In three years, my direct contact with death, through war, now tolls at three.
A young JTAC (Joint Terminal Air Controller – ie. Please drop that bomb here) I was introduced to by Hagar in the pub one night. We chatted a bit. I knew what a JTAC did because I had written about it in Immediate Response. He deployed to Afghanistan. Not long after he was killed. I was shocked by the news of his death. The instant extinguishing of life. Here today and then gone just like that.
The journalist Rupert Hamer, from The Mirror. I had been speaking to him quite regularly up until he was embedded in Afghanistan. We were both interested in whether a peaceful resolution could be achieved. Again, his death hit me hard. I barely knew him but he struck me as journalist who was looking for more than just a story that would sell papers. He had integrity. Maybe this is hard for many in the military to fathom but I was introduced to him by a serviceman because he trusted him. I was deeply saddened by his death.
Tim Hetherington. His death, a week today, and I still can’t quite get my head around it. I can’t imagine how his closest friends, loved ones and family are reconciling it. I feel like we have been robbed of a someone incredible. I know it was his time. It’s just that no-one was ready for him to go. War is a risky business and the business of war creates attrition. It can happen to you. We must never forget that. Everyone who knew him will mourn the loss and the gap that now exists in their lives. Death is a wound that heals but it leaves scars. His death has wounded many. For some it cuts deep and others it’s just a scratch. I will seize the creative freedom to which he aspired. We can but keep putting one foot in front of the other, and some must decide, once again, if they can walk in the Valley of Death. Unfortunately, there will always be wars for the intrepid to venture into.
My last email with Tim was three weeks ago. I knew that he was going to Libya. Deep down, I knew that he wouldn’t come back. I had stopped looking. He threw himself mind, body and soul into the promotion of Restrepo. We called it Planet Restrepo – he was like a dog with a bone. I watched the short film, Diary that he made and saw a man at a crossroads. I think he should have taken a holiday after Restrepo didn’t win the Oscar and the rollercoaster had drawn to a halt. He needed a break to transition into the next phase. When I learned that he had opted to go to Libya I knew he was a war chaser. It was his crack cocaine. I stopped looking. Just like when Hagar goes to war. I can’t look. Hagar deploys again soon. I hate war. I hate guns, weapons, bombs and destruction. But men need war. Rest in peace Tim. Be vigilant Hagar. To all of you war chasers, in the war business, regardless of how I personally feel, your work is valued and you are loved. Tread lightly.
But onwards and upwards. I can’t hide anymore. Life goes on and we must keep pushing forward while we still breathe.
I am in France opening up our French House – we still have weeks available if you fancy a holiday in France this summer:
Plus I have been invited back to be a Toys R Us Toyologist so more toy reviews, competitions and giveaways coming this summer.
Welcome to Review-land, a new place on the blog where I shall be reviewing all the products that PRs send me. Look out for the latest reviews on the right side of the blog – I have just uploaded some film reviews for your delectation.