Michael Deane Went Bravely to His Death in Egypt, But He Shouldn't Have Had to
When someone endures martyrdom or sacrifice, they are immortalized in the memories of their admirers and peers. Michael Deane was unfortunately slain in Cairo on Wednesday, but he is survived by his family and Sky News colleagues.
Deane was a cameraman for Sky News and investigating the civil unrest in Cairo with his colleagues. While inside the Rabaa al-Adawiya Camp, an unknown assailant opened fire and murdered Deane. He was handling his camera when the assailant surprised him and his colleagues, assaulting innocent people. He is described as an incredible journalist, remarkable cameraman, loving husband, devoted father, and a wonderful person by his family and friends. This is horrible — why would you kill someone who has nothing to do with this conflict? It always causes pain and casts you as a monster who only knows violence and destruction.
Although journalists take great pride in their work, they suffer considerable harm in the process. Thus, journalists should conduct their work in secure, isolated areas instead of public areas where vulnerability and danger are extremely high. This way, they can accomplish their mission without necessarily knocking at death's door.
Entering the lion's den, Deane was fully aware of the dangers in covering the anarchy in Cairo. I commend Deane for his bravery and zealous dedication, but can't help but think that this situation could have gone differently. If the investigation was conducted in a different location, away from the epicenter of the crisis, then Deane's life would not have been jeopardized. Many people were shocked by Deane's death and offered kind words, including CNN anchor Jim Clancy.
"Mick was so much more than a cameraman and video editor, he was an extremely active journalist who contributed to every aspect of our coverage," said Clancy. Deane and Clancy worked together and covered the 1982 Lebanon War, forming a lasting friendship. Clancy stated that Deane's death has left him and his loved ones heartbroken. However, Deane is not the only journalist to have suffered while pursuing the truth behind a situation.
Other journalists have followed in the same footsteps as Deane: investigating a dangerous situation and dying in the process. Asmaa Waguih from Reuters and Habiba Abdel Aziz from Xpress were also victims of the crisis in Cairo. Waguih, a photojournalist, was wounded by a stray bullet while covering the clash between Morsi enthusiasts and opponents. She was admitted into a hospital and is still recuperating from this assault. Aziz, a journalist, experienced a more terrible fate than Waguih. Upon entering the fray and participating in the Morsi demonstrations, Aziz was slain by assailants who oppose Morsi and his followers. The worst part is that she was not even working; rather, she was exercising her beliefs and supporting Morsi.
The former incident was avoidable because Waguih could have covered the crisis in a safe location, asking civilians for their outlooks. I think a location with as minimal violence as possible would have been the best solution. As for Aziz, the circumstances are different because she was off-duty and participating in the Morsi demonstrations. Thus, she was fully aware of the danger and probably prepared for the consequences. Nonetheless, these tragic incidents should force journalists to rethink their methods of obtaining information about any crisis, especially something like the Egyptian revolution.
I understand the importance of enlightening the world about sociopolitical issues, but journalists should consider their safety as equally important as their story. Although they were complete disasters, I think these deaths serve as a warning to all journalists: the pursuit of truth is an admirable quality, but taking precautions and considering safety are even greater qualities. Therefore, you live to see the truth read and learned by others.