Raw in War
Jineth Bedoya Lima's Letter to Anna PDF E-mail

Dear Anna:

Since the day of my abduction I have spent many a sleepless night crying in the darkness all alone.  Each time depression knocks on my door I think how lucky I am to be still alive; how fortunate I am that the 9-mm gun, pointed at my temple for many hours, was never fired. 

For countless nights I have felt its heavy weight against my head and have thought about the Irish [journalist] Verónica Guerin, the Mexicans Marcela Yarce Viveros and Rocío Gonzales, and about you.

I have asked myself if it was really worth it to sacrifice so much: to put one’s personal life aside, to endure public scorn, to challenge those in power and the corrupt who think themselves masters of our lives.  To subject our families to our endless absences, to intimidation and fear for our life.

In the end, I must confess that what fills me with anguish is not the thought that one day they may succeed in firing the gun or choose another way of silencing me. What really frightens me is the possibility of truth never coming out, the powerful remaining unmasked, the violent going unpunished because of society’s short memory.   

Trying to stir up that memory was what shut your eyes forever, and yet it has opened the eyes of many other people, such as myself, to the possibility of not capitulating. 

Millions of people need the few who do not capitulate. So today, ten years after your assassination I take a decision in your honour - not to capitulate. Not to capitulate as we see the beginning of an end to the violent conflict in my country, Colombia, not to capitulate while uncovering sexual violence which continues to affect so many people in the world.

Just as I receive the news of the Anna Politkovskaya award, 52 years of war are coming to an end in my country. The bullets that took her life are the same that ended the life of over 200 000 Colombians: the business of war has not only contaminated the souls of those who profit from it, but it has also made our society hardened and intolerant. The legacy of women like Anna is not to allow this to be happening again and again. It is the one good thing we can leave behind during our brief passage through this world. 

This award is my tribute to the Colombian women who were victims of the armed conflict in Colombia. Their bodies were used as weapons of war, just as it happens in many other places in the world. I have been working as a journalist for the past 20 years, covering this violent conflict. It is time for these women to be vindicated.

We are fortunate enough to have the gift of word, gift of writing: let it remain the backbone of our work and the basis of hope for many.




Also available in Spanish and Russian


SPANISH version | RUSSIAN version

Sign our petition to end the abuse and violence against women and girls in Iraq PDF E-mail

Join us in supporting the efforts of this year's Anna Politkovskaya Award winner, Vian Dakhil, and sign our petition urging the UN Member States to take urgent steps to end the abuse and violence against women and girls in Iraq.


RAW in WAR (Reach All Women in WAR) calls on the international community, the United Nations and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to do their utmost to stop Islamic State in Iraq and Syria from committing atrocities against the civilian population and to stop waging a war against women. Members of ethnic and religious minorities, such as the Yazidi, are being kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam, or sold as slaves and frequently killed. 

 Please visit change.org HERE to sign the petition, and share it with friends!  

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Press Release: Marie Colvin winner of the 2012 Anna Politkovskaya Award PDF E-mail

Marie Colvin

(The United States)


for women journalists and/or human rights defenders from war and conflict

Today, Friday 5th October, Reach All Women in WAR (RAW in WAR) celebrates the life of Marie Colvin, the American journalist who died while covering the conflict in Syria earlier this year. Ahead of the anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder on Sunday 7th October we honor Marie with the 2012 Anna Politkovskaya Award, as someone who, like Anna, was determined and committed speaking out against the atrocities. 

As the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, RAW in WAR wanted to recognise Marie’s life and remarkable achievements in the face of grave and ultimately fatal danger. Marie, like the 2011 Anna Politkovskaya Award winner Razan Zaitouneh (from Syria) before her, was a key voice for the Syrian people who continue their struggle against violence and tyranny.

One of the most experienced and noted war correspondents of her generation Marie Colvin reported from the frontline of almost every major conflict that occurred during her thirty year career, including Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Chechnya, Kosovo, Sri Lanka and last year Arab Spring. While covering the conflict in East Timor in 1999 she was credited with saving the lives of 1,500 women and children after she refused to leave them in a compound besieged by Indonesian-backed forces. While other international journalists left, she remained with a United Nations force, reporting for both the Sunday Times and television until the group was eventually evacuated after four days. 

Despite losing the use of one of her eyes while reporting on the Sri Lankan civil war in 2001, Marie never lost her commitment to helping others by giving voice caught up in the brutal violence of conflict by uncovering the truth in what she described as the ‘sandstorm of propaganda when armies, tribes or terrorists clash’.


“A difficult choice from a particularly challenging list of nominations!  Marie Colvin represented journalism at its most courageous and committed best – critically important for democracy and freedom.”

Lord Frank Judd, a member of the Nominations Committee

In presenting the award to Marie Colvin, a group of more than 100 influential cultural and political leaders who joined the Committee of Supporters for the award, including Nobel Peace Prize laureates, has today called again to bring to justice those who killed Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova.

'We call again on the Russian government to bring to justice those who killed Anna and Natalia and their colleagues, and to end the killings of journalists and human rights defenders in the Russian Federation. We call on the world’s leaders to pledge to do everything in their power to protect the journalists and human rights defenders who work in areas of war and conflict.

We owe it to the memory of Anna and Natalia to protect the very few who continue to speak out on behalf of those who are still not listened to or heard.' 

Among them are Nobel Women’s Initiative, Mairead Maguire (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate), Betty Williams (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate), Jody Williams (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate), Shirin Ebadi (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate), Rigoberta Menchú Tum  (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate), Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate), Tatiana Yankelevich, Vaclav Havel, Jon Snow, John Pilger, Amy Goodman, Jeremy Bowen, Andre Glucksmann, Gloria Steinem, Sergey Kovalyov, Alexei Simonov, Vladimir Bukovsky, Svetlana Gannushkina, Lyudmila Alekseeva, Karinna Moskalenko, Malalai Joya (2008 Award winner), Leila Alikarami (2009 Award winner), Dr. Halima Bashir (2010 Award winner), Gillian Slovo, Eva Hoffman, Adam Michnik, Oleg Panfilov, Tom Stoppard, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Natasha Kandic, Elisabeth Rehn, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Mariane Pearl, Azar Nafisi, Asma Jahangir, Carl Gershman, Hina Jilani, Susan Sarandon, Jane Birkin, Sophie Shihab, Naomi Klein, Sister Helen Prejean, Ariel Dorfman, Vanessa Redgrave, Eve Ensler, Michael Cunningham, John Sweeney, Jonathan Schell, Noam Chomsky, Marina Litvinenko, Lucy Ash, Sussan Deyhim, Heidi Bradner, Desmond O'Malley, Anne Nivat, Annabel Markova, Lord Frank Judd, Lord Nicolas Rea, Lord Anthony Giddens, Lord Nazir Ahmed, Mukesh Kapila CBE, Baroness Molly Meacher, Baroness Vivien Stern, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Yakin Erturk, Elena Kudimova, Andrey Nekrasov, Meglena Kuneva, Peter Gabriel, Stina Scott, Anna Stavitskaya, Dubravka Ugresic, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Victor Navasky, Aidan White, Holly Near, Joan Baez, Elizabeth Frank, Elizabeth Kostova, Bill Bowring, Irena Grudzinska Gross, Jenny Diski, Monica Ali, Isa Blyden, Nayereh Tohidi, Claire Bertschinger, Tsvetana Maneva, and others. 

For the full list of the Committee of Supporters to the Anna Politkovskaya Award please see: http://www.rawinwar.org/content/view/65/202/ 

More information available at: www.rawinwar.org 



RAW IN WAR Telephone: +44 (0) 7503 649 155

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