Congratulations to My Pet Jawa
for asking the right questions about the AP photographer, Basmatullah
Naikzad, who just stood there and watched as the Taliban murdered two
women. But Naikzad did not just stand there–he also photographed the
murder and then made money and gained international credit when AP ran
Well, what else could he have done? Tried to stop the Taliban?
Refused to document it? Granted, some of our reactions might be
“prurient” but some reactions are sorrowful and righteously indignant.
I have always been queasy about watching someone’s death. (Read Wendy
Lesser’s excellent 1994 book Pictures At An Execution, about the lawsuit KQED brought in order to film a state execution live–a suit which was denied).
So: Palestinian and other terrorists have perfected the art of
faux-photography in the Middle East (think about the Al-Dura fake and
the movie showing a massacre in Jenin where none took place). We have
been innundated with photos of Palestinian-only or Muslim victims-only
on the West Bank and in Lebanon. Recently, a group of Israeli
photographers have contacted me about the Israeli authorities not
allowing them to photograph the Israeli victims of terrorist attacks.
Stay tuned for more about this.
Should photographers document the atrocities? Should they refuse to
do so? Will this refusal lead to fewer atrocities–or to even greater
license to commit more since no one will be “watching?”