Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bright bright light

A fellow journalist who was in the triage tent when they brought in Tim Hetherington said he was bleeding heavily from his leg and was very pale. They called it 15 minutes later. Perhaps this is disturbing, but I can't stop thinking about his handsome face, so pale.

He was so vibrant, earnest, and full of life. He was a warrior for warriors, striving to tell stories of those in the most remote corners of the world. The ones that most Westerners don't care about: Liberians. Child soldiers. Rebels. Filthy American soldiers. I am so thankful I got to attend one of his lectures on Veterans Day last fall, when he shared stories behind his frighteningly beautiful pictures from Liberia and Afghanistan. I think a little piece of me fell in love with him that day, it didn't hurt that he had a charming British accent, was over 6 feet tall, had striking eyes, and spent his days seeking out danger not as a killer but because he clearly loved other human beings.

Tim Hetherington did not have to repeatedly travel to the most dangerous valley in Afghanistan, just to be able to tell a story that wouldn't otherwise be heard. He didn't have to walk miles on a broken leg, so that the men he was with could get off the mountain safely. He didn't have to dodge bullets and RPGs, completely unarmed except for his hand held camera, just so that we could catch a glimmer of war from the comfort of our suburban sofas. He wanted us to understand. He wanted us to care.

We lost a light yesterday. A bright, bright light who strove to shine on the stories of the forgotten and the voiceless. I'm thinking of the men of the 173rd today, who shouldn't have had to lose yet another brother.

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