The newspapers sitting on my desk since August are already almost yellow. I’ve been thinking since then of writing this. The capture and release of NBC’s Richard Engel and his crew lifted me from my ennui.
Why in the collective conscience are soldiers the only heroes in combat boots, why not the messengers of the bad news? ITEM: From the New York Times of 8/22/12 – “Two days after a Japanese journalist, Mika Yamamoto, was shot and killed in the Syrian city of Aleppo, her news agency released some of the footage she recorded in her final hours. The video, posted online with subtitles by The Telegraph of Britain, shows that Ms. Yamamoto, 45, was filming Syrian rebel fighters alongside her partner, Kazutaka Sato, when she was shot and killed.”
In that same issue of the Times, this appeared: “… an international team of doctors and nurses has been quietly treating Syrian opposition fighters and civilians for the past two months, Doctors Without Borders announced in Paris on Tuesday.”
Is there some reason we refer to foot soldiers as heroes and “our treasure” and ignore the fact that while the US supposedly has no boots on the ground in Syria, there are journalists and medical personnel? Could it be because the reporters bring bad news and the doctors give us high bills? No way am I knocking the troops, but it is something to think about. We would have no idea what is going on in Syria without reporters of all nationalities there. Perhaps that’s the problem – we’d rather not know. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, as of December 18, 67 journalists were killed worldwide in 2012; and 28 have been killed in Syria alone.