Today, while at work, Jonny Stranger showed me the WikiLinks Iraq video of a US military helicopter shooting a crowd of people on a street, presumably because they were all believed to be dangerous. Adding to the indescribably unfortunate nature of the whole thing, two of the people killed were journalists and two of the injured civilians were children in the front of a van coming to collect the bodies.
If you've been with me for a bit, you may remember that I'm a huge Dan Eldon fan from this post. Dan Eldon was also a photo journalist killed in Africa by an angry mob when he was twenty-four years old. In addition to images, he left behind volumes of art journals that visually depict his travels and experiences. I find him admirable and inspirational, and I always hope that my life can have an ounce of the meaning and beneficial impact that a life like his had.
My desire to have a positive impact on the world in some small way is one of the driving forces behind my decision to enter teaching and working with kids. That, and most of the time, I like kids, (most of the time - mine drive me insane sometimes - today I busted a dice-rolling-gambling circle, little twerps). My soft spot for children is why this picture moved me when I found it a few weeks ago.
One of the journalists killed in the attack shown on the WikiLinks video was only twenty-two years old, and was known for taking pictures that would break your heart in twelve mega-pixels.
The New York Times has an article about the video, and a special tribute to the twenty-four year old Reuter's photographer, Namir Noor-Eldeen.
It takes a special kind of guts to have the audacity to interfere on someone's tragedy with a telephoto lens, and do it so seamlessly that no interference is actually made, except for the one projected on the viewer of the picture, like us.
I'm in no way anti-military. I'm an army brat, I have family and friends in the military and in Iraq. But can we all agree that some things are just wrong?
And the final question is always... what do we do about it?