Tim Hetherington

Sad to hear that Vanity Fair photojournalist Tim Hetherington has been killed in Misrata, Libya, along with fellow photographer Chris Hondros.

Tim’s short film Diary was featured on fromztoa back in January 2011. Recently he became well-known for the acclaimed film on Afghanistan, Restrepo, with Sebastian Junger.

Coincidentally, yesterday I looked at the obituary of Penny Tweedie – another committed and decent conflict photojournalist. The last paragraph struck me as odd, yet understandable – the obit writers seemed to imply that she committed suicide due to despair – perhaps not just at the lack of attention to her abilities and insight as she got older, but I believe the lack of change her work had made – the fact is, photography can’t change the world, otherwise the work of war photographers would long ago have shamed us into stopping man’s inhumanity to man.

Individuals much like Tim and Penny will continue to risk their lives to tell the stories we need to hear – but it seems that every single conflict returns the same result, the same images – nothing changes. Until we cease flicking through sunday supplements / channel hop / absorbing the party or religious line, and actually pay attention to what’s being communicated, war will never stop and the recorders’ work will continue to be in vain, simply another glossy spread in a murdoch magazine.

We all live under the same sky, there’s actually no need for conflict at all. We have everything we need on this planet, we don’t need aliens to come and rescue us. The evil in this world consists mostly of those humans in thrall to greed and power and dogma at the expense of their own citizens and neighbours. It’s not naive to say that, it really is that simple. Whatever NATO attempts to do in Libya, as in Afghanistan, and with the best of intentions, with informed and dedicated soldiers who do take their actions seriously to avoid civilian casualties, is bound to fail. You can’t be kind with violence.

If there is any use to facebook and twitter, then surely a global campaign to call a truce between all of us, everywhere, to just stop the murder, shouldn’t be too difficult?