promoting the unwanted, redheaded stepchild that is individual liberty

Graphic exhibit shows ‘cost of war’

In foreign policy, media, war and peace on October 27, 2009 at 11:51 pm

When I first beginning flipping through the digital images, I was fine. The pictures mostly showed explosions and damaged cars and buildings. But as I got deeper into the exhibit, the photos got more and more gruesome. By the end, I was squinting my eyes and forcing myself to finish.

The photographers who took the pictures are both Israeli and Palestinian. They captured images, not of some foreign war zone, but of the war zone that is their backyards.

I think it’s necessary that we, as Americans, often remind ourselves of the costs of war.

The other day while reading an online news story about the Sunday car bombings in Iraq, I was struck by the lack of “real” photos — or those that accurately displayed the damages to human life.

American journalism censors images deemed too graphic for the pubic for various reasons. The reason cited more often than not, is a respect for the victims and their families.

I’ve usually agreed with this stance; feeling that some things are just too private to share with the world. Callous journalism concerned only with getting the story is not something I hope to achieve as a student of journalism.

But lately I’ve felt more and more that Americans, being so safely removed from the violence, have an immature view of war. And while many of us have friends and family serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have not personally experienced the gruesome scenes as the soldiers have.

My point is not to belittle Americans or suggest they haven’t paid for the cost of these wars. Many have. But when all we hear in the news is statistics of dead soldiers and civilians and stories of car bombs and insurgent fighting, we can’t possibly grasp the death and destruction actually taking place. Our imaginations fail us.

Beware of the Cost of War is an exhibit displaying the works of both Palestinian and Israeli photojournalist on the front lines of their conflict. It went on display Friday in various London studios and will be on display until Thursday. However, for those limited by travel, the exhibit can be seen online here.

The online exhibit initially displays the images with no captions. Hopefully this way, viewers will see the images without taking a “side” or making distinctions in nationality and religion.

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  1. Jessica,

    No one, absolutely no one, understands and experiences depicted in the pictures more than military men and women. Recall the famous Patton speech about “putting your hands in the “goo” than moments before was your best friend’s face”.

    Why then are military men and women usually the strongest supporters of the use of military power? And I am not just talking about high ranking officers. You would be amazed to see the dedication and belief in what they are doing at the “troop” level, your brother notwithstanding. They certainly do not want to put their hands in “goo”.

    I wonder if you can find some good pictures of starving children when only economic sanctions are used as a tool of power in international relations?

    Anson

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