Tag Archives: Journalists

Open Up Post-Combat Offerings to Private Military Contractors


Contractors –some veterans, some not, journalists, and their families go through war too. And often,post-combat programs in sports, outdoor recreation, the arts and counseling, are geared solely to veterans.

I’d like to suggest that organizations find a way to non-veterans others into their programs. Whether it’s a private military contractor or a journalist, each needs recovery and restoration from war.  This blog was started when we held the first WarRetreat for combat journalists (in Cambridge MA), after Tim Hetherington passed away. And what we read is that journalists might go in and out of war for decades, without having access to mental health services –especially since so many are freelancing now.  Similarly, Sebastian Junger found out that journalists don’t have training in first aid –nor are their medics in many of the places they cover. Hence, RISC was born.

While this won’t be popular –especially with those on the left, the staffing of war is complex, and it’s very much related to politics.  But I’m asking that organizations find space for contractors who fulfill roles traditionally held by the military, but are now being outsourced. It’s not whether we agree with policies -it’s putting service to others above the politics of war.

Tim Hetherington: Fundraiser for RISC, Help James Foley, and The Book

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 8.13.56 AMWe can’t begin to count the ways that Tim changed lives, including our efforts here. We don’t want this to sound like a post-eulogy, so we’ll cut right to the point.

As a way to mark the two year passing of Tim and Chris Hondros, we’re raising money for RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues).  This is the effort started by Sebastian Junger after Tim died of acute blood loss after and injury to his femoral artery while covering the war in Libya. Donate Here. If everyone who reads this would give the cost of a cup of coffee and a bagel, that would help a lot. Or heck, a boat load of money. Jillian, Chris and I are going to bug people all week long on twitter and FB. Please help us by telling all your friends.

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 8.28.23 AMRISC is a multi-day course, which instructs journalists in advanced life-saving skills. Photos of the first and second year course can be found at the Bronx Documentary Center page. A course is coming up June 18-21 in NYC, with others in London and Beirut to be announced.

Why is this necessary?  Because journalists are going over with lots of heart and varying degrees of knowledge about conflict and war, but they don’t know how to apply a tourniquet because it isn’t taught in college. Increasing numbers are going over to chaotic and unsupported territories, with or without the support of news agencies, and unlike the embeds that marked both Afghanistan and Iraq –they are on their own. Donate here. 

images-1In addition, we’re asking you to sign the appeal to Free James Foley. Sign Here. From the Foley family:

“Unidentified gunmen kidnapped journalist James Foley in northwest Syria on Thanksgiving Day, November 22 2012.

 Jim is the oldest of five children. He has reported independently and objectively from the Middle East for the past five years. Prior to his work as a journalist, Jim helped empower disadvantaged individuals as a teacher and mentor assisting them in improving their lives.

The family appeals for the release of Jim unharmed.

The Foley Family  -Sign here

imagesAfter encouragement from my friend Greg Victor, who reviewed the book, and also a request from Tim’s beloved Idil, I’m reading, “Here I Am: The Story of Tim Hetherington, War Photographer” by Allan Huffman.

My response? I laugh, marvel, cry, and shake my head. I cannot put this book down, even while going through in detail what happened the fateful day he was killed. Tim was the real deal. He got it. He was so much more than anyone could have imagined, and our sorrow is that we never got to see him move on to the second act of his life. And so, as friends, we carry on his life and spirit with a multitude of projects, inspired by his creativity, passion and willingness to reach out and dialog with others. He was not a war photographer, he very much was the “image maker” he claimed.

In addition, if you haven’t seen Sebastian’s film (a tribute to his late friend), “Which Way Is The Front Line: The Life & Time of Tim Hetherington”  try to catch it on HBO, or whenever it becomes available to purchase or moves to Netflix. It’s excellent, and leaves you with the sense that there is much each of us can do in this world fueled by our desires and a willingness to go into the unknown through collaboration with others.

We’ll wrap it up with a video of the RISC training. Please donate and tell your friends. Give

One year later… All this because of Tim

Readers of this blog, and followers of us on WarRetreat on Facebook might not realize that it was started as a way to honor my friend, Tim Hetherington.

It’s been a year since he was killed while covering the war in Libya. I was lucky because so many people reached out to one another to give comfort to those of us who knew him. 
I’ve written a piece over at The Kitchen Dispatch, detailing what we’ve done in the year since Tim has been gone. We’ve pushed our own boundaries, met new people, made discoveries and have helped people we don’t even know.  Just so you know: WarRetreat is now a partner with all those organizations you see on the sidebar. Our reach goes pretty far these days.

Tim, I miss you. I always will. You’ll always be a part of what so many of us do. Here’s a photo of the current RISC training put together by Mike Kamber and Sebastian Junger, as well as Tim’s parents Judith and Alistair. Next year, I hope the war photographers’ retreat will be part of it too.