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Murder for Sale By: Phyllis Chesler
Chesler Chronicles - PajamasMedia | Wednesday, July 16, 2008

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 his photo.


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?”

Dr. Phyllis Chesler is the well known author of classic works, including the bestseller Women and Madness (1972) The New Anti-Semitism (2003) and The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom (2005). She has just published a new edition of Woman's Inhumanity to Woman (2009). She is an Emerita Professor of psychology and women's studies, the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969) and the National Women's Health Network (1976). Her website is www.phyllis-chesler.com.

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