The world is a mess. The 13th anniversary of the scariest day of my generation is looming. We live in a time of multiple wars, a time when journalists die for, not religion, or patriotism, or family. They die for, and as a result of: their passion.
Their passion became their job, and they literally lose their head for it.
They are compelled to document, with their pen and camera, what is happening in a war-torn country worlds away from their own country, their own comfort zone. They are compelled to go to the most dangerous place a journalist can work, a place where their predecessors have already been kidnapped and killed, so they can witness and record the crisis of humanity that is happening in Syria.
Why? Why the risk of losing everything? Is it worth it, to capture the fleeting moments none of us would ever see if it wasn’t for their cameras? To capture the beauty and the horror of the world they have traveled to? Is it worth it to capture the truth of what is happening, separate from mainstream media (many of these journalists are free-lancers) and attempt to share it with the world?
To them, yes. And I get it. Though I am not a journalist. Yet I do share the same desire to scoop up a moment in time with my lens, hold onto it for eternity, and share it with anyone that will look. Behind the camera, nothing can touch me. My mind empties of all the stress of life, as I grasp at the images I see, and try and make it so you can see what I see.
I also share the journalist’s same drive to write, with the belief that writing is cleansing, and influential, and meaningful. It is effective, moving, motivating. Writing helps make sense of the non-sensical. Writing is a purification process, filtering facts and fantasy.
And I am free. Free to write. Free behind my camera. No fear of capture, beheading, or death at the hands of a terrorist.
Yet so many times, I find I censor myself for fear of what others think! Let’s put this on an imaginary scale. The fear of death, as compared to the fear of what others think. Which do you think should be heavier?
So for all the men and women who have died too early, before they had written all they had to write, persecuted for the truth of their words and photographs, I say this:
Thank you. You amaze and inspire me to write as long as I am alive. To appreciate every moment behind the lens. Your death reminds me to not take for granted our days, to not waste an hour, to never silence ourselves. To not let anyone else silence us. To be courageous when faced with something as horrific as a terrorist, or as seemingly small as a naysayer.
So go forth, pursue your passion like it’s your last day on earth.