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Tim Hetherington, 1970-2011: A Farewell (2)

True witnessing — and bearing witness — can’t happen at some secure remove from reality. They require the presence of the observer at the event, Goya’s “Yo lo vi (I saw this)” from “The Disasters of War” to give their testimony force. Tim Hetherington’s passing reminds us of the price all too often paid by others for our ability to engage vicariously with the cruelest events of our times, and of our obligation to honor those who thus serve in our stead. […]

Tim Hetherington, 1970-2011: A Farewell (1)

What I find hard to bear about Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger’s Afghan War film “Restrepo” is the utter pointlessness of what these young men were asked to do (and did), the squandering of their time and in some cases their very lives, the traumatic situation into which the military thrust them and whose psychic consequences they will bear for the rest of their days. They need make no apologies for their behavior, individually or collectively. But what has been done to them, and what they were asked to do, I consider unforgivable. […]