Croydon’s Tamils remember the bravery of Marie Colvin

Journalist Marie Colvin: Tamils owe her debt of gratitude

Croydon’s Tamil community is leading a service of remembrance this afternoon for Marie Colvin, The Sunday Times journalist who was killed last month when the media centre in Homs was hit by Syrian government artillery fire.

The Croydon service will be held at 4.30pm at Holy Saviour Church in St Saviour’s Road, West Croydon.

Tamils have good reason to recall Colvin’s work as a journalist, determined to report the evils of war whatever the odds she faced.

For more than a decade, Colvin had reported on atrocities in the Sri Lankan civil war and finally ended up as an intermediary between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government.

Her reporting of abuses by the Sri Lankan government led to a significant change in western government attitudes towards the Tamil conflict.

Colvin’s eye patch came as a result of the injuries she sustained while crossing government lines in Sri Lanka.

In November 2010, when addressing an audience at St Bride’s, the journalists’ church in Fleet Street, Colvin related how the incident occurred: “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.”

Colvin had been to get her shoes before departing Homs when the Syrian government rocket fire targeted the media centre in Homs.

Colvin always argued that good, brave journalism can make a difference. “Many of you here must have asked yourselves, or be asking yourselves now, is it worth the cost in lives, heartbreak, loss?” she said to her colleagues at St Bride’s. “Can we really make a difference? We do have that faith because we believe we do make a difference.”

Colvin’s funeral is set to be held on Monday at the Church of St Dominic in Oyster Bay, Long Island.

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