Kosovo mourners pay tribute to slain reporters
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (Reuters) - Politicians, diplomats,
officials and colleagues in Kosovo paid tribute on Friday to two
journalists killed in Africa this week, saying their reporting
had focused international attention on the province.
Reuters correspondent Kurt Schork and Associated Press
television cameraman-producer Miguel Gil Moreno de Mora, who
were shot dead in an ambush in Sierra Leone Wednesday, had spent
much of the past two years reporting on Kosovo.
Veton Surroi, an independent politician and publisher of the
Kosovo daily newspaper Koha Ditore, recalled Schork's prodigious
output from Kosovo in the year of conflict between Serbs and
ethnic Albanians which led up to NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia.
"In his stories, a conflict became understood and the
participants in the conflict had a face, had a name, had a story
to tell. Kosovo was not just a point on the map," he said.
"Through his stories, it had become a narrative of
suffering and of the need to stop that suffering," he told
mourners at the memorial service in the Kosovo capital Pristina.
"When the Kosovars couldn't travel from one city to the
other... we found out what was happening in the villages around
Pristina through Miguel's camera, pegged to the front lines of
the war," Surroi said.
Around 50 people packed into a room in the offices of Koha
Ditore, which had organized the service, to hear the tributes.
Pictures of Schork, a bespectacled 53-year-old, and Gil Moreno
de Mora, a 32-year-old Spaniard, were displayed on a table.
Among the mourners were the heads of the U.S. and British
missions in Kosovo and Hashim Thaqi, leader of the Democratic
Party of Kosovo and former commander of the Kosovo Liberation
Army, whose campaign against Serb rule was covered by both men.
Also present were staffers from the United Nations and other
international organizations, many of whom recalled earlier
reports from Schork and Gil Moreno de Mora in Bosnia which built
both of them a formidable reputation within journalism.
Journalists and officials also observed a moment's silence
at international agencies' regular news briefing in Pristina.
David Slinn, the head of the British government's mission in
Kosovo, said Schork, an American, had been admired and respected
across ethnic boundaries and beyond his profession.
"He had lots of friends amongst the Kosovo Albanian
community. He had lots of friends among the Kosovo Serb
community," Slinn told the memorial service. "His aim was good
for man, for mankind - and that's what drove him."