the book where she is injured, covering a story in sri lanka. but come back to the early life because we have guests here at the moment but i think i would like to start with an incident which defined marie for many people. although many of us including myself, knew her before this happened to her. the cover here of the book she also wearing an eye patch.
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i think i like maybe you can start by telling us how that happened. >> thank you very much, rob. marie was already famous when she lost the site in her left eye. and i'm going to read a passage in the book that shows how that happened. marie's eyepatch became part of her. really. it was part of her brand. she had one studded with rhinestones. which was also very much marie. and it became an emblem of her bravery. but also became an emblem of the price that she paid and sometimes the difficulty she had in reconciling the brave, bold, famous with the eyepatch was the more vulnerable marie that she felt inside. let me just read a short passage to tell you how this happened. how she lost her sight in her
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eye. she was in badges for many years but nothing prepared her for the current nightmare that chased after she was shot. as she went to sleep he can't just reran what happened. the fear and decision never resolving like the horror film on repeat. in the dream, she is lying on the ground, seeing the flares, hearing the machine gun fire and the soldiers voices exactly as she heard them that pitch black night in sri lanka before the moon rose over the field. these are her choices. she can stand up and shout, hoping that they will see that she is white and female, obviously a foreigner. she can try to crawl away, knowing that they would shoot anything they see moving. or she can lie still, awaiting her fate. the decision would determine whether she lives or dies but nothing will undo what is about to happen. she cannot rollback time nor can she push it forward.
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stand up, crawl awake lie still. sit up crawl away lie still. the choices on repeat. her heart pounding louder and louder. in real life it was hard to figure out exactly what was happening. although later she understood it was quite simple. the camels guiding her from sri lanka into government territory, ran into an army patrol as they crossed the front line. he dropped to the ground as the bullets went past. but her escorts went back into the jungle back the way they had come. she lay there for about half an hour. alone and petrified. before making her fateful decision. journalists, american journalist she shouted with her hands appear suddenly her eye and chest pain so acute she could barely breathe. she fell in realized blood was
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trickling from her eye and her mouth. she had profound sadness that she was going to die. in the desperate hope that they would stop shooting and help her she shouted, dr.! maybe they would see that she was a wounded, foreign civilian and not the guerrilla fighter. they yelled at her to stand up and remove her jacket. somehow she managed to stumble forward. hands in the air. every time she fell, the shouted at her to get back up again. in the nightmare, time freezes before the shot is fired in her life -- her left asses before her. it flickers across her mind. the old man in the basement in chechnya, the back of his head blown off by a russian rocket. the body of a peasant in a warm woolen soup that she came across under a bush in kosovo. the young palestinian woman she watched die from gunshot wounds in beirut. the human body, broken, her own
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body. the images rerun until she wakes and rested terrified in her own bed. but the next night when she would relive it all again. i think that gives you an idea of the extremes that marie went through to get the story. that's one of the reasons the book is called "in extremis". she wrote that through her work, is telling the story of people who live "in extremis". going to the unendurable. and it was asked important she said to show people what really happened in wars. she lived her home "in extremis" too. and that is how i came across her. but marie was always the person that went and stayed longer. she was always a person who that bit braver than the rest of us. and she was the person that always got the best story. and made the rest of us feel just a little bit ashamed. you know what i mean?
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>> one of the things that you said to me before we came in here, was that in reading the book, sometimes men in particular, were correspondence. went to breeze through the first half of the book and get to the bang bang bit in the middle. no surprise, i suppose. you do not do that. you give a full picture of her life. so i would like to reflect that by talking a little about the first half of the book with you about the young girl that grew up in a catholic family, one of five children on long island. and then maybe we can get some reminiscence. we'll hear from you who knew her then. what -- how did her upbringing affect her as an adult? what did she take from long island to these places like sri lanka? >> well, a couple of things. one was that she was incredibly
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bored in oyster bay and long island. and she resolved that she was not going to live there the rest of her life. she was going to get out and see the world. that was quite early on. but she was also, she had a very stable background. and she left her family, she had a great family. she was the oldest of five children. but she was rebellious. -- a game that they played as kids, there was a hill at the back of the house. the game was that each kid had a branch in their climb out along it. andy won if you are the person who climbed out the furthest. right to the end where it might break and you might fall and you might break. well, you can guess who was the one who always won the game, can't you? climbed out furthest. and, she was a rebel. sometimes she was a rebel with a cause. and the vietnam war, she was always out protesting. the environment, she was always trying to do something about the environment. and then one of the entries in
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her diary which i love is, you know i won't have to go to mass on sunday. her rebellion was in clothes. in her diary she wrote, church, the mother and the father no like. i thought in that rebellious girl, i can see something of the brave woman who i got to know many years later. >> absolutely. did either of you have any comment either of you to have any memories of her at that time that you like to share with us? >> well, you talked about her being rebellious at that point and knowing that she was bored with small-town suburban long island. and wanted to get out of there. i think that is a clear many i have. i think many of us -- were bored with long island. and we knew we were going to get out of there but she really knew it.
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i think she -- you can tell, when i think back of her in those years i think that she knew it at that point. even though she was not possibly verbalizing that to her friends. you know it took me a little bit of a while longer to recognize those qualities that this was not the place i wanted to spend my life.or the way. but marie was always -- she was always independent. even though we had a very close knit circle of friends and we were all very active. you mentioned vietnam war. i remember going to protest with her. marching down the town streets and everything and she was just always a little bit more clear-sighted somehow. escaping high school in the last year and going to brazil. it was maybe a first step in the direction of like getting out of school a little early. i don't know if she finished a year early? >> you did finish a year early, she went to brazil and she just never bothered to left the school. she already did all the rest of
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it and to become a national merit scholar. i think one of the things very important understanding marie, and again this is something, she is a rebel. she goes out with her boyfriend and she gets drunk and she smokes dope and they break into peoples gardens and skinny dip in their pools. not you, the other boyfriend. [laughter] the bad boyfriend. >> bad boyfriends have all the fun! >> bad boyfriends had all the phone with marie. then that boyfriend said to me, we would do that but then she was always reading her schoolbooks. she was always studying. and so she had this mixture of adventurous, nature and rebellion, but she always studied. and that again, it makes for a great journalist. somebody who doesn't take no for an answer and who wants that but knows her stuff and is always reading.
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>> apart from witnesses like you too, can you explain how you got access of the experiences of marie as a young woman, a young girl. >> yes, marie kept diaries all her life. from the age of 30 up to just before she was killed at the age of 56. and some of these, just journalist notebooks. as mine would be, just notes on interviews and people and descriptions and places. but some of them were very intimate about her personal life and thoughts and feelings. one of the things are interesting, when she does something exceptional like when she went to sri lanka. very careful and very detailed and lots of description. she knew when she was doing the other journalists weren't doing. she kept a very close record. she left these journalists, to her last boyfriend and there's also an executor of her will and the times and they very
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kindly gave me access. i suppose one of them, this was a real moment for me writing this, was when i was on long island. stony brook university, i went to her home in oyster bay and her family very kindly let me go to the basement and pull up the boxes of papers that they had there. and in one of those boxes it was one locked with a key so i can find anywhere so as i opened it my heart leapt because i thought no one looked at the diary since marie locked it. maybe at the age of 14. and this was a diary that had you know, all the stuff about the rebellion. she was 13 years old, the rebellion of her father, a lot about you know, everybody's wearing shorts to high school. i'm not sure want to but i
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must. [laughter] and you know, very deep analysis of who sat next to him on the bus and which boy looked at which girl and catholic here, she actually offered god hair and tired record collection if he would make a boy just like her. it didn't work. you know she enjoyed him for at least i would say 20 pages. [laughter] you do remember! she adored him. i think he was ãthere was no sign that he even noticed her. you know, which is the way it is when you are 13, isn't it? >> i remember marie as being -- >> get a microphone. >> just a comment but i just remember marie as being you know she is rebellious but also she had this very good framework. as you said, a good family and this kind of strong, i don't know if it was exactly catholic or whatever but a strong idea
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of right and wrong, for sure. it guided her in a lot of ways. she was involved in projects and things are always seemingly on the right of advancing things. you know, protesting against the war, the ecology stuff. it was all kind of cutting edge at the time. you know, but she was always involved and i think her dad was kind of instrumental in that they were a very political family. her dad was an alderman or something i think. and so there was always that sort of political framework that she was dealing with as well. but a very strong idea of right and wrong. >> is interesting. her father was like a lone star for her but she needed to rebel against him. he was very progressive politically but not in terms of the family. he was a patriarch and he didn't like his little girl
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doing similar things his little girl was doing. and they classed very early on. and his death when she was 19, i think was a very significant moment in her life. because she thought she would have time to repair the rift with her father. because it was quite a big rift and of course she never did because he died. she wrote in a letter that she never sent to someone, it was in the diary. the rest of her life would be spent trying to make her proud of him. and in a way it was. i think she was always just make her father proud of her. >> comes across very strongly in the book. if we can move out of there a little and can you talk a little about what you think motivated her to get into journalism and how she got into journalism. >> yeah, she went to yale. and at yale, she studied nonfiction writing. under the great world war two journalist who wrote a fantastic book book, hiroshima.
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a very short book. it tells a story of five people in hiroshima after the bomb is dropped. it is not about strategy, it is not about weaponry and it is not about politics is about these peoples lives in the atomic aftermath. and marie's best friend katrina, remembers marie coming out of that and says that is what i want to do. i want to tell these big stories in this human way. and she always thought hiroshima was the best book written on the work. and many of us would agree with that. that was what happened at yale. but of course, she spent some time freelancing and she got a job which she liked because teamsters are tough guys and she liked tough guys. and great journalism. you get to go and interview the hustlers, the guys who you
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know, shoot the horses in the new york city police. she liked all of that. then she got a job as he said, at upi and ended up in paris. from paris, she managed to get a visa to libya. and this was in 1986. on the eve of the reagan bombing. when reagan was about to bomb benghazi and marie -- was well known and marie fit into a category. and it was kind of creepy. she knows she telling us about this many years later she often tells a story, he was predatory always putting his hand on her knee and she interviewed him on several occasions. at that particular point. one occasion when he would put out a little white dress and green shoes for her. she says i'm not going to wear
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that because it is too small. but, marie always loved clothes. that was another theme in the book. should always describe what people were wearing in great detail. and qaddafi with his gold cape and lizard skin shoes and in a sometimes gray padded flight suits and sometimes a full military regale and it is in the copy that she wrote in her diary even more, every tiny detail of what he was wearing. but this made her famous because she interviewed him and then the bombing happened and it was a huge story. and suddenly marie was no longer an anonymous wire copy. she was you know, the brave woman who interviewed what reagan used to call the mad dog of the middle east. she interviewed him on the eve of the bombing. >> absolutely. from, with that, she leverage
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that to get a job at -- >> at the times. in the sunday times, she got to go to beirut very soon. at that point beirut was the most dangerous city in the world. and you know, she was very insecure. she was in her early 30s and she probably, she was used to being a news agency journalist and suddenly, you know you sort of bang this out in the telex and send it off. the technology ways to do things was very different in those days.and now she was writing for the sunday paper. if you have a better story. you can be writing the same comments coming on the daily papers. and so this one of things that leads -- you have to do something to get something that is different and better. and in 1987, marie and tom were
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in beirut, when there was a war within the war, it was called -- when a militia was besieging a palestinian refugee camp. and marie and tom bribed a militia commander to cease fire for one minute. and in that one minute, they would run across the no man's land into the camp. i mean think about it. there are snipers everywhere, and you're not completely sure he's told every sniper not to shoot. and you've got one minute to get across this rough ground. but they did it. and landon in the camp. the camp was very famous. there was a british surgeon and a scottish nurse. it was the only source of information for the outside world. it was like -- i remember when
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we were all glued to what was happening to the dr. and the nurse. and there was a pass which a woman would go up food to bring done and snipers would pick them off. and the woman went out and was coming back in and she was shot. and the you have this woman, a young woman in her early 20s. there was another very short, marie's description of this woman. dying on the operating table. her hair was clotted with blood. and she seemed younger now that she'd been cleaned. her body was soft and shapely.
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she wore two tiny gold earrings. someone opened her fist and cleared out a handful of bloodsoaked -- she clenched in her pain. i think as an extra ordinary description. and this incident, had huge impact on marie. the 24 hours she spent there had a huge effect on marie. and this is because her story had an impact. the militia, sponsored by the leader of syria. he innocence was a gorbachev. and gorbachev could be pressured. in in those days the sunday times was a very important newspaper. and in three days the cedars lifted and was partly because of that story, the photograph and marie's copy. the image of the young woman lying, her lifeblood seeping into the dirt. reminded her of -- the earrings
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reminded her of a patient give to her younger sister. she would talk about that day and the horror and fear she saw amongst the palestinians. she was proud of her story believing it had made a difference. every sunday newspaper share the tempting rates in the middle of whatever situation she was reporting on. a variation on a famous war photographer, robert --. if your pictures are good enough you are not close enough. other journalists might remain at the margins. only some relative safety but not marie. she would get up close, she would not write about herself. her journalism would be distinguished about her personal expense. i think that story and that young woman was tremendously influential on marie. and that was the commitment which she felt about telling
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the stories of victims of war. that piece was entitled the war on women. again, it was not about the politics and the big picture. it was about a war on women and her story had an impact. >> to that point, i mean one of the things that she had to battle, it was very male world at the time. you know this from your own experience. >> yeah. >> coming up the wire service and papers. what do the fact that she was a woman, did you bring us instability, a something to the reporter because a lot of male colleagues and i was at the time, or into the hardware or the strategy or into what we call, the bang bang of it all. and not sincerely the story of one individual person. >> look, sometimes it is hard to know what defines somebody's approach to reporting is based on gender or not based on gender. certainly, marie was one of the boys. she could drink the boys under the table. that was very useful, you know. the reason she got so many
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interviews with arafat is because she had the stamina to drink whiskey and smoke cigarettes until three in the morning with his aides. night after night after night. and that was what she did. and of course they left a bit of female company. so that was about that but also being a woman helped. she was never interested in whether it was g 72. in fact she didn't care. she believes strongly reporting words about people, it's about peoples lives. i certainly know mail correspondence nowadays who would agree with marie. who would look at marie's doing but she wrote a piece once after she'd been in -- she was very celebrated. in 1999, there was a referendum on independence from indonesia. the people voted for independence and then a militia sponsored by the indonesian government, started to run campaigns around the island.
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and people fled to the un compound. anne-marie was in the un compound as many other journalists. and it became more and more dangerous. and editors pull their journalists out. marie was left with two dutch journalists. and there's a funny story about this because she didn't consult her foreign editor before decided to stay. that was marie. she said she called him afterwards and said, by the way, i am staying. the others are pretty much all gone it is just me and two other journalists. and he says where have the men gone? and she says they've all left. i guess they don't make men like they used to. [laughter] knew such a marie car mount and so unfair because i happen to know that there were two journalist to happen to be men that had gone into the hills with the guerrillas.
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just as brave a staying in the compound but hey, that's not really one of marie's good stories. and she was -- other people had stayed but they were human shields. marie was one of the few people, it was a brave thing to do. she was very celebrated when she came out. but she wrote a piece when -- she entitled it courage has no agenda. she said accurately because i show these people ãshe didn't think her bravery had anything to do with her gender. she didn't really feel okay reporting had anything to do with her gender either. apart from one thing. one other story from there. marie always -- she always has lace, silk underwear on underneath. that was marie. she managed to get back to hotel some point toward the end of the crisis.
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and she abandoned her hotel room and had to run to the compound. and she found much to her amazement, that the guerrillas had visited -- littered her underwear but not her jacket which was so rare! [laughter] >> one of the things he mentioned is the impact that she had. and i remember the time of her death, from a speech that i think she'd given at a church. which is a journalist church. when she talked about bearing witness. could you elaborate a little on what she meant by bearing witness? >> sure. i mean that was -- every others a service to commemorate journalists who lost their lives. and that was 2010 was the year we had anne-marie was the first person to give the address.
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one of the memories i have a marie which i will never lose. i was in the congregation and she was there in her tight short black cocktail dress slightly too short for church. and with her eye patch into glasses to read. and she mulled over 11 these issues. what is bravery and what is bravado? we have to take risks. but sometimes we are taking risks also for other people. like the local journalists and those we work with. what is our responsibility there? and also saying that the nature of war doesn't change. until about victims and conscripts and people living under bombs and trying to survive. even though how ever high-tech it is. and looking at drones and so on. that is not what it's about.
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it's about what's happening underground and that is what she meant by bearing witness. she meant that you have to be there. and if you as a journalist are not there, you are not bearing witness and do not really tell the story. and that is where it's at. that was a huge strength and why she was killed. >> before get onset i have a couple more questions. i will open it. in the latter half of her life, and researching your feeling shows marie that you knew as an adult and a different from getting to know her as a complete individual? >> definitely. there were times in researching this book when i got so angry with her. i got so angry with her. she was a stepmother at one point in her life. and she was not very responsible stepmother. the story about where she left
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her stepdaughter at a party. there was a point where i just, you know i had to go for a walk. you know. i mean how can you do that marie? i was furious with her. and their other points i couldn't work out what was true and what wasn't true and i was desperate took lawrence a marie, what really happened? and that was when i mr. because i could hear her on the other end of the phone saying all my god, you won't believe what really happened! [laughter] come over, let's have a drink. but i suppose the thing which i didn't really understand completely, was how vulnerable she was. i knew her as a friend on the road and you know, i like to think of us as thelma and louise. you know? and of course, i saw her drunk. i saw her drunk on a couple of occasions. but i didn't realize how big a problem alcohol was for.and also, i knew that she had suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder but the extent of it i did not know. and i think it comes down to
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this, people often ask journalists like me who do international affairs and also have a conflict, how difficult is it to be out there in the situations in syria or rwanda or whatever and then come home? it is an adjustment. but for marie, i don't think that was the real issue because she loved her life in london. she had a wonderful life in london. a very supportive friends, mainly female friends. it was the outer and inner thing. it was this image of herself. as you are saying in the beginning, very much in the eye patch. and then there were moments when she didn't feel like that person. she felt vulnerable and she felt shapely and frightened. anything losing the site in her eye but she had to face up to the fragility of her body. it took a long time to face up to the fragility of her mind. >> one final question for me. you mention syria.
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it is a big part of the book, a big part of the film which has just come out.she went back, having gone into homes and the siege. she had a story. she started to go out of the journalist but she went back. why did she go back? >> so this -- this is really why i wrote the book. so, february 2012, marie and i are both in beirut. we had supper. and there were four of us. we had someone from the bbc and the new york times. over the border, they received -- the three of us said, too dangerous, very simple. marie said, anyway, it's what we do. so off she went. with her photographer. and this is a really difficult journey involving being passed
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from people smuggler to people smuggler and having to crawl through storm drains like a sewer. having to crawl like this in a bent over -- i don't think physically i could have done it. they get in, she goes to the widows basement. the point of the story is that arafat said the only people in this is tervis. and she wrote the story about where the women and children were sheltering. she goes to the official line. and she went to the clinic which was, you know, where they were hanging coat hangers and doing surgery on people with no anesthetic. and then they say you have got to leave and she left. and she went and she brought the store and it was an incredible story. and i assumed and everybody assumes that was it. she was in, she was out and got an amazing story. then the next heard she was back in. she was back in? and then i got a message from her.
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you know, back in, not sure it was my wisest move but so anger making, it is worth it. and she says i want -- the story cannot hold to sunday. i called her she wanted a book after she went on cnn and bbc. but i called and said what the hell are you doing? why did he go back in? and she says, lindsey, it's the worst we've ever seen. and i said i know but what is your exit strategy? and she said that's it i just don't have one. we are working on it now. eight hours later she was killed. she went back and because she was totally committed to that story. and i think that she felt she was abandoning the people. and the way she refused to abandon the people other places.she felt guilty she was abandoning them. and you can say that that was when you are, as a general sewer blurring the lines
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between yourself and the people you are reporting on. i mean, if i say it was a mistake, she did not live to tell this tale. that was the point when she stepped over the line and paid for it with her life. >> thank you. i think that is a good point to end this part of the conversation and to invite our guests and my colleagues to ask questions. we do have a microphone so please take the microphone. >> have you got any questions? come on! >> there are a few at the back there. >> one of the things he mentioned was that the freedom and challenge of reporting for sunday paper. it was this drive to get something that is not being reported in the daily news. and it is the different part. how does that compare or how is it expanded in the modern news
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environment? weight is so fast published? in what dangers does that mean for especially freelancers? >> yeah, i mean, it brings us to what i've just been talking about.because marie knew the story couldn't hold until sunday. so she did. and that enabled the al-assad forces to intercept the signal. and so they knew, they were trying to find a journalist and those broadcasts that marie made, to cnn, the bbc and us, according to the sectors, there is a court case her sister has brought. a civil case in this country with the help of the -- it is a committee for justice and accountability. which does this kind of nonprofit work. they have testimony that says that is what, that combined with informers on the ground is what led to her death. that she was targeted. so there is one example of the
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danger of doing daily news in that way. i think that you know, is changing all the time in journalism. and now we have so many short short things online. and there's a bit of an appetite for much longer form stuff as well. but it is not going to be through the sunday times. and as it was in marie's day. but certainly, with the change in the landscape and newspapers not making so much money anymore because the advertising and closing down the bureau. that means that a lot of the kind of reporting marie was doing is now being done by freelancers and they do not necessarily always have insurance. and they do not necessarily have safety equipment. and they don't necessarily being paid properly. this is where protecting the journalist comes in. it's helping freelancers both
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with helping with risk assessment and helping with training and helping with many things that freelancers in dangerous places need on the ground. and the other point i think is important, increasingly, people are reporting their own stories. syrians are reporting syria. and we talk about marie's death. and there are several other foreign correspondents who have been killed in the war in syria. fewer than 10 foreign correspondents have been killed in war in syria. more than 100 syrians have been killed i think that's very important to remember. >> absolute. and -- the very year marie was killed in syria, there were 30 other deaths and journalists, most of them syrian. just to contextualize that. i see some hands, some questions. maria, and then justin.
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>> thank you so much. i have a question. when you are talking about maria's decision to go back and maybe think about what you said earlier in 1987 when she was in lebanon and she was covering the story of -- >> i think you should take the microphone. >> can you hear me now? >> i worked in tv.[laughter] >> i appreciate it. when she was in lebanon covering the seizure of the palestinian camp and one of the things that she was most proud of was that a couple of days after the story, it led to the lifting of a siege and because they were backed by a thought at the time and gorbachev. do you think in your reporting of the book, that was something, there is a possibility of a similar outcome that motivated her to go back? go back and is it something more generally that you think continue to motivate her reporting since then and
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throughout her career? >> marie was very motivated by having impact. and i think that one of the things it you see in the book is how much less of an impact the kind of reporting she was doing had over the duration of her life. and this is something which is really significant for all of us as journalists doing this kind of work. the day when a sunday times story would have an impact are long gone.and it is for all sorts of reasons. you know, not least that we have a youth who don't care. you really don't care. and you know, the whole international political situation has changed. and then, all of this, there is a plethora of media now. so you don't have these you know, you don't have the same importance being put on things. although i feel that and i feel
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that i mean certainly, her death has made notice in syria. you know, gathered attention for a while and everybody was -- and al-assad continued with the war exactly as he had always done. but of course now, we have an example which is the killing of jamal khashoggi. and that, it's been so shocking that it's had an impact. that now, i mean, the senate, here, certainly noticed that your country is supporting the saudis in this brutal, vicious, cruel war in yemen. and starting to protest about it. even in britain there is some stirrings. and that is because of the death of jamal khashoggi. so i find that really interesting because i had kind of despaired of any of our work having any impact. and now we have this strange, irony of the death of a journalist. it has had an impact.
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tell me what you feel about that? >> well, i feel sad in a way because there is tremendous reporting on what's going on in yemen. >> yes. >> is just like water off a ducks back. >> yes. >> did ministration is concerned but one journals had to be strangled and dismembered. i find it very sad. i see that we have a question in the back. >> i'm going to work off of justin's question because a lot of the work we been doing with freelancers in syria actually or freelancers rather, comes from what happened in syria. or just happen in syria. hearing you talk about her getting that minute to run across the field and when she was in sri lanka, think about getting up and saying, anti-western you think that she thought that perhaps, that was going to be her shield in syria? that she thought she was sort of, it was her superpower sort
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of? >> i don't know, that's the answer. no, i don't think so. i don't think that marie thought that because she was a foreigner, that she would have any protection. we are talking about bombardment. we are talking about artillery strikes. so you know, the artillery strikes which were coming in you know, every few seconds at that point. so no, i don't think she thought that it would be any protection. sure enough, not only was it not a protection but it suggests that it was what made her a target. >> that's funny because that is what we see in the bigger picture, in the 70s and the 80s, you said you are an american journalist. and a lot of conflict areas it was a former protection. >> that's right. >> and also access as you said to arafat and qaddafi and others. and that flipped on its head by
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syria. >> yes. >> instead becoming a shield she became a target. and that is not a question for most journalists. >> that's right. and in a sense you know there are many different themes in the book. when people asked me what the book is about, i say is at war and love and death but apart from that, it is about the arc of journalism and what has happened to journalism in those years. and it goes from being an american journalist and a foreign correspondent and protection make you a target and that is marie's life. >> a question or follow-up? >> is not really a follow-up i have another question. >> we will like to follow up on like in the white house! >> thank you. >> i wondered how if you can talk more about how she influenced the generation of female reporters? there is certainly the marie
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colvin network of journalists. and i wonder how her work has influenced so many other female journalists, particularly. >> she was very influential in the sense that when marie started to work for the sunday times, she had come from wire services with was a formulary way of telling a story. then you know the new york times and it was pretty buttoned up. you were never right, i saw, you say this reporter saw or a reporter saw. anne-marie did not do that. she used to personalized style. it was now she was writing me or myself, she never did that but it was, i saw this. and this man told me this. it was an immediacy. so she put us up in the story. this is very commonplace now. i mean everybody does that now. but they didn't when marie started to do it. then there is also an issue of blurring the boundaries. in fact, there was an article written in i think 2002, by a
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journalism professor. about this new kind of journalism spearheaded by marie. which was about you know, not remaining in a refugee camp to interview refugees but going to the place where the refugees were coming from. and yeah, i think that influenced a lot of other journalists. men and women. certainly, you know, marie had her icons. and you know, she's to carry around a copy of the face of war.which is a collection of articles. i did that too for a while. and i like to think that is a collection of marie's articles of selected works as it were. and i like to think of young female journalists carrying that around. certainly, you know she was very kind to young journalists. men and women as well. in the recessed-- in the resear
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the book. they were people that said yes, marie let me share her room, marie gave me some, yes i was broke, she give me money. she left this and she said, what i file with the sunday times? that was my big break. that is what marie did. so one of the things that her friends, myself and the bbc, we found a small project in a memory called the marie colvin journalist network. we are trying to provide support and help to young female journalists in the arab world. average journalists. you know there's often a lot of obstacles. you know, not getting sent on interesting assignments. family objecting to doing this kind of work at all. not getting training, not getting safety equipment. it was a project where we do
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mentorship, safety training, counseling. and i like to think that marie would like that project in her name. trying to help this new generation that is coming up, particularly in the middle east. >> any other questions? over here. >> thank you. a story of a certain arc of journalism. so do you think marie's story is really a story of a specific time and that we will be seeing different types of stories but this type of like charismatic in the way of telling stories and also it is kind of fading. >> i think there is a danger of always thinking that it is one's own generation which is most exciting.
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actually my generating is the most exciting. >> of course! [laughter] >> or looking back on a generation and seeing those people as having incredible characters. where only these young people -- so i am aware of that danger. however, yes. i think that marie, one of the reasons marie is worth writing about and interesting to write about because she does represent this particular time. it was a time of intervention, a time of american and british intervention in afghanistan and iraq. a time when there was huge interest in overseas wars. far-off wars which we knew little. it was huge interest in all of that and involvement. and now, western countries, america and britain are retreating from the world. there isn't the same amount of interest and therefore the demand of war correspondent is the kind that marie did, is not as great as it was. and a dissolution because in the end, this report he did not make a difference.
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you know, marie can cite particular cases. there be one and there will be another but others, sri lanka did not make a difference. she believed, and i believe that even if she doesn't make a difference, ignorance is the worst thing. they should never be able to say, we didn't know what was going on. yes, you did know was going on because we told you. marie told you what was going on. that in the end to me is the significance of it. but i think is everything fragments, you're more and more different online outlets and people get blurb between opinion and reporting. you know there's so much doubt cast over what we report. i do think that the era of the great wash buckling, bold, brave, marie colvin journalist to give the best parties in london and you know, all the politicians and the poets and all the rest of it.
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yes, i am afraid i do think that era is over. >> i would have to respectfully disagree. >> all good! [laughter] i am happy you disagree. >> as long as there's going to be conflict, there is going to be someone that says i need to go and be the witness and tell the tale. i think it is a bit -- it is very commonplace to have that opinion about in whatever field. the beatles were the best band, -- >> or sonic youth! >> whatever! [laughter] there is someone always down the road carries on the tradition. >> you are right. >> i do not know if this is a fair question but i'm kind of curious if you think that marie was more willing to put herself in harms way later in life. after the sri lanka eyepatch
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and you know, and if she wanted to have children.she didn't have children, she didn't have a stable relationship. >> yes. >> alcoholism problems or whatever. do think a lot of those personal issues allowed her to put herself, allowed her to care less about her own personal safety? >> i think it's a really good question. and i think there are many people on the sunday times or some people in the sunday times who think she should have been taken off the road. after she lost the sight in her eye. and because they feel that she was too vulnerable and arguably, she was disabled. you know, only one eye. and marie did not want to do that because she defined herself by the work that she did. i think most of us who do that kind of reporting, define ourselves by what we do and many struggle to get that balance and if you don't a happy home life, it becomes more difficult.
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you know to maintain the balance. and it would certainly be true of marie. so yes, arguably, she arguably, her judgment was impaired. obviously she did not care enough. but i certainly do not think that she had any kind of death wish . and i certainly do not think that she thought she was going to die because she said in an email just before she went back in, asking for the contact, the woman who does visas for iran. so she was sitting there, thinking about the next trip. so i know that she didn't think, i am dying -- i'm going to my death. i know she did not think that. but yes, she did not care enough about her own safety. that is self evident. and again, that is another thing about "in extremis". that is why call it "in extremis". because it is about the extremes in her personal life as well. >> any other questions?
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no sorry, please, go ahead. ... and how much of it was her, and what that would mean for your advice to the younger female journalists going into the profession. >> yeah. generally, the foreign correspondents male and female, i think it doesn't make any difference if you're a man or a
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woman, it is very difficult to keep a relationship going and that's just how it is. i think they are very much more understanding now of the dangers of substance abuse, whether it's alcoholism or drug taking and so on, because you know, lots of people, we all drink in the bar and [ inaudible ] so there's one occasion where marie and i were in front of an audience of young people at amnesty in london and a rather earnest young woman got up and asked the question which everybody always asks which is how do you cope with trauma. marie looks at me and back at the audience and said lindsey and i go to bars and we drink. so that was the funny side of it. of course, with marie it went too far, because she drank far
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too much. i think people are much more conscious of that now than they were. i think there is much more support. i also think that suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder has no longer got the stigma it used to have. certainly in marie's time, certainly my early days, you would not admit it because it was a sign of weakness, particularly as a woman. you think oh, god, i'm not coping, if i'm not coping, they're going to think i'm just a stupid girl and they will never send me again. that has really changed. now i think most workplaces have, you know, hotlines and it's understood that you will need time off after a traumatic experience of covering something, and it is not -- you don't have to tell your manager necessarily, you can have a confidential thing. so it's a very different atmosphere around that now.
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but when again we do come back to the issue of the fact there's so many freelancers who don't necessarily have access to those services as star correspondents do, and there are projects which are trying to help on that, and that really is the next hurdle. >> we have time for one more question. yes. >> i just had a quick question about your process of writing the book. because marie's legacy rests in the fact that she went further than most to get the story and because your book is literature that journalists are most likely to read, how did you, just because the means by which she gave back to a story is not necessarily advised for journalists so how did you
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manage to make that delineation between the importance of her work and also not necessarily condoning the ways in which she gained access. >> it's a good question and it's a difficult question, isn't it, because there's a little bit of all of us that wishes we were marie. there's a little bit of me, people keep asking me are you going to write your own memoirs which is now i have written about marie, what do you want me to call it? we all feel that. yet the book is, i hope, unflinching in showing the prices she paid for this, and i hope that it will be clear, you know, that this is not a thing which you undertake lightly and yes, she's a heroine but a very flawed heroine which is why she's so interesting to write about and why she was lovable. i think also one of the things i
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feel very strongly, marie became most famous because of the violent and tragic nature of her death, and there's a film about her and a documentary called "under the wire" based on the book by the photographer paul conroy who was with her, who survived the mortar attack which killed marie and it's incredible, the documentary is just extraordinary. but again, we are concentrating on marie's death and i felt very strongly that i wanted to write about her life. i wanted to write about the amazing stories that she did. i wanted to write about the place she came from. i wanted to write about how funny she was, how witty she was, how clever she was. i wanted to write about the whole person and that i hoped that in writing about marie, knowing so much she was famous because of her death, i could in some way bring her back to life.
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>> thank you. i think from my point of view, you did just that. you actually answered what was going to be my last question, what with all the tragedy and conflict in there, what you have done is brought out also the funny side of a rebel and someone who was great company and gave great parties. she wasn't all earnest. >> oh, my god. >> so thank you. congratulations on a wonderful piece of work. thank you for coming. our guests, thank you. and thank all our colleagues from cpj but above all, thanks to lindsey. [ applause ]


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