- 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.