November 22, 2013
Editor looks to war-time journalismA typical editorial from a senior at Susquehanna usually involves eagerness, nostalgia and a hint of fear. Being on the Crusader's editorial board for three years meant that, one day, I would have to sit in front of my computer and type exactly what it is that I am typing now.
The realizations I have made in my undergraduate study have led me to a life goal: to document and deliver war, conflict and social activism through photography. I often spend long nights letting the glow of my laptop sinks my eyes while I constantly scroll and click through photographs from Syria, Egypt, India or the Philippines.
These images, which I constantly sort through and catalog, are the foundation for my path.
When I describe my hopes for after graduation to my family or classmates, I have found that a slightly turned head often follows my explanation. Constantly learning more about what I wish to achieve also comes with a label: "Warning: Danger Ahead."
Every so often, news will reach our televisions of a journalist who had been killed or kidnapped. Preparing for a potentially dangerous profession means preparing as much as I can while I am still studying.
This leads to the main purpose for my editorial. When a soldier leaves for war, he or she leaves behind a document. It is a source of explanation, apology or testament to who they were if the unthinkable were to happen. As a way to compound my preparation, I have drafted such a letter. While some may see this is as peculiar, this process has been humbling for me, and I would love to share it with you.
It is with the upmost sincerity I regret that you are having to read this now. I have no idea my age, whereabouts, title or past, but I hope this message has reached you well, just as I hope to soon enough.
There are certain men and women throughout history who have died in the midst of taking a proactive role in exactly what they love the most.
Some of those people were never in harm's way, and others placed themselves there in order to answer their destiny.
I realized, a long time ago, that there are people in our world who live and there are those who suffer.
There are people everywhere whose lives and families are torn away from them, who suffer great pain and desperation. All that these people hope for is to be seen and heard.
I hope that I have accomplished what I have set out to do. I hope that whoever is reading this can be proud of me and the work I have left behind.
There were men and women I idolized in my studies for doing exactly what I have died doing; I hope I have done them justice.
I did my best with what I have, and without my family none of my dreams would have been possible. Thank you for everything. My path was different and one less traveled, but I can almost assure you it was the time of my life. Allow the photographs I have captured to be the testimony of my years in this world; they were beautiful ones.
I have, at this point in my life, only a few words to leave behind to you, the reader. Always hope for more hope. You can build anything with only your own heart, head and hands. I may be gone, but I have lived every day by these words. Mom, you raised a son who found his worth behind a camera and gave him the strength to build his own life.
There was a time, I hope many years ago, when I was studying abroad in Ghana and threw my camera pack in the back of a taxi shortly after the new president was elected. The streets were in absolute bedlam with celebration and masses of people. As he weaved in and out of crowds and rioters, the driver turned and asked me if I was some sort of journalist.
All I did was smile. "Yes. Yes I am."
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