War photographers killed in Libyan war yesterday

In the horror that is happening in Libya, under the guise of UN Security Council-endorsed humanitarian intervention, there is no quick or easy end in sight.

In the past few days, Britain, France, and Italy have just decided to send military advisers to work with the rebels, and the U.S. has authorized $25m [million] for “non-lethal” aid to the rebels.

The situation is deteriorating. Reports from Libya are dire.

And, yesterday, two international war photographers — Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington — were killed in battles in the city of Misrata between Libyan rebels, and forces obeying orders from Libyan leader Muammar Qaddhafi.

Hetherington died of massive blood loss from a wound to his upper leg, and Hondros died from a severe head wound.

Via a Tweet by @dionnissenbaum this morning, we read this remembrance report on Hondros in The Wall Street Journal. Written by Dionne Searcey and Christopher Rhoads, it’s entitled “A War Photographer Who Stayed With His Subject”, and it says: “[Chris] Hondros believed in the impact that images can have and the importance of sticking with a subject. When the roving pack of war journalists was abandoning Iraq for more fresh conflicts elsewhere, he returned time and again believing that the war story there still deserved to be told regardless of how familiar the issues seemed”.

The article reports that “In March, shortly after returning from covering the Egyptian Revolution, Mr. Hondros said in an interview for a blog in the Chicago Tribune, how his deep experience in conflict zones has taught him when an assignment becomes too dangerous … ‘The instinct about what is and isn’t safe is indeed subtle’, he said. ‘And it’s difficult to convey in words sometimes how it affects your work. But after many years of conflict work one does get a honed sense of when a situation is too dangerous. There were many instances when I pulled out of a situation because some subtle cues tipped me off’. He continued, ‘Or, in the case of a fist-sized rock skimming past my temple during one of the rock fusillades not so subtle—I called it a day after that’. He was referring to the attacks, often with rocks, on photographers during the February protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square”.

The WSJ continues: “In the Tribune blog interview, he listed his tips for others covering such events: ‘Travel light. Eat breakfast. Be prepared for the unexpected. Guard and hide your images once you make them. Remember how quickly a benign situation can turn onerous’.”

The article notes: “In a grim reminder of the risks of their trade, Mr. Hondros Wednesday was hit by fire in the besieged city of Misrata while covering battles between rebels and Libyan government forces. He died after being seriously wounded … On Wednesday his photos from Misrata, taken hours before he was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, showed the typical stuff of war: bullets flying from rebel guns, fighters celebrating victories. But they also include a trademark image: a rebel fighter toting a large weapon that belies the apprehension on his face. His work from Misrata appeared on the front pages of several major newspapers Wednesday”.

This was after his death — and certainly also because of it…

The WSJ remembrance article is posted here.

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