Room with a View|Jun 14, 2005 8:01 AM| by:

Veronica Guerin

[Veronica Guerin: movie cover]

Film: Veronica Guerin; Director: Joel Schumacher

Veronica Guerin is the story of an extraordinary journalist… or then perhaps it is the extraordinary story of an ordinary journalist. At times, it is difficult to know which.

Having worked as a journalist in other themes, Veronica, appalled at the rise of drug addiction, particularly so in children, in Ireland, switched onto crime journalism and decided to go whole hog into the exposure of the drug mafia. As is to be expected, she faced immense opposition at every step, but remained undeterred, sticking possibly to her convictions of ‘justice shall be delivered’ and ‘truth shall prevail’. Attacked time and again by those she pursued and deceived by the very sources whose words she relied upon, Veronica unknowingly had stepped into a world that could only get dirtier and darker. Scared, but unwilling to let down her guard, she did what she was best at doing – investigation and exposure. The Government, on the one hand, apprehensive of her rash and reckless journalism, on the other, knew that they could profit from her work and effort and clamp down at the right time.

But the right time never came during the lifetime of Veronica Guerin. And ironically enough, it came because of Veronica Guerin.

Veronica was murdered by those who she herself was gunning for, with the pen as her sword. Ruthlessly, mindlessly, shot at point blank range, as she waited at a traffic light, Veronica, at that moment would never have guessed how her murder would be the final trigger to the much needed change.

The people of Ireland, unable to digest this atrocity with nonchalance, took matters in their own hands, and sought to drive out the drug dealers on their own. Pushed to a corner, the drug mafia collapsed; some made an escape but forever under the fear of being caught, while others got what they deserved. The problem that Veronica had worked on so diligently, at the risk of her own and her family’s life, had maybe not come to an absolute end, but had certainly been resolved to a large extent.

Living in a country far away from hers, and having had no association directly or indirectly with her, I am still unable to hold back the tears. These are the same tears which fall in torrents, at times, when I see any film, or read any book or tales of acts of heroism. These people, who do these extraordinary acts of kindness and courage and sacrifice, at the cost of everything, are nothing but angels. Some may not even realize that their deeds and thoughts will have such far reaching consequences, and many like Veronica, don’t live long enough to see the fruits of their labour. But they themselves live on forever in the memories of those who have been affected by them and those who simply choose to remember them.

Veronica may not have anything to do with my life, but she triggered a change in the consciousness of the people of Ireland. She was able to conquer an aspect so evil in society that it doesn’t matter if it was a war won in a part of the world different to mine. We still do share the same world. Somehow, that is enough for me to forge a bond with Veronica Guerin. The tears are not for the unfairness of it all… they are a token from a heart overwhelmed with gratitude.

To all the Veronica’s of the world, in the past, present and future…

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  • uday

    Thanks for the article! I really liked this movie too. What an inspiration !