I knew the name when I heard that she’d died. The last I’d heard of Marie Colvin she was trying to broker a deal for the LTTE leadership. It is terribly sad that she died and I’m sorry for her family’s loss.
Regarding her work, I think it’s a mixed bag. She always seemed to side with the LTTE in Sri Lanka, such that they called her as a last resort. That never sat well with me. To place it in a western context, imagine Bin Laden calling a journalist from Pakistan asking for a way out. The US has bombed Al Jazeera offices for less (in what they said was a mistake).
She once said:
“But isn’t it quite simple? You just try to find out the truth of what’s going on and report it the best way you can. And because we are kind of romantic, our sympathy goes towards the underdog.” (via The Independent)
which I think is the essential contradiction of her work. She ended up in the neighborhood of the truth, but ended up coloring it with a romantic fixation on the underdog (which wasn’t always right). In the case of Syria you actually do have an unelected dictator killing his own people for his own ends. In Sri Lanka, however, I think she got it wrong. She sided with the dictator underdog.
It was an interesting life, if not great journalism. She courted death in Sri Lanka and could have been martyred from the LTTE. She met death in Syria and her unreturned body is now a missive directed at Assad. She danced the romantic line between war and truth, death and glory. In the end I think she fell on the right side. May she rest in peace.