It is a sad and heartbreaking night.

Restrepo director and photojournalist, Tim Hetherington, age 41, was killed in Libya.  Killed while doing his job to show us — those of us safe at home — the grit of what really goes on in countries at war.  Who else among us would (or could) do this job?

I’m not naive.  I know, as we all know, that this is the risk taken.  But goddammit.  Tim was, he really was, special.  Last year I read Sebastian Junger’s WAR (blog post here) and appreciated his and Tim’s brave, in-your-face, realistic portrayal of our war in Afghanistan.  Of course, this portrayal was not without criticism.  This Guernica  interview talks about the difficulties of publishing this kind of work.

Much of what I’ve learned these last few years about the up-close (dis)organization and snafu-dom of modern war, I’ve learned from Sebastian’s words and Tim’s photos and film.  Their art, their courage, is exactly that thing that’s desperately needed and so rarely done.  Tonight I thank Tim Hetherington for his dedication, for his portraits and film, and for his selfless commitment to reporting on the controversial wars that plague us.  Because of Tim I feel like I understand.  May his family be at peace.