Journalism and celebrity have got a very bad press recently. We hear of corruption, of lack of morals, of greed, and of vanity. In many cases this is true.
But look a bit closer. Look under the radar and there are people going about life in a way that should serve as an inspiration to us all. They exist on that plain where many of us dare not venture. They fight every day to ensure that their idea of what is right is pursued. They make conscious decisions to follow their idealism and attempt as good a life as possible.
Tim Hetherington was one of those people.
I would guess that none of you have ever heard his name but read this and you will never be able to forget it. Tim Hetherington was one of the foremost documentary filmmakers and journalists of our time, winning the World Press Photo of the Year (2007), the best documentary prize at the Sundance film festival, and being Oscar-nominated, amongst many other awards.
Prizes and awards were not for Tim Hetherington though and his inspiration lies in the fact that he saw it as his duty to bear witness to the suffering in the world. To capture human emotion in its most raw form. To understand the beauty, the joy, the pain and the confusion of the human experience in all its varied and multifaceted complexity. He went to live in Liberia during the Civil War there; he lived in the most dangerous outpost of Afghanistan (the Korengal Valley) for 18 months with a platoon of American soldiers going out on patrol with them and living as they lived (watch his masterful film “Restrepo” to see the outcome of this); he made a home for himself in Libya in the middle of the troubles. He followed suffering, not for personal gain or some strange sadism, but because he believed in his duty and the power of his life to effect change in the world.
In 2011 he was killed by a mortar in Libya.
Just days after Hetherington’s death in Misrata, the Libyan city of Ajdabiya renamed its largest square after him. Anti-Gaddafi protesters also held a march to the newly renamed Tim Hetherington Square in his honour. “We have named the square after this hero and I now consider Tim as one of our martyrs,” Al Jazeera quoted a Libyan surgeon in the city as saying.
Discover more about him and I hope he serves to inspire you and remind you of the futile and mundane nature of our daily lives.
Just doin’ ma duty,
Old Bushel Britches x