Not laughing at clouds


Remi Ochlik, a French photojournalist, was killed in Syria on Feb. 22, 2012.

BBC radio hosts are known for their plummy tones and unflappability. So the silence and emotion that occurred at the end of the Sunday morning news on Radio 4 made news itself.

Paddy O’Connell, who as a Wall Street reporter covered 9/11, was barely able to deliver the weather forecast (“cloudy across the entire UK; sunny spells are possible almost anywhere”) after listening to a poem in tribute to Remi Ochlik, a French photographer who was killed in Homs while covering the war in Syria a year ago.

Ochlik (pronounced osh-leek) was only 28 when he and American journalist Marie Colvin lost their lives in the shelling of a makeshift, opposition media center in the restive western city. But he already had been recognized by his peers, winning the prestigious World Press Photo’s first prize in general news for his image of a Libyan rebel in repose during the uprising against Muammar Gadhafi.

Ochlik’s girlfriend, Emilie Blachere who writes for the French magazine Paris Match, composed a paean to her “angel,” saying that her love made her strong. She consoles herself by watching a favorite movie of his, and closed the love letter with Arthur Freed’s lyrics:

I’m singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feelin’
I’m happy again
I’m laughing at clouds
So dark up above   …