Images of war.

Dubrovnik Travel Blog

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12-year-old child soldier in Uganda. Photo by Alixandra Fazzina.

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).
The Revolutionary United Front (in Sierra Leone) chopped off this young girl's hand. Photo by Franco Pagetti.
It was tucked into one of those small alleyways off the main street. The gallery was small, and full of people examining the latest exhibit, called Child Soldier. The photos and captions told a horrible tale of armed children in hopeless lives. Here is the exhibit synopsis:

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.
A female Maoist rebel in Nepal. Photo by Yannis Kontos.


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.


 
Aquedita says:
I usually get really depressed every year after seeing Word Press Photo awarded photos. The world is a bad place and people just ain't no good :(
Posted on: Aug 24, 2008
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12-year-old child soldier in Ugand…
12-year-old child soldier in Ugan…
The Revolutionary United Front (in…
The Revolutionary United Front (i…
A female Maoist rebel in Nepal. Ph…
A female Maoist rebel in Nepal. P…
Pictures displayed at War Photo Li…
Pictures displayed at War Photo L…
The Child Soldier exhibit at War P…
The Child Soldier exhibit at War …
Waiting in line to park in Dubrovn…
Waiting in line to park in Dubrov…
Stairs down to Dubrovnik.
Stairs down to Dubrovnik.
With our lunch. Pizza, again.
With our lunch. Pizza, again.
Our last look at Dubronik. We leav…
Our last look at Dubronik. We lea…
Dubrovnik
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