I remember being ten years old when I was first confronted with photographs from the Kosovan war. Ever since then, I feel as if images and representations of war have had a profound effect on my life. More than anything, I found myself desperate to understand how the acts of seemingly arbitrary and senseless violence could be explained, and how it might be possible to find an explanation for them. Recent events around the world continually bring me back to the experience of these images, and to the need to write about them. Most importantly, these events remind of the need to discuss the effects of war on the poor and the people who, as they are least equipped to protect themselves, often find that they suffer the most.
It was clear to me that I should use a strong and striking photograph for the opening of my paper. I felt that the image “The soldier with the injured girl” grabs the readers attention and sets the tone of the paper in general, while also provoking questions within the mind of the reader. Alongside this, I felt as if the photograph which showed the word “Poor” written in red color exemplified the suffering of poor people in conditions of war; something that would prepare the reader to engage with the most important issue in the paper.
While conducting research intended to make my argument well-founded, and therefore as convincing as possible, I came to the descision that I should present examples of war from different historical periods. While presenting such images would give the paper a broad scope, it would also show that the way that those in poverty experience war has been similar throughout history, and that it has not changed. As well as showing that the suffering caused by war is a historical constant, I was also concerned to show the way in which war involves the exploitation of the weak by the powerful. Photo two, “Victims of famine gather for food during Somalia’s civil war” reinforces how major world powers are exploiting poor nations and creating dire conditions for people who already live lives dominated by scarcity. I felt as if the picture would contain both a political and human message, as it showed a woman surrounded by barely dressed children; something which speaks of poverty and desperation, but also of a sense of love and the desire to protect others.
With the fourth photo “UN logo presumably “For Sale” to those with more money” I aimed to highlight the hypocrisy of the institutions who neglect their responsibility to those who suffer in war. This is an effect that I aimed to combine with further pictures of the human cost of war, exemplified in photo five: “A father escaping with his family from a war.” This picture brings the viewer back to the focus on the experiencess of the poor within war, and also serves to emphasize the inability of organizations such as the UN to help those who are most in need.
Overall, I feel as if my descision to present the project as paper with images came about as I wished those who experienced the project to take an active role. Had I produced an audio recording or a video, then I may have encouraged viewers and listeners to take a passive role. However, by encouraging a reader to actively engage in the text and to combine their experience of the pictures with the text, I feel that I have made a more memorable experience for the reader. Given this, my hope for the work is that those who view it will have a better understanding of the effects of war on the most vulnerable people in the world, and that they will, in turn, understand the responsibility that this places on all people to provide meaningful help to those who need it.