By Christiane Amanpour
Editor's note: CNN camerawoman Margaret Moth, who died of cancer Sunday in Rochester, Minnesota, was renowned for her gutsiness, striking appearance, distinctive humor and sense of fun. Barely surviving a sniper's bullet in Sarajevo in 1992, she battled back to continue working around the world, impressing all with her determination and attitude.
Margaret was a law and a life unto herself. Before I actually worked with her, I was quite intimidated by the idea of Margaret MOTH! The woman who had changed her name to that of a small plane, who even leapt out of them! The woman who wore black clothes and heavy black eye makeup, who was goth before it was cool. The woman, who I discovered under siege in Sarajevo, wore her heavy black boots to bed, just so she could be ready if the shelling started.
Bosnia, summer 1992, was my first assignment with Margaret, the latest in a string of distinguished women who changed my life on and off the road. She was wonderful, funny, hardworking, brave, tireless and fiercely private.
After a few weeks there, I had taken a break. I think it was July 14, I remember leaving her at the Sarajevo airport shooting a Bastille Day celebration day for the French UNPROFOR troops. I got on a plane to see my family. She didn't want to take a break, she wanted to stay on the next rotation. Three or four days after I left, she was shot in the face.
I remember flying off to the Mayo Clinic to visit her with Parisa Khosravi. I remember walking down the corridor to her room. Luckily, there was a picture of her on the door, because lying in bed, her face swollen and swathed in bandages, she was unrecognizable except for her hands. It's the only way I knew it was her. At some point that very day, I had to make a decision to go back to Sarajevo or not. The International Desk called me from Atlanta and asked whether I would go back. I looked at her in bed ... holding back tears. ... I quickly said yes into the telephone. I think I knew if I didn't say yes then, I might never go back.
She was remarkable. She came back to the battle zones as soon as she could. She endured all those endless surgeries, she had to learn to eat and drink and talk again. She had to endure people's embarrassed, curious stares. She got hepatitis C from the initial blood transfusion in Sarajevo that saved her life. And later, she got cancer, fought the good fight for longer than anyone could imagine, and died. Life battered and brutalized her, but she remained unbowed and happy. She was a survivor, a unique soul, and she bore all that came her way with a remarkable sense of calm and equanimity. She loved music, antiques and animals. She taught us so much about what it means to be a real person, the consummate professional.
She deserves to finally rest in peace. Now she can.