The Death of a War Correspondent

In Syria people are dying today. Government troops are massing for an assault on rebel areas. War correspondent, Marie Colvin, was killed two days ago.

I’m in an apartment just like the one Julie and I had, a one-bedroom apartment, in a traditional brick-built block with a steel fire escape down the front.

Sometimes in the evenings we would sit out on the fire escape, watching the city below.

Today, in Trader Joe’s, on 3rd and La Brea, I saw a beautiful black woman with an Ethiopian profile kneel to scrutinise a lower shelf.

My day had started badly. I forgot to move my car for Street Cleaning and got a citation. $64.

In Homs there must be the awful smell of rotting body parts.

Twenty years ago I could have been there.

I was not Marie Colvin, but I worked hard.

For a foreign correspondent all you can hope for is that your readers reflect for a moment or two on the sufferings of others in faraway places.

Yesterday I came across the little “Inspiration Park” on the site of the old Ambassador Hotel where Robert Kennedy was shot on June 5 in 1968.

It had quotations on its walls. One said something like this:

From sharing the suffering of others comes the need to ‘tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”

Last night I watched grainy images of scurrying, crouching figures in makeshift cemeteries after dark.

There was a time when walking to the coffee shop on a sunny morning past the bougainvillea outside the apartment buildings with the crows shuffling and squawking in the palm trees was just my rest break, just my R&R.

What use am I now?