As Frontline reports, there were more civilian deaths between the intervall of 2007-2014 in Méxcio within its current domestic political context of the War On Drugs, than in the same period in officially declared international war zones Afghanistan and Irak taken together. Frontline, a public broadcast service (PBS) policital documentary series in the USA, pointed out this relationship by referencing a recent release of the Mexican government of numbers of deaths in their country.
Méxican political magazine Sin Embargo commented on this with a headline saying: The war is neither in Afghanistan nor in Irak, México has more deaths.
México has found itself in a constant and everyday battle against the organized crime for a long time. Various gangs and cartels conducting drug transfers, trade of persons, and fights over the regional dominance in the USA, México and great parts of Central and South America cause a climate of terror, fear, violence and oppression. While the comparisn of these numbers obviously doesn’t intend to ridicule the suffering and deaths in war states in the middle east, the fact that, without the same attention of media and press (even less in Europe!), what is happening in México has, for a long time, more than reached the proportions of an inner-country war, is more than alarming. Once more, it raises the quesiton where the interests of the people in charge lie, if this isn’t a proper issue to be taken care of.
The foto shows a fence on top of one of the border bridges connecting Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and El Paso, TX, leading over the Rio Bravo. Border regions are of high interests for the organized crime groups who are transfering drugs, weapons and people from or into the US.
Tl, dnr:According to Mexican governmental data, the number of civilian deaths during 2007-2014 in México has outreached the combined number of civilian deaths in officially declared international war zones Afghanistan and Irak.
„I learned one thing. Having a photographer in front of my camera, it is very different from shooting everyone else. Not standing still, doing himself. No. For professional bias, react and respond, using his weapon, his camera – he shoots back. In this case, it was not just me, fotographing. Two of us had a target.“
A few weeks ago I went to an Open Air Screening of The Salt Of The Earth, an excellent documentary on the life and work of Brasilian photographer and photojournalist Sebastião Salgado.
The movie depicts various phases of his career that he dedicated to various social, political and human topics (famine, migration, war). After having shot war photography for various decades, he found himself in a state of desperation and resignation. It was not until he began to concentrate on nature photography and capturing untouched, intact natural landscapes all over the world, that he found a new sense of purpose for his work. Since then, his most recent work intends to appeal to the world to protect these places (one example for this is his recent exhibition Genesis in c/o Berlin.
As if that wasn’t already enough of intensity, the movie was co-directed by German director Wim Wenders and Salgados son, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, who was present at the movie screening I attended. Even though it was never explicitly stated neither in his personal and candid introduction nor in the movie, I got the sense that this project was not only to pay tribute to his father. It seemed to be the project of a son in search of his father, the man that he (not least for his fathers job) never really knew. As Juliano Salgado says: “For me, there is Dad and there is Sebastião; the photographer and the guy at home,” (…) “I had a grudge and a problem with the guy at home, but I always admired the photographer.” (Source: http://okgazette.com/2015/05/06/famed-photographer-is-focus-of-sons-documentary/)
tl;dnr: Wim Wenders documentary The Salt Of The Earth does not only depict Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgados life and his career change from social war photography to environmental activism, but also hints at the consequences his job had concerning the relationship to his son and co-director Juliano.