In parliament yesterday, Canadian senator Joan Fraser rose "to bear witness to the more than 50 journalists and media workers who died in 2011 because they were journalists." She then made a short statement, and read out the names of media workers who fell in the line of duty. It is a depressingly long list.
Nearly half of the journalists were murdered outright. Others were killed in crossfire or combat, as they were doing their jobs. Others were killed on dangerous assignments of one sort or another covering demonstrations, riots, mobs and racial clashes.
They were: in Afghanistan, Ahmad Omaid Khpalwak and Farhad Taqaddosi; in Azerbaijan, Rafiq Tagi; in Bahrain, Zakariya Rashid Hassan al-Ashiri and Karim Fakhrawi; in Brazil, Edinaldo Filgueira, Luciano Leitão Pedrosa and Gelson Domingos da Silva; in the Dominican Republic, José Agustín Silvestre de los Santos; in Egypt, Ahmad Mohamed Mahmoud and Wael Mikhael; in Iraq, Muammar Khadir Abdelwahad, Sabah al-Bazi, Alwan al-Ghorabi, Hadi al-Mahdi and Mohamed al-Hamdani; in Ivory Coast, Sylvain Gagnetau Lago and Marcel Legré; in Libya, Ali Hassan al-Jaber, Mohammed al-Nabbous, Anton Hammerl, Tim Hetherington, Chris Hondros and Mohammed Shaglouf; in Mexico, Luis Emanuel Ruiz Carrillo, Maria Elizabeth Macías Castro, Noel López Olguín and Rodolfo Ochoa Moreno; in Nigeria, Zakariya Isa; in Pakistan: Nasrullah Khan Afridi, Wali Khan Babar, Asfandyar Khan, Shafiullah Khan, Javed Naseer Rind, Faisal Qureshi and Saleem Shahzad; in Panama, Darío Fernández Jaén; in Peru, Pedro Alfonso Flores Silva; in the Philippines, Romeo Olea and Gerardo Ortega; in Russia, Gadzhimurad Kamalov; in Somalia, Abdisalan Sheikh Hassan, Noramfaizul Mohd and Farah Hassan Sahal; in Syria, Ferzat Jarban and Basil al-Sayed; in Thailand, Phamon Phonphanit; in Tunisia, Lucas Mebrouk Dolega; and in Yemen, Jamal al-Sharaabi, Hassan al-Wadhaf and Fuad al-Shamri.
Every one of them died in the service of bringing the truth to the rest of us. They died, in the most profound sense, for us. This is our small way to bear witness to their sacrifice.
Fraser is the former editor-in-chief of the Montreal Gazette.