By Leila Diab
Upon hearing the sad news of Helen Thomas’ departure from life on July 20, 2013, at the sprightly age of 92, this renowned American Arab journalist’s legacy will continue to seal the notoriety of trust and truth in reporting news events in the world, let alone her remarkable impact and role model persona that broke all barriers for women journalists.
Helen Thomas was born in Kentucky and raised in Detroit, Michigan to immigrants parents from Lebanon. She was also the first woman in American journalism to interview and report on U.S. Presidents from President John Kennedy to President Barack Obama. As the lead U.S. press core correspondent, with always a front row seat, for over 49 years, Helen Thomas was always well prepared and the first to ask timely questions relevant to major events confronting the United States home front and the world. And when all was said and done, Ms. Thomas would always reply, ‘Thank you Mr. President.”
Accordingly, as a significant bright beam to journalistic history, Helen Thomas traveled to China with President Nixon, as well as broke many news stories that uncovered the truth of deceptive government practices.
As a White House correspondent for 60 years, Ms. Thomas revealed the many disturbing truths and consequences of unjust power and crimes against humanity.
For example, Thomas uncovered the scenes behind the U.S. Government’s Watergate scandal. Never to fear the unknown, Ms. Thomas was well known for her tenacious questions to the then President George Bush, such as why is the U.S. Government in a war with Iraq when, quote unquote, “they haven’t done anything to America or us.” Ironically, the president would meander around the question by interjecting comments on Afghanistan. Helen Thomas’ response was, “I asked you about Iraq, not Afghanistan.”
Throughout her illustrious career as a journalist and humanitarian, she always felt the need to save humanity ad pave a brighter future for those in dire need of democracy, self-preservation and dignity with honor.
I personally, never met Helen Thomas, however, as a woman journalist, I was introduced to her journalistic skills and magnifying accomplishments through a Lebanese friend of mine. Since then, I followed Helen Thomas’s unique gift for reporting authenticated news events, and her role as the first woman to be President of the White House Correspondent Association.
Helen Thomas was never one to rescind unmitigated sparks of criticism for what she knew was the truth to perfect humanity. She was and still is in my heart and mind a journalist who opened the reality gates of trust and truth to save a nation and all of humanity.
Helen Thomas was and still is in my heart, a woman of all seasons who manifested a genuine, ethical and most astoundingly a worthy human persona for truth, thrust human dignity.
Helen Thomas will be remembered as a journalist for all reasons of righteousness and acclaimed human resolutions.
As journalist, I believe she stood her ground, and fought the fight to reveal the truth…to make this a better world for cultures and humanity. Helen Thomas, I venture to say, will continue to write her caring words of truth from heaven .RIP.
– Leila Diab is a freelance journalist, and a PR Media consultant based in the US. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.