UPDATE 10.48am: THE White House has paid tribute to two photographers killed in a mortar attack in Libya overnight, commending the work of "brave" journalists.
A spokesman for President Barack Obama said the US would offer any necessary assistance to journalists also injured in the attack that killed the men.
Oscar-nominated director and photojournalist Tim Hetherington was killed when a group of journalists he was with came under mortar fire.
Chris Hondros, a New York-based photographer for Getty Images, survived the initial attack but succumbed to his injuries after being seriously wounded, according to Getty's director of photography, Pancho Bernasconi.
Two other journalists were believed to have been wounded in the attack.
Hetherington, 41, a British-born Vanity Fair photojournalist with dual US citizenship, was nominated for an Oscar this year with co-director Sebastian Junger for Restrepo, a documentary about US troops in Afghanistan.
Getty photographer Chris Hondros, 41, pictured here in Afghanistan, has died from his injuried following a mortar attack in Libya. Picture: AP/Getty Images Getty Images
Hondros, who was on assignment for Getty Images, was initially reported to have died in the attack. However, it was later reported that he had been revived by doctors and was in extremely critical condition and fighting for life.
He was confirmed dead this morning.
Hondros was 41 and had covered conflict zones since the late 1990s including Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
His work has appeared in major magazines and newspapers around the world.
His awards include World Press Photo honours and the Robert Capa Gold Medal, one of the highest prizes in war photography.
British journalist Guy Martin was also reported to be in grave condition after suffering shrapnel wounds while a fourth journalist - Michael Christopher Brown - suffered non-life threatening injuries.
News of the attack was first reported by Andre Liohn, a fellow photographer who announced the death of Hetherington and Hondros' injuries on his Facebook page.
"Sad news Tim Hetherington died in Misrata now when covering the front line. Chris Hondros is in a serious status."
Liohn, who claimed to be at the hospital in Misrata where the wounded were being treated, later reported on his feed that Hondros had died. The whole post was later deleted.
Vanity Fair, the magazine at which Hetherington worked as a contributing photographer, confirmed his death on its website.
"Tim Hetherington, photojournalist, filmmaker, and Vanity Fair contributing photographer, was killed today while covering the conflict in Libya," the magazine said on its website.
Photographer Tim Hetherington at the Restrepo outpost in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, during the filming of documentary 'Restrepo'. Hetherington has been killed in mortar fire in Misrata, Libya. Picture: AP AP
According to AFP, the group of journalists was hit by mortar fire on Tripoli Street, the main street in Misrata, which has been under siege for almost two months by troops loyal to Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Hetherington's website says that he was born in Liverpool, England, studied literature at Oxford University and was currently living in New York.
A Getty spokesman said the agency had been in touch with Hondros earlier in the day when he filed pictures.
Asked about the reports at a briefing overnight, US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said he had no information to share.
In his last tweet, sent on Tuesday, Hetherington wrote, "In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO."
The two deaths illustrated the grave dangers faced by journalists covering the ongoing turmoil in Libya, the White House said.
President Obama's press secretary Jay Carney said the White House was "saddened" by the news and was "deeply concerned" about the well-being of those reporting on events in the strife-torn North African state.
"Journalists across the globe risk their lives each day to keep us informed, demand accountability from world leaders, and give a voice to those who would not otherwise be heard," he said.
"The Libyan government and all governments across the world must take steps to protect journalists doing this vital work. The United States will work to do everything possible to assist those who were injured in getting the care they need. Our thoughts are with these brave journalists and their loved ones."
Some of their work - amazing!
Journalists to remain in Misrata despite Tim Hetherington's death
Reports continue from besieged Libyan city as colleagues pay tribute to photojournalist and fellow photographer Chris Hondros
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 21 April 2011 15.07 BST
Photojournalist Tim Hetherington was killed in the Libyan city of Misrata on Wednesday. Photograph: Reuters
Journalists from the BBC, Channel 4 News and other news organisations are to remain in Libya's rebel-held city of Misrata, despite an assault by pro-Gaddafi forces that led to deaths of photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros on Wednesday.
The Mediterranean port city has seen some of the fiercest fighting since the Arab spring uprising began in December, with rebel fighters holding out against troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi for seven weeks.
Hetherington and Hondros died and two other photographers were wounded when they came under fire while covering the fighting on Wednesday, among at least 15 civilians killed and more than 100 injured in Misrata in the last 24 hours.
Guy Martin, the British photographer who was critically injured in the same incident, was in a stable condition on Thursday. Martin, 28, was conscious and talking after undergoing eight hours of emergency surgery to repair shrapnel wounds to his abdomen overnight, his photo agency Panos told MediaGuardian.co.uk.
Friends and colleagues have paid tribute to Hetherington and Hondros. Jon Williams, the BBC's world news editor, grew up in the same coastal town as Hetherington, the Merseyside resort of Southport. He described him as a photographer "in the finest tradition of war reporting".
"What this shows is the importance of being there to document all of this – and, so far, the media has focused on Misrata in a way that has forced the international community to respond. That's what Tim and others were doing in Misrata," Williams said.
The port city is bordered in the north by the Mediterranean sea and has been besieged by government forces on all other sides. Like most other journalists in Misrata, Hetherington and Hondros had reached the city by sea from Benghazi.
"The ferocity of the assault and the fact that it's a city under siege inject even more complexity into what's been the most trying part of events in the Middle East so far," Williams said.
"The issue about Misrata is that there's limited ways out. We had a tough time in Alexandria and in Suez [during the Egyptian revolution], and in Syria where people have been arrested. But [Misrata] is a siege where you're surrounded on three sides by Gaddafi's forces and then by the sea. There's only a limited opportunity to achieve [getting out of Misrata] and that's added to the complications."
Jim Gray, the long-serving Channel 4 News editor, sent Hetherington on his first assignment as a cameraman in 2003. Hetherington was a "towering icon" of his industry, a man "right at the top of his game" who had a compassionate "humanitarian concern", Gray said.
"In Misrata, for weeks part of the story has been that we don't know what the story is – we've got dark suspicions, but we don't really know. It's only in the last week, with the arrival of Tim and other journalists, that there's a shape to the story emerging. You only find that out when people go and find out," he added.
"Misrata does bare some similarities to previous conflicts, but there's not many where you get such vicious, venomous fighting in an urban area, a location where there isn't a third-party like the UN or a western presence – that's non-existent here. It's forces loyal to the government and forces loyal to the rebels fighting in a built-up area – that's really really dangerous."
James Hider, the Times's experienced war correspondent, was in Misrata when Hetherington and Hondros were killed and filed an eyewitness account that was the paper's splash on Thursday. Richard Beeston, the Times's foreign editor, said on Thursday that Hider's own judgment is paramount to his safety.
"We stay in regular contact with James before, during and after he goes out reporting," he added. "He always works with other reporters and uses the services of a local fixer to guide him around Misrata. Ultimately, we have to rely on his judgment about risk assessment.
"Obviously he is free to pull out whenever he feels the situation has become too dangerous or he is exhausted. I have a long queue of reporters volunteering to take his place."
Four journalists have been killed covering the conflict in Libya since March. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented at least 49 detentions, three serious injuries, and 11 assaults on the media since the Libyan uprising began in January. About 10 journalists are thought to have died covering the Arab spring uprising this year.
Tim Hetherington obituary
An outstanding photojournalist and film-maker, he defined a generation of reportage
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 21 April 2011 19.53 BST
The photographer and film-maker Tim Hetherington, who has been killed at the age of 40 while covering the escalating violence in Misrata, Libya, was a leading light of his profession. The canon of work he bequeaths defines a generation of reportage.
His eye and ability for capturing on film some of the most disturbing events of the past decade was as relentless as it was unsurpassed. With a great sense of self-deprecation and humanity, Hetherington was driven repeatedly to explore the ragged, violent margins of society to bring back portraits of people profoundly affected by conflict.
Never an end in itself, for Hetherington the purpose of working in war was to understand better the lives of the civilians and soldiers caught up in it. Fundamentally a humanitarian, he worked not only for news organisations and magazines, but for human rights organisations, and undertook extensive projects for the US-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch.
In Misrata he wanted to record the plight of civilians. He died with them: an explosion on the town's mortally dangerous Tripoli highway – the frontline in the battle between forces loyal to the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and the rebels trying to unseat him – killed him and his friend, the US photographer Chris Hondros. At least eight other civilians were killed in fighting that day, a fact Hetherington would have been at pains to ensure was not forgotten.
Careful not to be pigeonholed as a photographer or a film-maker, Hetherington worked across different, mixed visual media. His interest lay in creating diverse forms of visual communication and his work ranged from multi-screen installations, to fly-poster exhibitions, to handheld device downloads. Known for his long-term documentary work, Tim lived and worked in west Africa for eight years, reporting on social and political issues worldwide.
As a film-maker, he worked as both a cameraman and as a director and producer. Liberia: An Uncivil War (2004), the first documentary he worked on – as an assistant producer and cameraman – was also his first experience of filming warfare. Surviving repeated firefights and close-quarter combat, Hetherington captured iconic images of the Liberian rebels fighting to overthrow then-President Charles Taylor. When a rebel commander threatened to execute a doctor tending to injured rebel soldiers, suspecting him of espionage, Hetherington put himself in front of the condemned man and pleaded for his life, physically grabbing the pistol from the incensed commander. On that occasion humanity prevailed, and the doctor's life was saved.
An assistant producer and cameraman on the BBC's Violent Coast series (2004), about west Africa, cameraman on The Devil Came On Horseback (2007), about attacks across the border with Chad by Sudanese militia, and a producer/director on Channel 4's Unreported World – Nigeria: Fire in the Delta (2006), he made his debut as director of a documentary feature film with Restrepo (2010) – a cinematic release made with his fellow director Sebastian Junger about a platoon of forward-deployed US soldiers over the course of a year in Afghanistan's isolated Korengal Valley.
At times almost constantly in combat, and deeply affected by his time in Afghanistan, Hetherington said of his experience there: "When I'm filming, I'm very focused … You don't really have time to start examining your emotions when you're in the middle of this kind of situation. You kind of push them to a deeper place in your mind and examine them later. But war is traumatic. I've seen a lot of traumatic things happen in the Korengal Valley when we were there … I was with people who got killed and that was a very sad and upsetting thing to go through."
Awarded the Rory Peck award for features (2008) and the grand jury prize at the 2010 Sundance film festival, Restrepo was subsequently nominated for an Academy award. The film gave an unprecedented insight into the lives of US soldiers fighting and dying on that war's least reported frontline. Originally conceived as a short news piece for ABC News Nightline, it ultimately served, perhaps more than any other film from Afghanistan, to create an enduring connection between the US public and the experience of the US soldier. His most recent film, Diary, is a highly personal experimental short currently playing at film festivals.
Born in Liverpool, into what he described as a "normal, working-class family", Hetherington moved around the country, attending both state and private schools – including Stonyhurst college, a Catholic boarding school run on Jesuit principles, near Clitheroe, in Lancashire, before going to Oxford. He graduated from Lady Margaret Hall in classics and English in 1992, broke. But then, in a final gift to her grandson and, inadvertently to the wider world, Hetherington's grandmother left him £5,000 in her will with which to escape Britain's economic recession and travel for two years in India, China and Tibet, feeding his curiosity for the lives of others in unfamiliar circumstances. Particularly impressed by Mount Kailash, the Himalayan peak in Tibet that has religious significance for several faiths, he went on to Dharamsala, in northern India, where he met the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan exiles. Though brought up as a Catholic, Hetherington developed a Buddhist sensibility: his friend Piers Dunn recalls that, without any specific sense of mission, he took a thoughtful, considered view of everything he saw.
Of his desire to become a photographer, Hetherington wrote: "I had the epiphany when I came back [from India] and realised I wanted to make images. I then worked for three to four years, going to night school in photography before eventually going back to college." Returning to full-time education under his own steam when he was 26 to study photojournalism at Cardiff (1996-97) paid off: he found immediate employment as a staff photographer with the Big Issue, the magazine produced for sale by London's homeless. Its editor Becky Gardiner was soon impressed by the way he captured a church service for blind-deaf people, conducted by signing into each other's hands.
The Snapshot page of the magazine showcased street-based photography: Hetherington and his colleague Lena Corner wandered round London, stopping people to ask them for their photo – for which Hetherington showed real flair. Corner recalls him talking endlessly about "imagery, technology and how he had managed to rig up some sort of screen or other contraption in his flat, in his eternal search for new ways to present his pictures. He was really ahead of his time. Back then, he recognised the power of the moving image as well as the still. I remember him telling me he simply couldn't understand photographers who didn't want to capture the things they were witness to without a movie camera as well." From the Big Issue he moved to the Independent as a regular freelance photographer.
Soon a member of the photographic agency Network, he joined a small, dedicated, group of photojournalists often reporting on the world's trouble spots. In 1999 he went to Liberia – his first assignment in Africa. By 2002, he had also worked in Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali and Sierra Leone – developing a project about young men and political conflict in west Africa. Awards followed – including World Press photo of the year 2007 for his portrait of an exhausted US soldier in Korengal while working on assignment for Vanity Fair.
His project Healing Sport was published as part of the group project Tales from a Globalizing World (2003). Long Story Bit By Bit: Liberia Retold (2009) narrates recent history by drawing on images and interviews made over a five-year period. Infidel (2010), about a group of US soldiers in Afghanistan, continued his career-long examination of young men and conflict.
His work with the Milton Margai school for the blind in Freetown, Sierra Leone, was very important to him, and he was fascinated by the possibilities of braille photos. He was also a member of the UN panel of experts on Liberia.
Hetherington had recently moved to Brooklyn, New York. He is survived by his partner, Idil Ibrahim; his siblings, Guy and Victoria; and his parents, Alistair and Judith. The troubled corners of the world into which he shed the light of his lens are brighter because of him; the work he leaves is a candle by which those who choose to look, might see.
• Timothy Alistair Hetherington, photographer and film-maker, born 5 December 1970; died 20 April 2011
Libya: Tim Hetherington's girlfriend pays tribute to 'Timinator'
The girlfriend of Tim Hetherington, the British photojournalist killed in Libya this week has paid tribute to her "Timinator".
Tim Hetherington and Idil Ibrahim at the Sundance Festival in 2010 Photo: GETTY
By Caroline Gammell 4:30PM BST 21 Apr 2011
Hetherington, 40, died on Wednesday in a mortar attack while covering events in the besieged city of Misurata.
Idil Ibrahim, his girlfriend, said she was "devastated" by his death. She wrote on Facebook: “Rest in peace Timinator. I love you.”
The Oscar-nominated journalist, who also made award-winning documentaries, died alongside Chris Hondros, an American photographer who worked for Getty.
Both his body, and that of Mr Hondros, a New York-based photographer for Getty Images, are being transported back from the besieged city of Misurata to Benghazi
Tyler Hicks, a New York Times photographer, said he had seen Mr Hetherington two weeks ago in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.
"I had my last lunch with him and he told me about the wonderful relationship he was in with this Somali woman and how he wanted to spend more time and slow down and make kids. It is a tremendous loss."
Born in Liverpool, Mr Hetherington was educated at Stonyhurst College, near Preston in Lancashire.
He went on to study at Oxford, before carving out a career reporting in countries such as Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Mr Hetherington wrote on Twitter the day before he died:
In besieged Libyan city of Misurata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of Nato.
Tributes have been left on Mr Hetherington's Facebook page, from journalists, soldiers and admirers of his work. One Platoon Sergeant wrote: "From one Soldier who looks through a scope, to another one who used a lens, THANK YOU! R.I.P Brother."
He won the World Press Photo of the Year 2007 and was Oscar nominated for his directorial film debut Restrepo, about a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan.
James Golston of ABC-TV News USA, who worked with Mr Hetherinton on Nightline, a documentary about the war in Afghanistan, described him as “one of the bravest photographers and filmmakers I have ever met”.
He said: "During his shooting for the Nightline specials he very seriously broke his leg on a night march out of a very isolated forward operating base that was under attack.
“He had the strength and character to walk for four hours through the night on his shattered ankle without complaint and under fire, enabling that whole team to reach safety.”
Mr Hetherington last year described some of his experiences in Afghanistan as “pretty traumatic events”.
He said: “The thing about the wars in Afghanistan, they've been known as the ghost wars, you know, because not often does one really see the enemy.”
By the time he died, he was based in New York and working for Vanity Fair.
Apr 21st 2011, 11:19 by J.D | LONDON
CHRIS HONDROS, an American photographer whose work has appeared in The Economist, has been killed in Libya. Mr Hondros was wounded in an attack by government forces in Misrata, a rebel-held city in western Libya that has withstood a bloody siege by Muammar Qaddafi's forces for two months. He died soon after. Tim Hetherington, a British photographer and documentary filmmaker, was also killed and two others were injured. They are the first Western jounalists to be killed in Libya. A cameraman from Al-Jazeera and a Libyan journalist were killed in fighting around Benghazi in March.
Mr Hondros had covered many conflicts, from Iraq to Liberia, Afghanistan to Sierre Leone, Kosovo to Kashmir, winning a clutch of awards for his work. In Egypt earlier this year he photographed the protests that led to the fall of Hosni Mubarak. One of those pictures appeared on the cover of The Economist.
Of his time in Iraq, Mr Hondros modestly said: "I went and covered what was in front of me, and did what I could to help people understand what was happening—even when I didn't really understand it myself." His photographs demonstrate how finely he did that.
A tragedy indeed carmen, that this struggle for a nations freedom from terror cannot be brought to a satisfactory close by the international peace organisations presenting a solid coalition is I believe a testimony to the struggle to control the region's oil reserves.
But more importantly our own 'Peace Envoy' Tony Blair is eminently conspicuous by his absence......
Tim Hetherington. R.I.P.
But more importantly our own 'Peace Envoy' Tony Blair is eminently conspicuous by his absence......
Tim Hetherington. R.I.P.
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This video of an interview Tim gave (about 1.5 hours long) is well worth listening to. Makes you realise the importance of capturing 'evidence' that these photojournalists do. Libya is just one "assignment" - a tragic human disaster, yes, but not the first and not the last (sadly).
Yes, where is Bliar????
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Read this in the papers today... very sad.
RIP Tim. x
RIP Tim. x
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Loved ones honor photogs' passion
By HANNAH RAPPLEYE, JESSICA SIMEONE and DAVID K. L I
Last Updated: 8:56 AM, April 22, 2011
Posted: 3:15 AM, April 22, 2011
Two renowned war photographers from Brooklyn died as they lived -- using their lenses and limitless passion to shine light on the world's darkest corners.
Tributes poured in for Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros a day after they were killed by mortars fired by Libyan strongman Moammar Khadafy's forces.
Hetherington's girlfriend, Idil Ibrahim, 31, yesterday was at his Williamsburg apartment, where she had the grim task of collecting his work for his family.
"He was the love of my life," Ibrahim told The Post, choking back tears.
"It's going to take me a lifetime to recover."
At Hondros' family home in North Carolina, his devastated mom, Inge, said his family had never thought of asking him to stop snapping away in the most dangerous parts of the world.
"I knew he loved what he did," she said.
"The only thing I could say to him was 'Be careful. It's not worth taking a picture and losing a life.' But that's what happened."
She ticked off the hellholes where her son had dodged danger.
"There were so many close calls -- Iraq, Sierra Leone, Liberia.
"I can't really say a particular incident," she said. "The bullets were always flying."
Hetherington, who held US and British citizenship, was driven to go where people cried out for help, a co-worker said.
"He definitely seemed compelled to go to these places and find the truth about what was going on," said Susan White, director of photography at Vanity Fair.
Hetherington, 40, never rested on his laurels, even after his Oscar nomination for "Restrepo," a documentary he directed about US soldiers in Afghanistan.
"He was so humble and modest despite all of his achievements," Ibrahim said. "But I take comfort in knowing he was doing what he loved."
Now loved ones are waiting for red tape to be cut so Hetherington and Hondros can come home.
Hondros, 41, caught the photography bug as a small child, his family said. But loved ones had no idea he'd get the itch to photograph war zones until he went to Kosovo in 1999 -- and even then, he kept his travels secret.
"He didn't want to tell us anything. It wasn't until the second or third time there [in Kosovo] that we found out," his mom said. "He didn't want to upset us. He didn't want us to worry."
Hondros, who shot for Getty Images, winning several awards, documented human suffering because he couldn't stand to see pain go unnoticed, a friend said.
"For Chris, it was all about capturing the emotion and bringing that to the surface," said Tucker Reed. "Sometimes, we feel so detached from that [foreign tragedy], but Chris was a real intellectual. He thought deeply about all those things."
Emma Daly, spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch, said Hetherington was so professional, not even gunfire could distract him.
Daly said she'll never forget video of Hetherington in Afghanistan, showing him in the middle of a firefight, oblivious to shots whizzing by, inches away.
"Just filming 'Restrepo' was extremely dangerous," she said.
"He didn't even notice a trace of [gun] fire that was going between him and a soldier next to him because he was so wrapped up in the moment."
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/loved_ones_honor_photogs_passion_6iqBaAXpCNFC9jEU01EfaJ#ixzz1KG9woDg7
Chris Hondros - a retrospective in pictures http://t.co/AK3JOCC via @guardian
NATIONAL SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2011
Bodies of journalists killed in Misurata flown to Malta
By KARL STAGNO-NAVARRA
Briton Tim Hetherington and US national Chris Hondoros were killed in Misurata
The bodies of two journalists killed in Misurata have been flown to Malta last night and will be separately flown to the US and the UK respectively.
The coffins carrying photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros who were killed by mortar shells in Tripoli Street, Misurata on Wednesday were brought to Malta by a special military flight operated by the US government.
UK national Tom Hetherington, an Oscar-nominated film director and war photographer, died on Wednesday while American Chris Hondros died from injuries on the following day. Hondoros had also been nominated for an Oscar for a documentary on the war in Afghanistan.
The US embassy and the British High Commission in Malta are coordinating the efforts to have the bodies sent to Hetherington and Hondoros families.
Ajdabiya honours fallen British photojournalist
By Sue Turton in
on April 22nd, 2011.
A staffer from Ajdabiya Hospital joined in the march to honour Hetherington [Sue Turton]
They didn’t name a street after Tim. Instead they chose the biggest square in Ajdabiya. If the rebels win this war, it will be forever known as Tim Hetherington Square.
He’s not alone. There’s a Sarkozy quarter too. But everyone still left in this devastated city now knows who Tim was, where he died and why he will always be remembered here.
This mild-mannered photojournalist made quite an impact on Dr Suleiman Refardi, the leading surgeon at Ajdabiya’s main hospital. Many journalists have visited him in the past month. It’s about the only place that stayed open whoever was in control of the streets.
Before the doctors and nurses left their posts to march to the square to commemorate it in Tim’s honour, the doctor remembered his professionalism: “Tim Hetherington was one of the people transmitting the light of truth. The camera of Tim Hetherington is as strong as any cannon on the front.”
“We have named the square after this hero and I now consider Tim as one of our martyrs.”
They then set off down Ajdabiya’s dusty empty streets followed by a convoy of ambulances, armed pick-ups and civilian cars with a deafening cacophony of gunfire, car horns, ambulance sirens and the song of the revolution blaring out through a megaphone.
There’s a flag flying in the square and a banner made out of a hospital sheet proclaiming its new name. They promise to make a metallic sign will be made and erected after the war.
I kept thinking what would Tim have made of all this. He’d probably have hated the fuss.
April 22, 2011, 2:41 PM
Service Held for Combat Photographers and Doctor Killed in Misurata
By C.J. CHIVERS
Bryan Denton for The New York Times
Sidney Kwiram, right, of Human Rights Watch, and Alexander Dziadosz of Reuters leave candles in a bouquet next to a pair of cameras placed in rememberance of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros at a small memorial service held by colleagues in Benghazi on Thursday.
This is an e-mail sent this morning from C.J. Chivers to the editors at Getty Images and Vanity Fair, describing events in Benghazi, Libya, since the remains of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros arrived at the Benghazi port Thursday night. Mr. Hetherington, the conflict photographer and director of the Afghan war documentary “Restrepo,” and Mr. Hondros, one of the top war photographers of his generation, were killed Wednesday in Misurata, Libya.
The editors of Getty Images and Vanity Fair shared this e-mail with the men’s families, who, after slight redaction (of e-mail addresses and of some internal discussion about with whom to share this) approved it for public release. Sebastian Junger has written a moving tribute to Mr. Hetherington, his co-director on “Restrepo,” for Vanity Fair.
Eddy Risch/European Pressphoto Agency
Tim Hetherington in 2008. Read Sebastian Junger’s remembrance of Mr. Hetherington on the Vanity Fair Web site.
Pancho, Hugh, David,
This morning the bodies of Chris and Tim, along with that of a Ukrainian doctor killed in Misurata the same day, were blessed in a small, private ceremony at the Benghazi Medical Center, where the three spent the night.
The ceremony was organized by the British consular office here, and attended by about eight people.
The blessing was administered by Sylvester Magro, the Bishop of Benghazi. Father Magro leads the Roman Catholic diocese of eastern Libya, a spiritual footprint remaining from the decades of Italian presence here.
The bishop was kind and soft-spoken, and clearly touched. He began by asking the Lord to, “Hear our prayers for these, our brothers, who you have called in peace.” His primary reading was a set of excerpts from the Gospel of John, Chapter 11, on the death and resurrection of Lazarus.
The lines I remember most from it were these:
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.”
Chris Hondros was killed Wednesday in Libya.
After the gospel reading, the bishop led the group in prayer and sprinkled the three with holy water.
We then went outside, where the Human Rights Watch representative present (who with Peter Bouckaert arranged Chris’s and Tim’s swift exit by sea from Misurata) picked flowers from the hospital grounds and passed them around.
We all took care to thank the attending diplomat for arranging all of this and for allowing us to be there. It’s worth noting here, even though I’m sure you all know this from your own bittersweet experiences these past days, how deeply Chris’s and Tim’s deaths have resonated among even those who did not know them. After the ceremony, the bishop and John (last name not given), one of the diplomat’s security escorts, lingered. They very much wanted to hear stories of the two, and how they had died, to provide some sense and meaning to the loss. Even among these men, no strangers to war, there were reddened eyes.
This was the second service for Chris and Tim since their arrival in Benghazi port last night. Shortly before midnight a candle-lit public event was held at one of the local hotels, and attended by 35 or 40 people, including Christopher Prentice, the UK envoy here, and Chris Stevens, the American envoy. After each attendee was handed a lit candle, both men were invited to speak, and they did. Mr. Prentice noted in particular the powerful words of condolences he has heard from Libyans, who see Chris and Tim as heroes.
There were also readings.
David, at your recommendation we opened with the inscription from Tim’s book: “For He Who Gives His Life Shall Always Be My Brother.” This, appropriately, allowed our friends to be the guides in. It also, in its way and perhaps more appropriately, had Tim and Chris shepherding us. Thank you for pointing us to it.
Next came a few more.
The first was from Gustave Mahler, 9th Symphony, 4th Movement. This was recommended via Stephanie Sinclair of the VII photo agency. Bryan Denton received an e-mail yesterday with a note saying Chris had sent this to her when she was grieving a family death. Marc Burleigh, from Agence France-Presse, read it in the sort of rich voice I wish I had. Marc had bunked with Tim and Chris on the sea passage to Misurata early in the week, and had come back to Benghazi with them on the Ionian Spirit.
Here is the selection of verse:
Often I think they’ve gone outside!
Soon they will get back home again!
The day is lovely! Don’t be anxious,
They’re only taking a long walk,
They’ve only gone out before us,
And will not long to come home again.
We’ll catch up with them on yonder heights
In the sunshine!
The day is fine on yonder heights!
After Marc sat down, Bryan read this from Plato:
The souls of people, on their way to Earth-life, pass through a room
full of lights; each takes a taper — often only a spark — to guide it in
the dim country of this world. But some souls, by rare fortune, are
detained longer — have time to grasp a handful of tapers, which they
weave into a torch. “These are the torch-bearers of humanity — its
poets, seers, and saints, who lead and lift the race out of darkness,
toward the light. They are the law-givers, the light-bringers,
way-showers, and truth-tellers, and without them humanity would lose
its way in the dark.
And then Chris Stevens, the U.S. envoy, gave a brief speech about Tim and Chris’s work, and discussed the need to respect and protect journalists. He ended with a reading from Isaiah, (25:6, 7-9), that Bryan had chosen in the afternoon.
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples. On
this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web
that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever. The
Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces; the reproach of his
people he will remove from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.
On that day it will be said: “Behold our God, to whom we looked to
save us! This is the LORD for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be
glad that he has saved us!”
We thought we were finished, and would light more candles, but a representative from the rebel government rose and asked to say a few words. I am half-deaf and he spoke softly, so I missed his name but will get it later. His words focused on the appreciation, even wonder, that many eastern Libyans feel that foreign journalists have come to live within another people’s struggle, and that people like Chris and Tim would give their lives to record what is happening here.
When he finished, the attendees gathered around the pair of cameras on the table and lit bouquets of candles.
Evan Hill of Al Jazeera wrote something of the ceremony. In a very brief update, I linked to it here.
As for next steps, Chris and Tim are in the good hands of the medical authorities here and their arrangements are being looked after by the diplomats. I sense that all of you have a strong sense of the schedule for bringing them home. So I will leave the logistics to others, and sign off.
If any of you have questions, Bryan and I are ready and happy to answer them. As for photos, AFP filed from the memorial last night. We have other images if you wish to see them.
On the matter of unfinished business, I will try to find more on the Ukrainian doctor. His name, we believe, taken from the small slip of paper that accompanied him as he was blessed, is Anatoly Nagaiko. We want to provide you more information of a man who died on the same day, in the same city, and was prayed over together along with two men you love.
With respect, and sorrow,
Thank you for these articles - so very sad.
Tim Hetherington Square.
Thank you for these articles - so very sad.
Tim Hetherington Square.
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Thank you for these articles - so very sad.
Tim Hetherington Square.
When you think of what the Libyans are going through - yet they find time to think of that. Very touching, I thought.
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