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re: Globe and Mail Front Page Horror, Letters to the Editor

From Neil Balan.

The Saturday edition from September 10 displayed a near full page photo of the results of events at Beslan in southern Russia; this Saturday’s edition, October 2, offered a chain of letters both supporting and chastizing the lead page image from Friday of a young boy, dead in his father’s arms in Iraq.

Following the assertion of one reader, looking at these images we may in fact lose a bit of our humanity. But we should not allow some imposed index of proper ‘decency’ to prevent and regulate their publication, as familiar and strange and difficult as they may be. Consenting that these images are de-humanizing is a sensible reaction; it is a reconciliation with the horror depicted. Refusing to provide and display these images is far more problematic in the context of the complicated and difficult series of events that falls under the banner of ‘Iraq’ .

Nakedness and death need to demand our pity, and need to be attended to by our privileged eyes.
I don’t like the picture either, but I acknowledge it has a statement to make and a story to tell, which we, in complicity and criticism, need to negotiate and address in order to hear, feel, and see events that are both beyond and internal to our lives. To not look - to not behold the most minimum witness - is disgraceful and callous.

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