Images of war.
Dubrovnik Travel Blog› entry 206 of 251 › view all entries
August 22nd, 2008 – by: cmgervais
Normally, I studiously avoid anything that could be construed as the least bit disturbing. I am squeamish. I shun movies with violence. I look away from road kill. I avoid hospitals. I don’t eat meat.
So it was a little out of character for me to seek out War Photo Limited, a Dubrovnik gallery displaying images of war. War is definitely “disturbing,” and I knew the photos there could be gruesome. But Steve was very interested to go, and since we have spent the last few weeks in places that have seen war fairly recently, it seemed very relevant. A visit really was in order, disturbing or not.
We couldn’t find the gallery during our first visit to Dubrovnik, but we had better luck today (after we sat in line for an hour waiting for parking).
There are an estimated 300,000 children in fighting forces around the world, many of whom have been forcibly recruited or abducted; they have suffered beatings and other forms of torture; and psychological damage resulting from being forced to kill others. Girl soldiers have suffered the additional humiliation of rape and sexual servitude, sometimes over periods of several years.
And that is what the photos showed. This exhibit wasn't so grisly, but as you can imagine, it was depressing as hell.
The upstairs showed more general "grown up" images of war, local and from Africa. Here is where things got really ugly. A nightmarish photo of a man triumphantly holding up a severed head will stay with me forever. These photos were absolutely horrific. You would never see these sorts of photos published in newspapers, and I am glad for that.
About half way through, I hit a sort of emotional overload. I just couldn’t look at any more, so I walked away and looked at a mundane catalog of books to help clear my mind. How can humans be so … inhumane? How can we do this to each other? I can’t begin to fathom the terror of living with constant fear and violence, and I once again thanked my lucky stars for the life I’ve been given.
It was with a sense of relief that I left that gallery and reentered my safe, lucky, happy life. I will never take it for granted.
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