Attention Must Be Paid

20 years ago, my world was the war zone of Bosnia and Croatia. At first, arriving with the UN as a peacekeeper, I felt sure the world was paying attention and action would be taken to end the bombardment of Sarajevo. I was wrong. The siege went on for years.

Do your eyes glaze over when reading about wars? Sometimes, mine do too. Food and gardening blogs are certainly more enjoyable. Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Sudan — the stories dispatched from these places are overwhelming and disturbing. Beyond sending money to organizations that provide assistance, (MFS is my choice) what can we do? I don’t know. The resulting feeling of impotence sucks. So I may switch my screen or turn a page to order seeds for my garden or catch up on trashy celebrity gossip or the latest buffoonery in the primary.

But this disturbs me: I spoke with people this week who knew nothing of the recent deaths of the war correspondents in Syria. Three brave and excellent journalists were killed because they believed they needed to tell the world about the terrible situation there. To be only vaguely aware, not so interested — feels shameful, and deaths of Marie Colvin, Anthony Shadid and photographer Remi Ochlik — who  lost their lives in getting the story out — even more heartbreaking.

I do not have what it takes to bear witness as, NYTs photographer Tyler Hicks writes so  movingly about his friend and colleague here. I salute the brilliance and insight we lost with these deaths — and vow to pay attention.

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One Response to Attention Must Be Paid

  1. Avatar dalma heyn says:

    This is so good, Tricia: I so often find myself veering away from the headlines. Egypt! Syria! Israel! Yemen! Algeria! Iran! Pakistan! And as I plow through the stories about each every morning, my mind leaps (as it did yesterday) to those little pictures on the back, and the headline, “A New Look, but Is It Dior?” Because, alas, those little billion-dollar frocks–like those kitchen utensils (do you have the wooden salad hands from Crate and Barrel, by the way?)–are simply more fun to look at and contemplate than whether Putin runs again in 2018.

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