Running Header: Genocide in a Photo Genocide in a Photo: An Essay Describing the Societal and Emotional Impacts of Photographs from the Civil War in Darfur Robert K. de la Rosa South Texas College Miss Laura Steinert ENGL 1302. WO6 September 18, 2008 Abstract Photos of the genocide and casualties of war from Dafur show the world the darker side of humanity. The particular photos inside this essay embody the hard life and murder that the citizens must face. Powerful and alarming, these pictures tell the world of a story that evokes an emotional and psychological reaction in its viewers.
Genocide in a Photo: An Essay Describing the Societal and Emotional Impacts of Photographs from the Civil War in Darfur Ever since cameras were first invented, people have been keenly interested in capturing photographs of real-life events. This interest is probably attributed the “can you believe this? ” factor, which occurs when somebody feels that he will need visual evidence when he tells a story of an event so the listener would believe him. Sometimes however, the reason for taking pictures is a much more important purpose.
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Photos of destruction all over the globe serve as an informative, unyielding reminder to those of us not having to suffer in a country where natural freedoms are nonexistent or issues of nationality could get one killed. This is what is happening in present day Darfur, and these pictures are constant reminders of what the people there are going through. Pictures of uncaring militiamen and villagers send an eerie message of what is happening in Dadur. These images have the power to send chills down one’s spine, and they truly place the viewer in a dangerous world where one can die at any time.
The citizens of Darfur are caught in a terrible civil war. It is a complicated scenario. It is happening because of what happened to the Darfur society that was organized by a set of laws, rules, and traditions which evolved over centuries (Adam, 2003). These laws were the foundation of a social system which regulated interaction and movement between different ethnic groups. When these laws where dissolved in 1972, “they were replaced with an administrative system that undermined the local authority (Adam, 2003). ” Www. Hillel. rg (2005) states the war, which risks inflicting irreparable damage on a delicate ethnic balance of seven million people who are uniformly Muslim, is actually multiple intertwined conflicts. One is between government-aligned forces and rebels; a second entails indiscriminate attacks of the government-sponsored Janjaweed militia on civilians; and a third involves a struggle among Darfur communities themselves. Its implications go far beyond Darfur’s borders. The war indirectly threatens the regimes in both Sudan and Chad and has the potential to inspire insurgencies in other parts of the country.
These pictures showing the brutality happening in Darfur evoke, in many, a sense of wrong doing and evil. Take a moment to notice how in both of these pictures the soldiers are walking around the skeleton as if nothing was there. This is because it is a common occurrence in Dafur. Their world is full of killing, discrimination, and rape. Why would it matter if they were walking next to another sun-bleached skeleton or even heard the screams of a woman being tortured or raped in a dwelling they were passing. The Janjaweed militias in Dafur are one of the main perpetrators of hate crimes and killings, yet they are sponsored by their government.
Their government is unethical in providing militias with money and weapons to fund terrorism on their own people. In every country in the world, violence and murder is illegal and punishable in a court of law, but the Janjaweed will possibly go forever unpunished for their crimes. The thousands of immoralities and illegal actions these pictures conjure in one’s mind will chill the core of our moral beings. Just by looking at these horrible photographs, people can almost feel the hatred and turmoil that rocks the small country of Dafur. The indifference that the men in the image show while walking past the bodies is symbolic of he struggle that continues no matter who perishes. The bodies that are on the floor most likely belonged to some villagers – as evidenced by their garments. They probably were just civilians, in no way related to the military, and were killed just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or maybe this was his home, and the Janjaweed militia just killed him in a raid or just because they can. If people in the United States get killed in the streets, one can bet that the government will be out looking for the person responsible for the death, but the people in Darfur have nobody to look after them.
They are always in danger of their live, and must worry for their family’s and children’s futures. That is not a very easy life to live, and these images show that to the world. The crimes that are being committed in Darfur are some of the most heinous acts that humanity can conceive. It is extremely illogical for the government and people over there to be eradicating one another. Letting their people suffer and starve is not conducive to a proper community. They should be setting up schools for kids and helping the needy people, or the people who have had their homes destroyed, to get back on their feet and start their lives out anew.
The least that they could do is let the people bury the dead instead of just walking by, probably while trying to find another victim, and pretending nothing is there. Since we do not see many dead people lying on the streets, the image of a dead body in the road seems very grotesque. It raises a feeling in one’s gut to think that somewhere out there someone’s mom or dad’s dead body is strewn across the desert with no one to pay attention to it but some vultures or other scavenging animals. These images have the power to instill the worries and troubles of entire races of people into the hearts of the viewers.
With pictures like these in the world, everyone will be reminded of the less fortunate and troubled people and they will hopefully take them into their hearts and keep them in their prayers. Even though these images are gruesome and disturbing, they hold a necessary place in the media and, god willing, will keep enlightening the world about the struggles of the one race ??? the human race. References Adam, G. (August 2003). Khartoum and crisis of Darfur. Retrieved September 14, 2008, from http://www. sudanstudies. org/panel6b. html. International Action Network on Small Arms (December 2006).
Image from Dafur. Retrieved September 14, 2008, from http://www. iansa. org/women/LetteronDarfur. htm. www. Hillel. org (May 2007). What’s happening in Dafur. Retrieved September 15, 2007, from http://www. hillel. org/tzedek/initiatives/whatshappening. htm. www. Theabsenteeballot. com (June 12, 2007). Picture from Dafur. Retrieved September 14, 2008, from http:// www. Theabsenteeballot. com/Front_page_06_13_07. html. www. Thinkquest. org (unknown date). Camera. Retrieved September 13, 2008, from http://library. thinkquest. org/16541/eng/learn/library/content/camera. htm.