ph_grid7_10907_38268This is a post about war.  On a blog about themed attractions.  This is not about some new war-themed simulator ride.  Nor is it about a returning soldier being reunited with his children at Shamu stadium.  This is about war.

As the News Editor for InPark Magazine, I recently posted a piece about new amusement parks under construction in Baghdad.  I did not report that the existing parks all have armed guards carrying automatic rifles.  And I did not report that on August 26, gunmen carrying pistols fitted with silencers stormed one of those parks, killing three of the guards. Nor did I report that on August 16, a car bomb exploded outside an amusement park in the Baghdad suburb of Zafaniya, killing 34 and wounding 57, mostly women and children.

When instability exists in a region, we get our news from the war correspondent.  One of the best known is Sebastian Junger.  Sebastian’s most famous work was his book The Perfect Storm, later made into a blockbuster film starring George Clooney and Mark Whalberg.  It was his other works, such has his book Fire, about dangerous jobs, and his dispatches from the Afghan front for Esquire, that made me a fan.

In 2010, following the suggestion of Lisa Truitt, President of National Geographic Cinema Ventures, I began a conversation with Sebastian about bringing Restrepo, the Oscar-nominated documentary he co-directed with Tim Hetherington, to the National Infantry Museum.  For a number of reasons, this never happened, but I was pleased to find out that Restrepo was shown at the Carmike cinema on post at Fort Benning, with Tim introducing the film and leading a question & answer session.

Tim is no longer with us.  He’s a victim of war.  Nor is the amazing Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times.  Eleven years after losing an eye to shrapnel in Sri Lanka, she was killed this past February along with French war photographer Remi Ochlik when the home they were using as a base in Syria was besieged by shells and rockets.

And so Sebastian Junger has a new mission.  A couple of days ago, I received the following message from him.  I share it here with you, encouraging you to realize as you read it  just how important war reporters are to our understanding of the world.  And I encourage you to pass it on:

My friends –

As you may know, I started a non-profit called Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues, which trains freelance journalists in battlefield medicine. I did this in reaction to the death of my good friend and colleague Tim Hetherington, who lost his life covering combat in the Libyan city of Misrata a year and a half ago. Please visit our website,, to find out more. We had our first very successful training session last April, and now we are raising money for the next several sessions.
RISC has been accepted to take Global Giving’s September Challenge, which means we have to raise $4,000 from 50 unique donors in 4 weeks, starting September 1, in order to secure a spot on the Global Giving website. That is just a first step in raising enough money to reach our near-term goal: training 125 freelance combat journalists by the end of 2013. EVEN FIFTY DOLLARS WILL HELP US TREMENDOUSLY.
Thank you so very much for your generosity on this.
Sebastian Junger