As much as I admired Tim Hetherington, the photojournalist who bled to death Wednesday in Misrata, Libya, struck by a mortar, I also respect his confrere and comrade, Restrepo co-director Sebastian Junger, who is a fine writer. Check out this Vanity Fair tribute piece (below) he wrote to Hetherington. It made me cry, yet again.
In case you missed it, Hetherington’s 2010 short Diary is below. It has an Apocalypse Now feel to it. Which makes sense.
This Vanity Fair chunk is out of context, you’ll want to read the whole thing:
I’m in the truck with you. I’m imagining those last minutes. You’re on your back watching the tops of the buildings jolt by and the blue Mediterranean sky beyond them. I almost drowned once, and when I finally got back to the beach I was all alone and I just lay there watching the clouds go by. I’d never really thought about clouds before, but there they were, all for me, just glorious. Maybe you saw those clouds, too, but you weren’t out of it yet, and you probably knew it. I know what you were thinking: What a silly way to die. What a silly, selfish, ridiculous mistake to have made.
Don’t think that, brother. You had a very specific vision for your work and for your life, and that vision included your death. It didn’t have to, but that’s how it turned out. I’m so sorry, Tim. The conversation we could have had about this crazy stunt of yours! Christ, I would have yelled at you, but you know that. Getting mad was how we kept each other safe, how we kept the other from doing something stupid.
[Photo by Tim Hetherington.]