|Tim Hetherington in Libya.|
Among the ten civilians killed in Libya’s besieged rebel city of Misratya yesterday was Oscar nominated British filmmaker and photojournalist 41 year-old Tim Hetherington.
Along with American journalist Sebastian Junger, Hetherington was joint director of the film Restrepo (2010) a documentary that explores the year the two men spent in the dangerous Korengal Valley in Afghanistan embedded with a Platoon of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. The documentary starts with some amateur footage that shows a group of US soldiers before their deployment one of which is Juan Sebastian Restrepo. The base they set up in the Korengel Valley is named after this young lad when he is killed in action shortly after they arrive. The film follows their 15-month tour of duty.
Similar to the recent Ken Loach film Route Irish (2010) the documentary demonstrates how war affects the men that have the lead role: the soldiers. In interviews with the men on their return from duty they talk about their experiences with death and suffering and most poignant of all their deteriorating mental health. If the civilised world will send teenagers to fight in bloody and violent conflicts then how do we expect them to respond to the stress of combat, lack of sleep, substance abuse and the constant sight and threat of death. Are we storing up problems for the future!!
Documentary filmmakers like Hetherington make us question the right of nations like America and their lapdogs to carry out “legalised” mass murder of mainly civilians. Tim Hetherington R.I.P