1976 - Liban / Beyrouth : Massacre à la Quarentaine
World Press 1977 - © Françoise Demulder


Fifi - Françoise Demulder - her life is our life. She is who we are, and we are her. As in a collage or a patchwork, we have bits and pieces of time in common, we see the same landscapes, share the same pain and laughter. For those of us journalists who have grown up during the wars of the last thirty years, Françoise’s very existence is our connection, our home meeting place. She is the unifying link which brings us together, even though some of us are strangers to each other. She is the guardian of our community, where living people are preferred to the dead, the truth to making money, freedom to anything else.

A pioneer woman, she has juggled risks, gone beyond society’s rules disregarded check-points - without having to say a word, without theorizing, content to press down the click button. And always with her laugh, always on the fringe. And always faithful !

In a recent text, Robert Stevens, one of her photo editors at Time Magazine, recalls that during the Vietnam war Françoise took extraordinary pictures of death, of destruction and horror, pictures notable for their sheer power. The pictures of this lover of liberty are a mirror held out to America, an honest reflection of its horrors. Along with pictures taken by a few other free-lance photographers, her photographs helped to pave the way for the end of the war.

Françoise never fully returned from Vietnam nor from Cambodia which followed. They become her identity, even during the ten year period when Lebanon, South East Asia’s successor in horror, became her land of transit. It was in Lebanon in 1976, in the Quarantineâ district, that she took an emblematic picture: of Palestinians fleeing barbarity. By fixing this living fresco, the sober Fifi felt that she was able to record a piece of history. For this picture she was awarded the World Press, the first woman to achieve this distinction.

In a Paris hospital since last October, Françoise continues to fight. This time her own survival is at stake. She has only two source of support in this uncertain and thoughtless world: your friendship, and, if you can afford it, your financial support which is the muscle she needs for this war.