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Lacking Humanity

I heard a woman interviewed on the BBC World Service who was being applauded for fulfilling her childhood ambition of being a war correspondent. It made me uneasy. Would she have received the same adulation if she had said that since she was a child she had wanted to report fatal traffic accidents? I've encountered war reporters in Kosovo and Afghanistan. I was very seldom impressed by them. I can't do better than quote the American journalist and war reporter Martha Gellhorn. "Wars are frightful, wicked things, and anyone who wants to specialize in reporting them is either a charlatan or else lacks a scintilla of humanity."

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