Washington D.C.- I gave a presentation today here in DC about my experiences, observations, and analysis of what I witnessed in Libya during a few harrowing weeks in March. I was sure to mention that a colleague of mine, Clare Gillis is currently hostage in Libya. According to USA Today, who she was writing for up until her capture by Qaddafist forces, she is still captive and her parents were in DC today trying to publicize the case of their missing daughter. I explained to the audience that in my view, Libya is the most dangerous spot on earth to be working as a journalist in 2011. The threat does not come from the rebels, but from the Qaddafists fighting them who have orders to capture (or in the case of the Al Jazeera cameraman kill) foreign journalists. I did not know either man terribly well but we are all part of the same milieu, those who constantly chase the flame. The way the world works now, I looked them both up on Linked In and I am connected to Hondros through 19 people and Hetherington through my friend’s wife. Crazy.
As the total news addict I am, today was complete anomaly in that I actually went an entire day without checking the news in large part because my blackberry does not get a signal in the Carnegie Endowment’s Root conference room. Then I find out at dinner that both Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington were killed by an RPG round covering Misruata today. I also mentioned the case of Michael Christopher Brown, a guy who had broken his SLR and was covering the war on his iphone who was shot clear through the calf in the first battle of Bin Jawad back in March (which when I talked to him on my last night outside our hotel, did not seem to have phased him). He was injured by shrapnel in the same incident but not seriously. That guy must have either the best or the worst luck in the world depending on one’s world view. It’s not only tragic but hard to believe. Another photographer, a young Briton named Guy Martin, was “critically injured” in the attack.