Junger pays tribute to "Restrepo" friend Tim Hetherington

Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:00pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Filmmaker and writer Sebastian Junger on Thursday paid tribute to his "Restrepo" co-director and photojournalist Tim Hetherington, who was killed on Wednesday while working in Misrata, Libya.

Junger wrote a piece for VanityFair.com that was addressed directly to Hetherington and also praised his friend for all the "terrible, ugly stories" that he helped bring the world's attention to."

The two men worked together on Oscar-nominated 2010 Afghan war documentary "Restrepo".

"Tim, man, what can I say?" Junger began. "For the first few hours, the stories were confused enough that I could imagine maybe none of them were true, but they finally settled into one brief, brutal narrative: While covering rebel forces in the city of Misrata, Libya, you got hit by a piece of shrapnel and bled to death on the way to the clinic.

"You couldn't have known this, but your fellow photographer Chris Hondros would die later that evening. I'm picturing you in the back of a pickup truck with your three wounded colleagues. There are young men with bandannas on their heads and guns in their hands and everyone is screaming and the driver is jamming his overloaded vehicle through the destroyed streets of that city, trying to get you all to the clinic in time. He didn't."

Junger wrote that he'd never heard of Misrata prior to Hetherington's death, but he understood the pull of needing to visit a particular place and to be in the middle of events.

"You and I were always talking about risk because she was the beautiful woman we were both in love with, right?" Junger continued.

"The one who made us feel the most special, the most alive? We were always trying to have one more dance with her without paying the price. All those quiet, huddled conversations we had in Afghanistan: Where to walk on the patrols, what to do if the outpost gets overrun, what kind of body armor to wear. You were so smart about it, too -- so smart about it that I would actually tease you about being scared. Of course you were scared -- you were terrified. We both were. We were terrified and we were in love, and in the end, you were the one she chose."

Junger also argued that Hetherington's death wasn't in vain.   Continued...