'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, August 05, 2004

RIP Gloria Emerson 

Gloria Emerson died at 75. She was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times in Vietnam and in other war zones. She won a Polk for her reporting on civilian casulaties, cared deeply about the plight of the Vietnamese and of our veterans, and generally was the sort of reporter that we could use more of. Here's her obituary in the Herald Tribune. And here's this:

Vietnam is just a confirmation of everything we feared might happen in life. And it has happened. You know, a lot of people in Vietnam-and I might be one of them-could be mourners as a profession. Morticians and mourners. It draws people who are seeking confirmation of tragedies....

Once I got so desperate-the Americans had started bombing Hanoi- I ran to the National Press Center where they give the briefings...a forty-year-old woman running through the streets in the middle of the night...and I wrote on the wall in Magic Marker, Father, forgive. They know not what they do. And I don't even believe in God. Who is Father? Father, forgive, they know not what they do. But there were no other words in the whole English language.

If they found out it was me they would have sent me home. New York Times correspondents must not go running around at two o'clock in the morning writing, Father, forgive, they know not what they do. But afterward I thought how there's no way...no one, no one to whom you can say we're sorry.

--Gloria Emerson

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