In 1993, Photojournalist Dan Eldon, along with his colleagues, Hansi Krauss, Anthony Macharia, and Hos Maina were stoned to death in Somalia while covering the civil war there. He was 22 years old.
Dan was born in London in 1970, to an English father and an American mother. When he was seven, the family moved to Africa, obviously quite a life-changing experience. He began keeping journals of his experiences when he was 15, kind of a foresight of his wanderings and journalistic future. Dan lived in Kenya throughout his high school years, and became quite fond of and close to the Masai, spending much time with a Masai family who lived near the Great Rift Valley.
After high school, his nomadic nature intact, Dan headed for New York City. He spent the summer there working as a graphic artist for Mademoiselle Magazine, but afterwards he headed home, to Kenya. Here he began to explore Africa, keeping his journal posted with collages, photographs, clippings, drawings, etc. In 1989, either in his old jeep or hitchhiking, he ventured through Zimbabwe and South Africa while photographing it all.
Next, Dan was off to California, and a stint at Pasadena Community College. It was there, that he and fellow students started a mission of goodwill, which would raise $20,000 and enable them to travel back to a refugee camp outside of Nairobi where the donations were contributed. And again, Dan was off. This time, between various trips to the US, where he attended UCLA and Cornell and then to London for some schooling at Richmond College. In the interim, he managed to visit Japan, Germany, Morocco and Uganda. He even found time to work as an Assistant Director on the film "Lost in Africa", being shot in Kenya.
After another trip for classes at UCLA, Dan and a family friend went to Northern Kenya, where the friend was photographing refugees from the civil war in Somalia. Disheartened and appalled, Dan also photographed the scenes, which were soon published in a Kenya newspaper, The Nation. In July of 1992, he began to work as a stringer for both Reuters and The Nation. Excited to be there, but devastated by what he saw, Dan was relieved when the US began "Operation Restore Hope" in order to relieve the horrible famine there. But as we know, things only got worse and very chaotic, but Dan was now one of the top photographers there and was being published by major papers and magazines around the world. He could only hope this publicity could soon help the people involved in this human travesty.
About to take a break, on July 12, 1993, Dan responded to another tragedy, when UN forces accidently bombed a house containing innocent men, women, and children, killing 74. With the protection of the Somalis, Dan , traveling in a convoy, went to record the devastation. As chaotic as anything before, the crowd "erupted in anger", and attacked Dan and his colleagues. They were "surrounded, stoned, and beaten to death." Dan Eldon died on a dusty side street in Mogadishu, along with three other journalists.
Dan's journals have been published as "The Journey is the Destination" by Chronicle Books in 1997, and in 1998, a documentary was produced entitled "Dying to Tell the Story", which focused on journalists who have lost their lives in an effort to "cover the story."