A memorial service for Kurt Schork was held at June 1st at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C.
(Reuters, June 1, 2000) Kurt Schork, the Reuters journalist killed in Sierra Leone last week, helped make a difference in the world with his graphic portrayal of the horror of war, a memorial service in his honor heard on Thursday.
Schork, 53, and Miguel Gil Moreno de Mora, 32, a cameraman for Associated Press Television News, were killed on May 24 in an ambush by Sierra Leone rebels while reporting on the West African nation's civil war.
Schork had spent more than 10 years reporting on conflicts around the world, especially in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
``People who have never heard of him are alive today because of his work in Bosnia, in Kosovo and elsewhere,'' Richard Holbrooke, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and former negotiator in the ex-Yugoslavia, told a memorial service in Washington. ``He wanted the world to know how stupid and how senseless war was.''
Schork's brother John said the correspondent, who became a journalist after stints in real estate and with the New York transit authority, had been influenced by the idealism voiced by the late U.S. president John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy, both killed by assassins.
``If Kurt has a theme in his writing, a driving desire, it was that he knew the world can be better,'' John Schork said. ``We will be consoled in the thought that Kurt did makea difference.''
Colleagues painted a picture of a man who looked for the human side of any story but who also personified the intrepid war correspondent.
``There was no shame in admitting to one's self that, yeah, one wanted to be like Kurt Schork,'' said Anthony Loyd, a correspondent for the Times of London who worked with Schork.
But while his way of life in reporting from Bosnia, Iraq, Chechnya and elsewhere may have looked glamorous, he was not out for glory, Reuters editor-in-chief Geert Linnebank said.
``There was no self-indulgence, no exhibitionism, no gratuitous heroism in Kurt. He was a modest man who wasn't trying to prove to the world anything about himself,'' Linnebank told the memorial service. ``Kurt believed journalists could make a difference, and it was to that goal that he devoted himself, that he mobilized all his resources.''
Holbrooke, who knew Schork well from the war in Bosnia where the diplomat brokered an accord in late 1995 that helped end the conflict, said he succeeded in making that difference.
``His stories moved people to anger ... Kurt believed that if we shine the flashlight of truth, truth that is in the form of facts as Kurt presented them in his precise and spare style, then the world would not be able to ignore indefinitely what was happening,'' he said.
``Bosnia proved him right ... They affected leaders and ultimately, belatedly, they helped rouse governments to action.''