Lives of the Real Truth Tellers

 

In the horrible massacres of humanity it is hard to put a face on the unfathomable. When you read about death in the newspapers or see a report the issues do not often linger and influence your mind. But, as a 16 year old girl, seeing an image of teenage girls who were shot in their nice jeans and that’s it – they’re not going on, they’re just dead; it infuses perspective and reflection into my brain. “Dying To Tell The Story” shares the breathtaking and painstaking stories of photojournalists as Amy Eldon seeks the answers to questions about her brother, Dan’s, passion. These photojournalists risk their lives so that the world can feel, not just know, the sorrows drastically lost into the oblivion that can be the Western Culture.

This line of work, as much of a necessity and importance to the world, comes with much sacrifice. These sacrifices are prevalent in the documentary as many photojournalists stories are followed, while Amy goes on a journey to understand Dan, who was stoned to death while working in Somalia. Through her personal quest the viewer is able to delve deep into moral issues like

  1. How can a photojournalist witness these horrifying tragedies without offering direct help?
  2. Why work so hard if you die before seeing any real difference made?
  3. How do you convey to the public that a government has been dishonest and/or unjust?
  4. Why die to tell these stories?

 There are no real answers, just opinions. Through interviews with photojournalists and showing their work, the film explores these contradictions.

The photojournalists’ responsibility lies in the honor of these people who die at the hands of warlords. These journalists help the victims by bringing the despair home to every doorstep. To the homes of millionaires, those experiencing the similar tragedies, and politicians. Their job is to just produce one image that connects a girl sitting at home in LA to another teenager thousands of miles away sitting in a refugee camp. And this work is worth it because humanity has a broken link. Somewhere the connection has been lost. It is jobs like these that restore the connection. These photographs are important because they cannot lie. Under tough regimes or even democracies the whole truth can be obscured. Photojournalists embody truth tellers, activists, heroes, and liberators. The effects of these jobs are long-term, many die before even seeing a difference. They put themselves in grave danger, and sometimes never return.

Amy, in her journey, slowly starts to realize some of these truths and begin the process to healing. Unfortunately, some of the brightest, most important, and deep people get the shortest time on the planet, but what they did in their short times is remarkable. Dan Eldon is exactly one of those people. His character deeply influenced everyone he knew, from his family, to the people his journals and photographs have reached, and especially the people of Somalia where he was called the Mayor of Mogadishu. These photojournalists who risk their lives for those who have been served great injustice and to spread their stories, suffer themselves with these heavy problems and PTSD that linger after leaving a war-torn place. As “Dying To Tell The Story” illustrates, without photojournalists humanity would not see the inhumanity.

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