Thursday, October 04, 2007

Burma protest

If you're a photographer and have paid even the slightest sliver of attention to world events, you've no doubt heard of what is happening in Burma and most likely you've heard of or seen images of Kenji Nagai, 50, the Japanese photographer who was working for Tokyo-based video and photo agency APF News, that was allegedly shot and killed by Burmese troops cracking down on anti-government demonstrations in Rangoon.

And to a lesser extent you may have read something about the German photographer, and the stories of reporters meeting a similar fate.

Why is it that journalist have become the target in recent times? In Lebanon a new trend of kidnapping journalist emerged and since then, in one world conflict after another it seems that journalists are behind the cross hairs on both sides?

I don't really know what the answer is, it's just what I was thinking about before, during and after a recent assignment in which I was covering a silent protest lead by a local group of monks.

It was a strange assignment, not so much in what I was doing but what I was hearing.

Random folks along the path the protesters walked were making comments that weren't the most culturally sensitive or enlightened.

One of the lighter ones: "What is this, the Dharma inisitive?" Which was followed by laughter from a table on the patio at Starbucks.

That was one of the lighter ones.

But it reminded me that people like those at the table do still exist and stories like this one in the newspaper will hopefully inform some of them to what is really going on.

I felt what we always like to feel as photographers, that our images make a difference. Perhaps they will see the images and in their curiosity read the caption and then the story and the next time they see one of the monks or protesters walk by they might say: "I understand you."

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