Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On Tim, aid work and friends dying

Life is real time now.

The hubs calls out:
“come here! you have to read this”
I don’t pay attention. I’m tired. It’s been a long day, so he walks over to show me an SMS on his mobile which reads:
“sad news, Tim’s been killed in Libya”
... and then the silence. The kind that lingers. Disbelief.

We go to Google and soon the news start trickling in
“Breaking news: British journalist killed in Misrata, and two in critical condition”
No names, it could still be a misunderstanding. Maybe they got the names wrong. Someone else’s loss.
Critical condition is quickly becoming best case scenario.
A few hours later there is no doubt. It has been confirmed by his publisher, Vanity Fair, and the New Yorker has an obituary up.

This blog is about aid and the human side of aidwork, and this is a very real and human side of aid work. For the most part we are ok. For the most part we take calculated risks.
For the most part.
But there is death. Not just around us but amongst us.
Professor Biagi was shot by the red brigades while riding his bike on his way home. We had recently been in contact because I needed some some work references.
Hélène was shot in an ambush in Afghanistan, a few months before we’d had beers together in Brussels.
Ana Lena was murdered while exiting the hospital she had worked in for over fifteen years in the heart of Somalia. I’d met her shortly after she had been granted a prestigious prize for her work. My last flight out of the country was with her belongings which were being returned to her family. I still had a message from her in my inbox pending response.
My masseuse in Kenya, the guy we bought the car from….

And then there’s Tim.
I always thought it was funny that someone so tall should have such a short name.
He used to crash at our pad in New York back when he was still struggling. He'd give me feedback on my photos. Linger on, (and on) about his projects with passion.
I saw him last in London. He came to my parent’s house to meet my firstborn. He said he had started thinking about having kids, starting a family was the next step for him.
I had half jokingly been nagging him to give me a photograph and he’d brought one with him. It hangs in our living room, now crooked. It’s like half mast for photography.
So here’s to you Tim, may you get some well earned rest and see you on the next round.
The silence and disbelief linger....

In memoriam

go here to read ....more thoughts on tim


Marianne said...

the disbelief is all too familiar. i'm so sorry about your friend Tim.

sending you my sincere wishes for peace and healing at this time.

angelica said...

thanks marianne.

Soli said...

Very sad for your loss. All my love...