iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism, war

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (167): They Look Like Another Shipment of Cannon Fodder

One hundred years ago today saw the start of World War 1, perhaps the first industrial war. Here’s a striking image from Flanders in 1917:

Another Shipment of Cannon Fodder. WW1 in Flanders

British troops from the 112 Railway Operating Company (ROC), in 1917

Another striking image from the same year:

Flares or perhaps mortars used in trench warfare. Photo taken by an official British photographer during WWI, 1917

Flares or perhaps mortars used in trench warfare. Photo taken by an official British photographer during WWI, 1917

More iconic images of human rights violations.

Standard
iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (166): Death in Gaza

A few days ago, civilians rush to help after rockets exploded on a beach in Gaza City. Four boys died. Photo by Tyler Hicks

A few days ago, civilians rushed to help after rockets exploded on a beach in Gaza City. Four boys died. Photo by Tyler Hicks

(source)

Here is Israeli artist Amir Schiby commemorating the Israeli killing of four Palestinian children playing on a beach in Gaza:

four-boys-on-a-gaza-beach

Just a few days after the event:

@paulmasonnews: Just met these kids swimming where 4 boys killed by Israeli drone several days ago. Drones overhead

@paulmasonnews: Just met these kids swimming where 4 boys killed by Israeli drone several days ago. Drones overhead

(source)

More iconic images of human rights violations.

Standard
human rights images, photography and journalism

Child Labor, A Collection of Images (4)

Indian children working at a construction site near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi. Photograph: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Indian children working at a construction site near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi. Photograph: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

(source)
child labor on a street in London, c. 1876, photo by John Thomson

child labor on a street in London, c. 1876, photo by John Thomson

(source)
Issa, 10, carries a mortar shell in a weapons factory of the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo, Sept. 7, 2013. Issa works with his father in the factory for 10 hours every day except on Fridays. Photo by Hamid Khatib/Reuters

Issa, 10, carries a mortar shell in a weapons factory of the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo, Sept. 7, 2013. Issa works with his father in the factory for 10 hours every day except on Fridays. Photo by Hamid Khatib/Reuters

(source)
child labor in the US, beginning of 20th century

child labor in the US, beginning of 20th century; Doffer boys. Macon, Georgia; photo by Lewis Hine

(source unknown)
Zakir, 10, pauses during his work of cutting fish at Karachi's Fish Harbor on Feb. 1, 2012. Zakir earns $2.20 per day. Rising food and fuel prices and a struggling economy have forced many families to send their children to work instead of school. Photo by Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

Zakir, 10, pauses during his work of cutting fish at Karachi’s Fish Harbor on Feb. 1, 2012. Zakir earns $2.20 per day. Rising food and fuel prices and a struggling economy have forced many families to send their children to work instead of school. Photo by Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

(source)
A 15-year-old Trapper Boy in a West Virginia Coal mine. All he does is to open and shut this door, for $0.75 a day, 1907

A 15-year-old Trapper Boy in a West Virginia Coal mine. All he does is to open and shut this door, for $0.75 a day, 1907

Filipino child laborers work in a charcoal dump in Manila, Philippines, July 9, 2012. The use of child labor in the Philippines was recently highlighted in a report by the International Labor Organization, which estimates over 5 million children in the country aged 5-17, work. Dondi Tawatao Getty Images

Filipino child laborers work in a charcoal dump in Manila, Philippines, July 9, 2012. The use of child labor in the Philippines was recently highlighted in a report by the International Labor Organization, which estimates over 5 million children in the country aged 5-17, work. Dondi Tawatao Getty Images

(source)
child labor

Girls deliver ice, September 16, 1918

(source unknown)
child labor

Mandalay, Myanmar/Burma, photo by Steve McCurry

(source)

Other collections of images of child labor are here.

Standard
activism, human rights video, photography and journalism

Human Rights Video (27): Black Child Fed Like a Dog in South African Charity Ad

Wow, this really takes the shock approach to charity advertising to a whole new level:

The video shows a young black boy being treated like a pet by a wealthy white person. For instance, the boy/dog brings the newspaper to his/its “owner” and gets a treat as a reward. The message is that dogs have a better life than young blacks in South Africa, and that racism is to blame. This may be true. There’s still a lot of poverty there and things are only slowly improving. However, the video comes across as unnecessarily offensive, at least to me. I understand that it’s sometimes necessary to shock people in order to get a message across, but it’s not as if we don’t know that blacks in SA are often poor and hungry or that there’s racism in that particular country. I mean, I challenge you to think about “racist country” and come up with another country first.

After the video itself, there’s someone offering a short justification that sounds very unconvincing. “What if this advert changes a child’s life? What if it changes 3.5 million lives?”  Well, I’ve got news for you: adverts don’t do that. If you want to make a difference, donate directly.

More about this particular video is here. More human rights videos are here.

UPDATE: message received apparently. The video has now been made “private”… This way it’s “impact guaranteed”. A few screenshots that haven’t been censored:

1404838192-South Africa

Shock-Advert-Shows-Black-Boy-Being-Treated-Like-a-Dog-550x368

Here’s an incomplete pirate version:

 

Standard
iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism, war

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (165): Shell Shock

100 years ago today, Gavrilo Princip kills Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie Chotek in Sarajevo. A few weeks later, WWI started. For some reason, one thing in particular comes to mind when I remember my history lessons: shell shock.

Shell shocked soldier, 1916

Shell shocked soldier, 1916

Shell shock was the reaction of some soldiers in World War I to the trauma of battle and to the intensity of the bombardments. The illness covered a wide variety of symptoms: helplessness appearing variously as panic or flight, an inability to reason, sleep, walk or talk, amnesia, hysterical paralysis, contractures, mutism. A dazed thousand-yard stare is also typical.

Shell shock would later be called “war neurosis“. It’s similar to but not the same thing as PTSD. Like in the case of PTSD, mental stress leads to dramatic physical difficulties.

Here are two interesting and short documentaries:

Standard
iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism

An Attempt to Justify the Publication of Images of People Suffering Rights Violations

Photographers holding their iconic images

Photographers holding their iconic images

(source)

Most of the time, I write about human rights in highly abstract terms, and I feel that this doesn’t quite do justice to the theme. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” is, like most clichés, partially true. Hence my decision to publish photographs of human rights violations. I even have a blog series entirely dedicated to iconic or soon to be iconic images of human rights violations. 

Now and then, this decision has led to complaints from readers. The images that I publish, although invariably showing human rights violations, do not necessarily induce horror or disgust, but some of them do given the nature of the topic. It’s understandably unpleasant when shocking images are hoisted upon readers without warning. I do try to hide the most horrific ones behind a warning, as in this case for example. But in general I just show the images as they are. 

Why do I do this? Certainly not because I like to shock. My only reason for posting images of rights violations is our need to know what it means to have our rights violated. A lot of this meaning is captured in images rather than words. We often only really know what it means to have our rights violated when we know what it looks like to have our rights violated. This isn’t just because of mnemonic reasons – although it’s obviously true that an image will produce better retention, and that better retention will increase long term consciousness. (One can reasonably hope that long term consciousness of an issue promotes activism). Images have a vividness and clarity that is often absent from words – or at least from my words. Readers’ feelings of disgust or horror, although regrettable, are a necessary corollary of the process of learning about human rights. 

Apart from reader sensitivities, there are other arguments against the publication of images of people having their rights violated. For example, people may be harmed by the knowledge that the suffering of their friends or family members is displayed in public. In some cases, they may even learn about this suffering through the publication of photographs, which is of course an even greater form of harm. And what about the dignity and privacy of those suffering? 

Those points are moot in the case of most photographs that I publish. Those are often photographs that have been published before, and I tend not to publish very recent ones. Hence I’m not telling relatives about what happened to their loved ones; and privacy is obviously not a concern to victims and relatives who are long since death. When I do publish photos of recent events, I try to blur the victims’ faces (see this example).

I have to say that I’m not absolutely convinced I’m doing the right thing here. Posts like this one make me doubt. So I’m open to persuasion, but as it stands I’ll keep my policy in place.

Standard
human rights images

Weaponized Animals, A Collection of Images

We’ve seen before that human imagination knows no bounds, especially when it comes to reciprocal cruelty. For instance, there’s a long history of the use of animals as cruelty enhancers, and weaponized animals are one particularly interesting part of it. A few examples, both old and recent, both real and fanciful:

This illustration from a manual written by the 16th-century German artillery master Franz Helm depicts a cat and a dove with burning sacks strapped to them in order to "set fire to a castle or city that you can't get at otherwise."

This illustration from a manual written by the 16th-century German artillery master Franz Helm depicts a cat and a dove with burning sacks strapped to them in order to “set fire to a castle or city that you can’t get at otherwise.” In this case one wonders how effective these animals weapons were supposed to be. It’s difficult to train a cat, let alone a cat carrying a fiery sack.

Capture

The infamous anti-tank dog used by the Russians used in 1941–1942 against German tanks in World War II. Although the original dog training routine was to leave the bomb and retreat so that the bomb would be detonated by the timer, this routine failed and was replaced by an impact detonation procedure which killed the dog in the process. Dogs strapped with explosives were unsuccessfully used by Iraqi insurgents in the 2000s.

The infamous anti-tank dog used by the Russians in 1941–1942 against German tanks in World War II. Although the original dog training routine was to leave the bomb and retreat so that the bomb would be detonated by the timer, this routine failed and was replaced by an impact detonation procedure which killed the dog in the process. Iraqi insurgents in the 2000s also tried to use dogs strapped with explosives, unsuccessfully.

anti-tank_dog_mine weird weapons of war3

Detailed explanation of the lethal mechanism.

The US preferred the bat-bomb: a bomb-shaped casing with numerous compartments, each containing a Mexican Free-tailed Bat with a small timed incendiary bomb attached. Dropped from a bomber at dawn, the casings would deploy a parachute in mid-flight and open to release the bats which would then roost in eaves and attics. The incendiaries would start fires in inaccessible places.

The US preferred the bat-bomb: a bomb-shaped casing with numerous compartments, each containing a Mexican Free-tailed Bat with a small timed incendiary bomb attached. Dropped from a bomber at dawn, the casings would deploy a parachute in mid-flight and open to release the bats which would then roost in eaves and attics. The incendiaries would start fires in inaccessible places.

A United States Marine corporal with an elephant-mounted gun in WWI. The gun is John Moses Browning’s M1895 Colt-Browning machine gun aka Potato Digger. Looks like a staged picture rather than a real tool of war.

A United States Marine corporal with an elephant-mounted gun in WWI. The gun is John Moses Browning’s M1895 Colt-Browning machine gun aka Potato Digger. Looks like a staged picture rather than a real tool of war.

Couldn't find anything useful about this image.

Couldn’t find anything useful about this image.

More here.

These are just the most obvious cases. Mankind has been so kind to develop biological warfare, and even entomological warfare, which is basically the use of very small organisms such as insects or germs, not to shoot or bomb but to spread disease, destroy crops etc. You can do it the old-fashioned way like the Hittites of Asia Minor in 1,50­0 B.C., and sent plague victims into enemy lands or catapult disease-ridden corpses over fortress walls. Or you can try to disseminate the germs through bombs and deliberate contagions (for instance by mailing a postal letter). Some say that biological weapons were used in the genocide of Native Americans.

Standard
human rights images, photography and journalism

Urban Inequality, A Collection of Images

Urban inequality is both chosen and coerced. There’s voluntary self-segregation among the wealthy motivated by family ties, repulsion of the poor, racism, fear of crime and other kinds of sorting. The organization of work, trade and industry also plays a role. The poor, for their part, are often forced to self-segregate in the cheaper parts of towns because of land and house prices.

Authorities as well play their part: they influence land and house prices through building restrictions, zoning laws, height restrictions, rent control and unequal government investment in infrastructure, education and transportation. These policies not only affect the relative attractiveness of houses, but also lower the supply of houses, thereby increasing their prices. This is obviously to the detriment of the poor who find themselves in less regulated and underinvested districts.

In addition, industrial and labor policy, work permits and trade regulations disproportionately favor the wealthy and again help to concentrate the poor in less desirable parts of town.

Although this isn’t by any means a fixed outcome – there may be gentrification, suburbanization, inflows of new immigrants or changes in government policies – we often see the formation of more or less homogenous and established districts. Sometimes this jumps out of population maps such as these. The separation between districts can be sharp rather than fluid. It may be a natural border such as a river, or even a manmade one. Border walls are not uncommon, since the wealthy need to keep out the riffraff. As a consequence, many urban separations are not only recognizable from population maps but can be seen by the naked eye. A few examples:

banamex-cdc-houses-gardens-buildings-development-print-359128-adeevee

Mexico City, suburb called Santa Fe

banamex-cdc-houses-gardens-buildings-development-print-359125-adeevee

Mexico City, suburb called Santa Fe

(source)
the rich in Sao Paolo have balconies with swimming pools, overlooking the slums

the rich in Sao Paolo have balconies with swimming pools, overlooking the slums

(source)
Modern buildings overlook a riverside slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Modern buildings overlook a riverside slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh

(source)

Riverside_slum_in_Bangladesh

(source)

So you have a cycle: people make the city more unequal, and then the city makes the people more unequal.

Standard
iconic images of human rights violations

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (164): The “June 4th Incident”

The “June 4th Incident“, known to everyone outside of the Chinese government as the Tiananmen Massacre, has it’s 25th anniversary today. Here’s an image taken one day after, on June 5th, 1989:

Tienanmen Square Massacre

A young couple waits beneath Jianguomenwai Bridge on the fringe of Beijing’s diplomatic area, as PLA tanks roll above them. Photo by Liu Heung Shing, 1989

This one is taken on the day itself:

BpMvhkCIgAEVAS1

Photo by Durand-Langevin

(source)

More here. More iconic images of human rights violations.

Standard
iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (161): War Crimes in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan Civil War began in July 1983. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers) fought an insurgency against the government to create an independent Tamil state called Tamil Eelam in the north and the east of the island. After a 26-year military campaign, the Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, bringing the civil war to an end. An estimated 100,000 people were killed. Both sides, but especially the Sri Lankan government during the final phase of and just after the war, committed horrible crimes.

BjsMHelCYAAhAfb

Marked human skulls are seen at a construction site in the former war zone in Mannar, about 327 km (203 miles) from the capital Colombo, January 16, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/DINUKA LIYANAWATTE

This appears to be the brutalized corpse of a Tamil fighter:

(source)

More on Sri LankaMore iconic photos.

Standard
photography and journalism

The Garbage That is U.S. Cable News, A Collection of Images

I’ve recently commented on the quality of the written press. So it’s only fair to offer cable news the same treatment. Although I can’t possibly hope to beat the pros, here’s my attempt.

There are basically three types of fail here: 1) a mix of fraud, lies and propaganda, 2) stupid mistakes, and 3) hyping the unimportant. Let’s start with the latter. A classic type of cable news garbage is nothingness served as content:

cable tv nonsense

813000910

images

developing_story_fail

Nothingness is a problem and content is better. Except of course when the content is wrong. There are different kinds of error plaguing our TV screens. First you have the category of factual or numerical mistakes:

60484

Another CNN fail:

cnn fail

BnWzVi0CYAA89Jt

So as not to pick on one network in particular, here‘s a list of equally catastrophic Fox errors, although I suspect a number of those are cases of fraud rather than error.

Another type of mistake is in the wording. How about this for clumsy:

9c7590ca5bc548df_8485667eca61f8ac_o

And then you have the Freudian slip:

Obama Fail 3

Everyone makes mistakes, but it takes a special kind of person to make a “news” program and fill it with deliberate misrepresentations and lies:

FNC_Controversy_Steinberg

fox-20090603-islam

fox-statistical-competence-2

Standard
iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (160): Protest in Brazil

Police fire rubber bullets at a protester during clashes in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, June 20, 2013. Demonstrations in Brazil began in response to plans to increase fares for the public transportation system but have broadened into wider protests over economic and social issues. Since then, both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have agreed to roll back prices on bus and metro tickets.

Police fire rubber bullets at a protester during clashes in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, June 20, 2013. Demonstrations in Brazil began in response to plans to increase fares for the public transportation system but have broadened into wider protests over economic and social issues. Since then, both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have agreed to roll back prices on bus and metro tickets.

(source)

More on Brazil and on protestMore iconic photos.

Standard
capital punishment, iconic images of human rights violations, law, photography and journalism

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (158): The Last Public Execution in France

Eugen Weidmann (1908-1939) was the last person to be publicly executed in France in June 1939. He was guilty of multiple murders. Executions by guillotine in France continued in private until September 10, 1977, when Hamida Djandoubi was the last person to be executed.

Weidmann’s execution was photographed and even filmed. Here are some of the photographs:

24 Jun 1939, Versailles, France. Shirt pulled down over his shoulders to prevent interference with the guillotine's knife, Eugene Weidmann is being led into the courtyard of Saint Pierre Prison in Versailles to his execution on the guillotine. The basket which was to receive his dead body is shown (partially) at left.

24 Jun 1939, Versailles, France. Shirt pulled down over his shoulders to prevent interference with the guillotine’s knife, Eugene Weidmann is being led into the courtyard of Saint Pierre Prison in Versailles to his execution on the guillotine. The basket which was to receive his dead body is shown (partially) at left.

Here he is being put on the table and held by his feet

Here he is being put on the table and held by his feet

Eugen Weidmann execution

Here’s the film (careful: it’s upsetting):

This is the man in better times:

weidmann

For comparison: the U.S. performed it’s last public execution three years earlier, in 1936, and is of course still killing criminals in this day and age.

More on capital punishment. More iconic images of human rights violations.

Standard
iconic images of human rights violations

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (157): Palestinian Punishment for Collaborators

Palestinian gunmen ride motorcycles as they drag the body of a man, who was suspected of working for Israel, in Gaza City November 20, 2012. Palestinian gunmen shot dead six alleged collaborators in the Gaza Strip who "were caught red-handed", according to a security source quoted by the Hamas Aqsa radio on Tuesday. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Palestinian gunmen ride motorcycles as they drag the body of a man, who was suspected of working for Israel, in Gaza City November 20, 2012. Palestinian gunmen shot dead six alleged collaborators in the Gaza Strip who “were caught red-handed”, according to a security source quoted by the Hamas Aqsa radio. Photo by REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

(source)

More on Israel and Palestine. More iconic images.

Standard
activism, housing, human rights images

Protest and the City

Protests don’t have to be mass protests. Individual actions like this one can be very high profile. Or you can go subtle, like this:

A small Ukrainian flag in the middle of Red Square, Moscow

A small Ukrainian flag in the middle of Red Square, Moscow

(source)

However, I think it’s fair to say that mass protests are usually more effective, not necessarily in the sense of achieving the stated ends but in the sense of achieving something. Hence the recent spate of massively popular urban demonstrations. Maidan, Tahrir, Taksim… The list goes on and on. Someone counted the number of protests during the last couple of years and there’s indeed a steady increase:

number of protests

37 of the 834 events counted had one million or more protesters!

Analysis of these protests often focuses on the role of social media, but just as interesting and somewhat forgotten is the role of urban planning and architecture. Most mass protests take place in and around central squares of large cities and it’s easy to see why these are favorite protest spots:

  • Public squares allow large numbers of people, sometimes very large numbers to congregate at the same spot. Centrally located in capital cities, they typically have many access routes. They are also Schelling Points (“a solution that people will tend to use in the absence of communication, because it seems natural, special or relevant to them”).
  • There’s often some kind of symbolic meaning to these places (maybe they’re named after national heros). They tend to be close to the institutions of power, which isn’t merely symbolic: it’s those institutions that are claimed to be responsible for the grievances of the masses and that need to hear the message.
  • Large numbers of people are also more difficult for security forces to attack, in the sense that an attack would be very visible and public and therefore potentially embarrassing – at least for those rulers who aren’t beyond embarrassment. The importance of large numbers of protesters doesn’t lie in the fact that the police or the military have a larger force against them – they usually have the means disperse even very large groups of people and a sense of safety in numbers is therefore mostly illusory among protesters. The problem with dispersing large groups is that it doesn’t look good on TV.
  • The ease of TV coverage is itself a reason for holding mass protests in large open spaces in capital cities (reporters often don’t venture outside of the capital). Protesters need to be seen together and when they take over central squares in capital cities – places that are normally buzzing with economic activity – then the world takes notice. The choice of location enhances the impact of protests.
  • And finally, large groups enhance the intensity of the protest through solidarity, mimicry etc. Physical unity translates into intellectual unity, and physical unity is easier in large open spaces.

A particular urban setting – intentionally designed or grown over the course of history – can promote the occurrence and intensity of mass protests. It’s no surprise therefore that the urban planners of dictators try to design cities in such a way that potential protesters are discouraged. Focal points such as large squares are not designed away – a dictator needs them for the theatre of power – but they are policed and fenced. Small streets that could be used by protesters to escape and barricade are demolished and replaced by wide avenues:

December 5, 2011 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. Nay Pyi Taw is the capitol city of Myanmar, formally in Yangon until the Burmese government created a new secluded capitol closed off from much of the world until recently. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

December 5, 2011 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. Nay Pyi Taw is the capitol city of Myanmar, formally in Yangon until the Burmese government created a new secluded capitol closed off from much of the world until recently. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

These avenues can then be used to send in the troops if need be. For example, Beijing’s avenues were instrumental in the attack on Tiananmen square.

The model of pro-autocratic urban design is of course the rebuilding of Paris in the 1850s and 1860s. Baron Haussmann turned a medieval city full of narrow streets into a rational, centralized, geometrically ordered system with grand boulevards that would be both harder to barricade and easier for troops to march through. The hope was that this would stop the revolutionary fervor in France. Here’s a before/after image of 19th century Paris:

Before and after the renovation of the Bastille area

Before and after the renovation of the Bastille area

All dictators ever since have tried to replicate this model, if necessary by way of the construction from scratch of new capital cities in the middle of nowhere. If international embarrassment becomes less painful than a fall from power, the central squares and large avenues can be used to crush dissent. In Tiananmen the crushing took place by way of tanks, but usually the means are less extreme:

A protestor is hit by water sprayed from a water cannon during clashes in Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey, 11 June 2013. Police used water cannons and tear gas as they moved into Istanbul's Taksim Square, where two weeks of protests have been held, as some demonstrators threw rocks and Molotov cocktails.

A protestor is hit by water sprayed from a water cannon during clashes in Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey, 11 June 2013. Police used water cannons and tear gas as they moved into Istanbul’s Taksim Square, where two weeks of protests have been held, as some demonstrators threw rocks and Molotov cocktails. Photo: KERIM OKTEN/EPA

(source)
Photos of a woman in a red summer dress, being sprayed with teargas by a masked policeman, has become a symbol for Turkey's protesters.

Photos of a woman in a red summer dress, being sprayed with teargas by a masked policeman, has become a symbol for Turkey’s protesters.

(source)
Teargas at Tahrir Square

Teargas at Tahrir Square

(source)

So you have your classic double edged sword: large open spaces can facilitate protest, but also the reaction of the state.

Some bonus pictures of the Majdan protests in Kiev:

Majdan, before and after

Majdan, before and after

Majdan, before and after

Majdan, before and after

(source)
Standard
capital punishment, iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (156): Execution in Tehran

13911125153728360_PhotoL

13911125153736141_PhotoL

13911125153725610_PhotoL

A young man being executed in Tehran a few nights ago. Some reports say that the witnesses in the first image were the family of the person executed, others say that it’s the family of his victims. Makes a big difference in interpretation of the image, obviously. Maybe they’re both there.

More on capital punishment. More on Iran. More iconic photos.

Standard
iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (155): Food Aid in Yarmouk, Damascus

Residents wait to receive food aid distributed at the besieged al-Yarmouk camp, south of Damascus on January 31, 2014

Residents wait to receive food aid distributed at the besieged al-Yarmouk camp, south of Damascus on January 31, 2014

(source)

Yarmouk, a Palestinian neighborhood in Damascus, has been under siege by the Syrian army since July 2013.

At least 55 people have died from hunger and the majority of children are suffering from malnutrition, according to a Palestinian activist living in Yarmouk.

About 20,000 people are currently besieged in Yarmouk. The regime of Bashar al-Assad says “terrorists” are holding people hostage. Beyond the tactical starvation, Syrian jets have also been bombing the area.

This picture, published by United Nations Relief Workers Agency, shows a seemingly endless line of people waiting for food aid.

More on Syria. More iconic photos.

Standard
human rights images, lgbt rights, photography and journalism

Homophobia, A Collection of Images (2)

This may seem like a good time to publish some illustrated commentary about homophobia. It used to be the case that in most countries of the world, homophobia meant outright legal prohibition of homosexuality. And that’s still the case today in some countries. The often grotesque punishments make it even worse. Uganda is now in the spotlight for it’s recent anti-homosexuality legislation. The risk of vigilante violence against Ugandan gays is not unreal when you have newspaper headlines like this:

The Red Pepper tabloid is one of Uganda's biggest selling newspapers

the faces were not pixelated in the original

This is the Red Pepper tabloid, one of Uganda’s biggest selling newspapers:

A Ugandan tabloid has named the country’s “200 top homosexuals”, a day after President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill toughening penalties for gay people.

Red Pepper’s list appeared under the headline: “Exposed”, raising concerns of a witch-hunt against gay people. … Homosexual acts were already illegal in Uganda, but the new law bans the promotion of homosexuality and covers lesbians for the first time. (source)

Another Ugandan newspaper also openly called for the persecution of homosexuals a few years ago:

uganda_2

One of those listed in the now defunct Rolling Stone, David Kato, was subsequently murdered.

Homophobia is also on the rise on Russia lately. Putin has masterminded a series of laws discriminating against homosexuals, which have resulted in this amusing protest:

putin gay

A poster of Russian President Vladimir Putin sporting makeup is carried during the Vancouver Pride Parade in Vancouver, on Sunday August 4, 2013. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says he’s concerned about what Russia’s new anti-gay law will mean for Canadian athletes and spectators at the Winter Games in Sochi. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Of course, there’s homophobia even in countries that don’t make homosexuality or the promotion of homosexuality a crime. And it doesn’t have to be less painful. For example, there’s been the infamous Matthew Shepard murder in the US, somewhat of a cause célèbre of homophobic hate crime:

matthew shepard

However, some doubts have been raised as to the nature of the crime. Perhaps it wasn’t a hate crime after all. Whether or not it was, there have been numerous other cases that most definitely were. Here’s an example:

A Charlotte couple says they were attacked and beaten on the street, left bloody and bruised. And they say – it’s all because they’re gay. Mark Little and his partner, Dustin Martin, visited Asheville a few weekends ago. The couple say they were walking down the street when people in a passing car began harassing them. Little told WBTV, when they asked the people to stop, a passenger jumped from the car and attacked them. Little says he and his partner are concerned police aren’t taking the crime seriously. Asheville Police are still searching for suspects. If they are caught, they could be charged with simple assault. North Carolina’s hate crimes law does not cover sexual orientation.

A Charlotte couple says they were attacked and beaten on the street, left bloody and bruised. And they say – it’s all because they’re gay. Mark Little and his partner, Dustin Martin, visited Asheville a few weekends ago. The couple say they were walking down the street when people in a passing car began harassing them.
Little told WBTV, when they asked the people to stop, a passenger jumped from the car and attacked them. Little says he and his partner are concerned police aren’t taking the crime seriously. Asheville Police are still searching for suspects. If they are caught, they could be charged with simple assault.
North Carolina’s hate crimes law does not cover sexual orientation.

More on homophobia here and here.

Standard
human rights images, photography and journalism

Xenophobic Newspaper Headlines, A Collection

Let’s start with an unintentionally ironic one:

Helen Mirren's dad was a Russian immigrant, Cowell's grandmother was Polish & Cliff was born in India

Helen Mirren’s dad was a Russian immigrant, Cowell’s grandmother was Polish & Cliff was born in India

This one is fun as well:

expressracism1

“Ethnics” doesn’t make good noun, if you ask me.

Following the recent floods in the UK, someone thought it was a good idea to use development aid money to help UK flood victims, because fellow citizens whom you’ve never met before are obviously more important than desperately poor people born on the other side of an imaginary line on the ground:

BgJng00IIAARPa4

It’s hard to understand, but there are apparently people who want to send back all immigrants:

MoS2 Template Master

Your respectable xenophobe usually limits himself or herself throwing out the criminal immigrants:

130103mail

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to private and family life – is now in force in the UK, and some “foreign criminals” have won appeals against deportation based on this article. This has led to a backlash in the UK against the Convention and against “human rights” and “Europe” in general. As if deportation is necessary for the fight against crime. I mean, they do have prisons in the UK, don’t they?

Here’s an older clipping, from the US this time, with a review of a book about the “celebrated” Dred Scott decision:

dredscott_lcpp

The Dred Scott case, rather than celebrated, is now infamous for upholding slavery. The “prognathous race” is the African race, by the way. Prognathous means having a projecting lower jaw or chin, and this was believed to be typical of blacks:

prognathous race

You might ask, what has Dred Scot to do with xenophobia? Isn’t that a simple although horrible case of racism? Well, part of the Supreme Court decision was the ruling that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court. In other words, they were strangers – xenoi – forever.

Standard
human rights images, photography and journalism

The Human Zoo, A Collection of Images

Human zoos, euphemistically called “ethnological expositions”, were quite common between the mid 1800s and the beginning of the 20th century, although they already existed during the Renaissance. Actual people, mostly from Africa, were brought over to Europe and displayed in monkey style cages or recreated villages, often side-by-side with the more traditional animal exhibits. Entire families were recruited from the colonies and paraded for the entertainment of western spectators. One can only guess how many made it back home.

Selk'nam natives on their way to Europe for being exhibited as animals in zoos. Circa 1889. The Selk'nam, also known as the Onawo or Ona people, were an indigenous people in the Patagonian region of southern Argentina and Chile. They were one of the last aboriginal groups in South America to be encountered by ethnic Europeans or Westerners in the late 19th century.

Selk’nam natives on their way to Europe for being exhibited as animals in zoos. Circa 1889. The Selk’nam, also known as the Onawo or Ona people, were an indigenous people in the Patagonian region of southern Argentina and Chile. They were one of the last aboriginal groups in South America to be encountered by ethnic Europeans or Westerners in the late 19th century.

Although she personally was never part of a “zoo” exhibition, Sarah – or “Saartjie” – Baartman (not her real name of course) is probably history’s most famous human exhibit. She’s standing in the middle here:

Sarah was a Khoikhoi woman who was exhibited as a freak show attraction in early 19th-century Europe under the name Hottentot Venus — “Hottentot” was the then-current name for the Khoi people. “Venus” because of her body shape. After she died impoverished at a very young age, her body was dissected and her remains displayed. For more than a century and a half – until 1974! – visitors to the “Museum of Man” in Paris could view her brain and skeleton until they were removed from public view and stored out of sight; a cast of her body was still shown. In 2002, she was peacefully laid to rest in her homeland South Africa.

PP0101027

Saartjie Baartman’s body cast and skeleton in the “Musée de l’homme” in Paris

Scene from a movie entitled Black Venus, directed by Abdellatif Kechiche and starring Yahima Torres as Sarah, released in 2010. It also shows the infamous French naturalist Georges Cuvier who examined her while still alive and dissected her body.

Scene from a movie entitled Black Venus, directed by Abdellatif Kechiche and starring Yahima Torres as Sarah, released in 2010. It also shows the infamous French naturalist Georges Cuvier who examined her while still alive and dissected her body after death.

The remains of one very interesting human zoo can still be visited in the Vincennes woods of Paris. Over a 100 years ago, in the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale a public exhibition was held to promote French colonialism.

In 1907, six different villages were built in the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale, representing all the corners of the French colonial empire at the time– Madagascar, Indochine, Sudan, Congo, Tunisia and Morocco. The villages and their pavilions were built to recreate the life and culture as it was in their original habitats. This included mimicking the architecture, importing the agriculture and appallingly, inhabiting the replica houses with people, brought to Paris from the faraway territories. … Entire families recruited from the colonies were placed in replicas of their villages, given mock traditional costumes and paid to put on a show for spectators. (source)

Here’s one of the “attractions”:

screenshot-2012-03-02-at-00_02_58

I think this is from the same “Jardin”:

Human-Zoo-or-Negro-Village-e1392751461282

670x510xexhibitioncolonial1.jpg.pagespeed.ic.lggOJtnlCQ

Here’s another, very “cheap” looking replica village (I don’t know where this image was taken):

human-zoo01

Human zoos were comparable to the much more common “freak shows”. Both focused on the display of “exotic” or strange body shapes:

AP1146-miss-lucy-moore-fat-lady-freak-show-poster

More on animalization here.

Standard
iconic images of human rights violations

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (153): Women in Chicago Being Arrested For Wearing Bathing Suits

Women in Chicago being arrested for wearing one piece bathing suits, without covering their legs 1922

Women in Chicago being arrested for wearing one piece bathing suits, without covering their legs 1922

Here’s a similar image from somewhere else (looks like DC):

The swimsuit police checking the length of a suit, 1922

The swimsuit police checking the length of a suit, 1922

There’s obviously no human right to wear a bikini, but getting arrested for wearing one is a rights violation. And all this is indicative of society’s disregard for gender equality. The famous story of Annette Kellerman is relevant here. Kellerman was famous for advocating the right of women to wear a one-piece bathing suit, which was controversial at the time. According to an Australian magazine, “In the early 1900s, women were expected to wear cumbersome dress and pantaloon combinations when swimming. In 1907, at the height of her popularity, Kellerman was arrested on Revere Beach, Massachusetts, for indecency – she was wearing one of her fitted one-piece costumes.” Here she is:

Annette Kellerman

Unsurprisingly, women have been the main targets of the decency police. And yet, here’s an example of a man at a beach in the Netherlands being fined for not wearing decent clothes (in 1931):

large

More iconic images of human rights violations.

Standard
human rights images

Propaganda in North Korea, A Collection of Images

“Over the top” is an understatement when it comes to North Korean propaganda. Here’s how they portray US soldiers:

North Korean Images of American Soldiers 3

North Korean Images of American Soldiers 2

apq2VgW_700b

imperialist-wolves

A systematic cultivation of “the enemy” is of course typical of totalitarian regimes. Here’s how the North Koreans plan to deal with it:

e54rtwefdwfdsfsdfsdf

 

Here’s the US in retaliatory mode:

mqsgloiyoqgjn68rxlkw

More on North Korea here.

Standard
equality, gender discrimination, human rights images, photography and journalism

Female Emancipation, A Collection of Images

“Female emancipation” has become a somewhat old-fashioned term. Like “women’s lib”. “Gender equality” and “women’s rights” are probably better. However, for history’s sake, here’s a short illustrated guide to the early days of what used to be called female emancipation.

The bicycle has become somewhat of an icon in the history of gender equality. A century ago, Alice Hawkins, a suffragette, cycled around Leicester promoting the women’s rights movement, causing outrage by being one of the first ladies to wear pantaloons in the city. During the fight to win the vote the bicycle became not only a tool but also a symbol for the emancipation of women.

1912_suffragettes_winston

Emancipation wasn’t just about the right to vote. The right to work and to choose an occupation was equally important. Here’s a clipping from the Caledonian Mercury, February 5th, 1814:

Caledonian Mercury 5 Feb 1814

This is “Wendy the Welder” at a boat-and-sub-building yard, adjusting her goggles before resuming work in Groton, CT, 1943:

'Wendy the Welder' at a boat-and-sub-building yard adjusts her goggles before resuming work. Groton, CT, 1943

photo

Communist regimes – the “workers’ paradise” – always made a big deal of gender equality, at least in their propaganda messages:

“DOWN WITH KITCHEN SLAVERY!”, G. SHEGAL, 1931

“DOWN WITH KITCHEN SLAVERY!”, G. SHEGAL, 1931

Female parachuters appear often on Chinese communist posters, to show the emancipation of women and the role of the People's Liberation Army in their liberation

Female parachuters appear often on Chinese communist posters, to show the emancipation of women and the role of the People’s Liberation Army in their liberation

Obviously, emancipation had a private meaning as well. Traditional gender roles within the family had to be challenged:

if you want breakfast in bed

One rather strange manifestation of female anticipation was called the “Torches of Freedom”. The point was to encourage women to smoke. Cigarettes were described as symbols of emancipation and equality with men. The term was first used by psychoanalyst A. A. Brill when describing the “natural” desire for women to smoke and was used by Edward Bernays to encourage women to smoke in public despite social taboos. Bernays hired women to march while smoking their “torches of freedom” in the Easter Sunday Parade of 1929 which was a significant moment for fighting social barriers for women smokers (source).

torches of freedom

Needless to say, the movement for women’s rights hasn’t completely fulfilled its mission. Here’s a contemporary example:

Dana Bakdounes,

Dana Bakdounes, holding a sign that read, “I am with the uprising of women in the Arab world because for 20 years I wasn’t allowed to feel the wind in my hair and on my body.” Bakdounes also held open her passport, showing a photo of her wearing a veil.

Dana Bakdounes posted this image in 2012 on a Facebook page called Uprising of Women in the Arab World.

Facebook suspended the account of several people behind the Uprising of Women in the Arab World page Wednesday over an issue stemming from a photo of an unveiled woman.

More than 61,000 people like the page, which shares hundreds of images of women (who were variably veiled, unveiled, or wearing a niqab) and men who support women’s rights in the Middle East. The photos typically depict those people holding up signs explaining why they support the “human rights, freedom, and independence of women in the Arab world.”

Facebook deleted the photo, apparently over complaints that it was “insulting,” and suspended an admin for 24 hours. Other reports suggested the image was reported for nudity and one of the admins, Farah Barqawi, told German site Detektor.fm that it was pulled due to “mysogenists and extremists.” (source)

Standard
iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (151): Lunch Counter Segregation

Franklin Eugene McCain died two days ago. McCain and three others, now known as the “Greensboro Four,” are credited with initiating the sit-in movement when they sat down at the F. W. Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro on February 1, 1960 and requested service.

Franklin McCain, part of Greensboro Four who staged sit-ins at all-white lunch counter

Franklin McCain, part of Greensboro Four who staged sit-ins at all-white lunch counter

Marchers protest denial of service at Woolworth’s lunch counter in Roanoke, 1960

Marchers protest denial of service at Woolworth’s lunch counter in Roanoke, 1960

Read the whole story here. More on segregation. More iconic images of human rights violations.

Standard
iconic images of human rights violations

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (149): Protester Getting His Glasses Pulverized by Police Officer

police brutality

Despite the iconic nature of this image I couldn’t find any information about it. Lots of websites have posted it, but never with any useful comments. I don’t know where it’s taken. Was it a protest that turned violent? Who was protesting what? Is it police brutality or a justified hit? If it’s official misconduct then it’s certainly a human rights violation. The right to protest is a protected form of free speech. Or maybe it wasn’t a protest at all. (In which case we could still be looking at a rights violation).

Your help is welcome. Please use the comment section if you know something about the image.

More iconic photos.

Standard
human rights images, photography and journalism

The Symbolic Decapitation of the Tyrant, A Collection of Images

A Russian soldier carries a statue head of Adolf Hitler. Berlin, circa May 1945

A Russian soldier carries a statue head of Adolf Hitler. Berlin, circa May 1945

December 1956:  A crowd of people surround the demolished head of a statue of Josef Stalin, including Daniel Sego, the man who cut off the head, during the Hungarian Revolt, Budapest, Hungary. Sego is spitting on the statue.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

December 1956: A crowd of people surround the demolished head of a statue of Josef Stalin, including Daniel Sego, the man who cut off the head, during the Hungarian Revolt, Budapest, Hungary. Sego is spitting on the statue. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

As the Soviet Empire fractured, symbols of the Party were dismantled. Huge statues of Lenin and Stalin were toppled, alternately grieved or abused by onlookers, then trucked away to be abandoned in fields or other remote spots, where one could stroll among the enormous body parts of the former high priests of communism. Here a passerby takes an opportunity to gives Lenin a scolding while construction workers who helped dismantle the statue look on.

As the Soviet Empire fractured, symbols of the Party were dismantled. Huge statues of Lenin and Stalin were toppled, alternately grieved or abused by onlookers, then trucked away to be abandoned in fields or other remote spots, where one could stroll among the enormous body parts of the former high priests of communism. Here a passerby appears to take an opportunity to gives Lenin a scolding while construction workers who helped dismantle the statue look on.

In Baghdad's Qadhamiya neighbourhood on 9 April 2003, people drag the head of a statue of Saddam Hussein which is joyfully battered by bystanders.

In Baghdad’s Qadhamiya neighbourhood on 9 April 2003, people drag the head of a statue of Saddam Hussein which is joyfully battered by bystanders.

Standard
human rights images, photography and journalism

Daily Life in North Korea, A Collection of Images

North Korean commuters ride inside a trolly car in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday, April 9, 2012. Photo: David Guttenfelder

North Korean commuters ride inside a trolly car in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday, April 9, 2012. Photo: David Guttenfelder

A city tram carries passengers in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 15, 2011. Photo: David Guttenfelder

A city tram carries passengers in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 15, 2011. Photo: David Guttenfelder

Street in Pyongyang, by Charlie Crane

Street in Pyongyang, by Charlie Crane. Very few people own cars.

A photograph of North Korea's founder, Kim II-sung, hangs on a building in the capital of Pyongyang, North Korea, Oct. 5, 2011. Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

A photograph of North Korea’s founder, Kim II-sung, hangs on a building in the capital of Pyongyang, North Korea, Oct. 5, 2011. Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

A wider view of the same location in Pyongyang, North Korea, at dusk on April 12, 2011. Photo by David Guttenfelder

A wider view of the same location in Pyongyang, at dusk on April 12, 2011. Photo by David Guttenfelder

An apartment block stands among the buildings in central Pyongyang at dusk. Photograph: David Guttenfelder/AP

An apartment block stands among the buildings in central Pyongyang at dusk. Photograph: David Guttenfelder/AP

More on North Korea here.

Standard
iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (148): The Beating of L. Alex Wilson

The Beating of L. Alex Wilson

Little Rock: Reporter L. Alex Wilson being attacked by a mob, September 23, 1957

The Beating of L. Alex Wilson 2

This happened

three weeks after Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus abruptly derailed school desegregation in September 1957. Confident that the Negroes would be kept out by the cordon of Arkansas National Guardsmen surrounding the school, crowds of angry whites—many having no connection to the school or to Little Rock—arrived every morning to demonstrate their disapproval of integration. They watched white students enter the school and kept a watchful eye to make sure black students, though backed by a federal court order allowing them in, didn’t try to sneak in. White reporters and cameramen faced relentless heckling, physical taunts and spittle. Black reporters faced worse. The story had drawn many of the most experienced journalists in the black press, reporters who had braved the back roads of the South and pioneered civil rights coverage long before it caught on with the mainstream white press. But as they tried to penetrate the scene around the high school, they met scorn and stonewalling as National Guardsmen quickly moved them off the premises and away from the story.

On the warm Monday morning of Sept. 23, the integration stalemate broke and the story changed. The National Guard, following a federal court edict, had withdrawn. The white crowds stayed, however, leaving the school’s grounds and perimeter beyond the control of authorities. Black students on their way to the school in a station wagon were heading into an unpredictable mob scene.

At the same time, in a separate car, intent on witnessing and covering the moment firsthand, were four seasoned black newsmen. Their leader was the tall, dark-skinned and serious L. Alex Wilson, the editor and general manager of the Tri-State Defender of Memphis, Tennessee—the newspaper that was the southern outpost of the Chicago Defender, one of the foremost black newspapers in the United States. (Continue reading).

More on segregation and on Little Rock. More iconic photos.

Standard
iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (147): Poverty in the UK Between the Wars

Bill Brandt, Northumbrian Miner at His Evening Meal, 1937

Northumbrian Miner at His Evening Meal, 1937, photo by Bill Brandt

A family struggling in the slums of South Wales in the 1930s

A family struggling in the slums of South Wales in the 1930s

Unemployed man and his family in Brighton in 1921

Unemployed man and his family in Brighton in 1921

More on poverty in the UK. More on the right not to suffer poverty. More iconic images.

Standard
discrimination, human rights images, photography and journalism, racism

Segregation in the U.S., A Collection of Images

I’ll never be able to understand how this scene could have been horrifying to anyone:

The first day of desegregation, on Sept. 8, 1954, at Fort Myer Elementary School in Fort Myer, Va. I'll never be able to understand how this scene could be horrifying to anyone.

The first day of desegregation, on Sept. 8, 1954, at Fort Myer Elementary School in Fort Myer, Va.

And this image shows the absurdness of segregation:

segregation_photo_Page_1

Is this de facto segregation? I couldn’t find anything about the context of the photo:

Students sit during a study session at a Mississippi junior high school Jan. 8, 1970.

Students sit during a study session at a Mississippi junior high school Jan. 8, 1970.

And this is just one of the sexiest images ever:

A young black woman, soaked by a fireman’s hose as an anti-segregation march is broken up by police, in Birmingham, Alabama, on May 8, 1963. In the background is a police riot wagon.

A young black woman, soaked by a fireman’s hose as an anti-segregation march is broken up by police, in Birmingham, Alabama, on May 8, 1963. In the background is a police riot wagon.

photo05

If you look carefully at the top left of this image, you’ll see a fellow who doesn’t know his place:

Segregated seating at the Orange Bowl, Miami, 1955

Segregated seating at the Orange Bowl, Miami, 1955

More images on segregation are here. More on segregation in general is here.

Standard
iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (144): Kosovo

Family and neighbors mourn the death of Elshani Nashim (27), killed during a protest against the Yugoslavian government's decision to abolish the autonomy of Kosovo, 1990, by Georges Merillon

Family and neighbors mourn the death of Elshani Nashim (27), killed during a protest against the Yugoslavian government’s decision to abolish the autonomy of Kosovo, 1990, by Georges Merillon

Albanians fleeing Kosovo, by Tom Stoddart

Albanians fleeing Kosovo, by Tom Stoddart. Transported into Macedonia from Kosovo by bus at night, an Albanian father and son escape their Serb tormentors. In the spring of 1999, Serbs forced 1.5 million Albanians out of Kosovo, destroying what they left behind.

More on refugees, ethnic cleansing and Kosovo. Some data. More iconic images of human rights violations.

Standard
human rights images, photography and journalism

Nazi Weirdness, A Collection of Images

The Nazi era is an infinite source of weird stories, bizarre relics, secret inventions and over-the-top conspiracy theories. I don’t know why. Perhaps this is a way of dealing with the horror of Nazi crimes. There are stories about Hitler’s corpse, Hitler’s survival and escape, secret nazi camps on the Antarctic, strange weapons etc. Below are a few of the most bizarre.

All conspiracy theories are good fun, but this is one of the best. The Nazi UFO theory argues that the Nazis successfully attempted to develop advanced air and spacecraft prior to and during World War II, and that these vehicles survived the war in secret underground bases in Antarctica, South America or the United States, along with their creators. After all, they did manage to produce rockets. Here’s a so-called photograph:

nazi ufo

Or maybe the Nazis used their UFOs to escape to the moon instead. Here’s “evidence” of a Nazi moon station:

nazi moon station

There’s even a popular movie about it which some call fiction:

iron sky

Scene from “iron sky”

Or was it Mars rather than the moon? Mars rover Curiosity has apparently found a Nazi helmet on Mars:

nazi helmet mars

But let’s return back to earth, literally and figuratively. How about the Nazi motorcycle tank?

Nazi German Motorcycle Tank

Weird you say? I agree, it doesn’t look quite real. But this one does:

Russland, Soldaten auf Kettenkrad

(source)

And how about Nazi ice-cream? Strange indeed but could be tasty, at least for those without a sense of history:

nazi ice cream

Standard
human rights images

Attacks on Religious Symbols, A Collection of Images

As in many other religions, the beard is important for a certain subgroup of Jews. Leviticus 19:27 states: “You shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard”. Then watch the smirk:

Warsaw, Poland, SS men cutting the beard of a Jew, 1939

Warsaw, Poland, SS men cutting the beard of a Jew, 1939

A German soldier cuts a Jews beard in the Warsaw ghetto

A German soldier cuts a Jews beard in the Warsaw ghetto

Plock, Poland, SS men cutting a Jewish man's beard

Plock, Poland, SS men cutting a Jewish man’s beard

It’s not only Jews. Many Muslims as well view shaving as haram, or forbidden, because the prophet and his immediate followers wore beards. Consequently, those who do not like Muslims sometimes engage in forcible shaving. Here’s a present-day example:

Nidal_HasanNidal Hasan … [t]he army psychiatrist sentenced to death for the Fort Hood shooting rampage has been forcibly shaved, an army spokesman has said. Major Nidal Hasan began growing a beard after the November 2009 shooting that left 13 dead and 30 wounded. … Hasan, 42, who was born in America, is an inmate of the US detention barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, home to the military death row. (source)

Pointless and petulant, if you ask me. However, one can perhaps invoke military grooming regulations or other reasons (maybe the performance of the death penalty in general requires a clean shaven face, I don’t know). Another bizarre story of attacks on beards: an Amish splinter group has been forcibly cutting the beards off of their rivals.

The beard, of course, isn’t the only religious symbol that can come under attack:

Today, in a letter to the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), the ACLU and United Sikhs called on state officials to investigate the harassment of a Sikh commercial truck driver pulled over early this year for a flat tire.  After detaining Mr. Jageet Singh in January as he passed through Mississippi, the officers called him a “terrorist” and harassed and humiliated him because of his appearance and religious beliefs.  As a devout Sikh, Mr. Singh wears a turban and carries a kirpan.  A kirpan is a small, spiritual sword that is sheathed and sewn to the waistband. It is designed and worn as an article of faith, much as a cross is worn by devout Christians.

Contending, wrongly, that his kirpan was illegal, the officers demanded that Mr. Singh remove it. When Mr. Singh explained that he was a Sikh and that the kirpan was a sacred religious article, the officers laughed at him and mocked his religious beliefs. One officer declared that all Sikhs are “depraved” and “terrorists.” They continued to taunt him, and forced Mr. Singh to circle his truck with his hands on his turban while they searched the vehicle. Finally, not content with this humiliation, they arrested him, claiming that Mr. Singh had refused to obey an officer’s lawful command.

Mr. Singh’s ordeal did not end with the MDOT. When he returned to Mississippi on March 26, 2013, for his court date at the Pike County Justice Court, he once again suffered humiliation, harassment, and discrimination because of his religious beliefs. Waiting for his attorney in the back of the courtroom, he was stunned when four Highway Patrol officers approached him and ordered him to leave the courtroom. The officers stated that Judge Aubrey Rimes had ordered them to eject Mr. Singh from the courtroom because he did not like Mr. Singh’s turban. Moreover, they told Mr. Singh that Judge Rimes would punish him if he failed to remove his headdress.

When Mr. Singh’s attorney went to Judge Rimes’s chambers to inquire about the matter, he readily confirmed that he had expelled Mr. Singh from the courtroom because of his turban. He further stated that Mr. Singh would not be allowed to re-enter the courtroom unless he removed “that rag” from his head and threatened to call Mr. Singh last on the docket if he continued to wear the religious headdress. (source)

Similar to the turban is the veil for Muslim women. This symbol is often the target of discomfort, criticism and even legal prohibition. There have been reports of violent attacks on Muslim women wearing the veil. Here’s one case (warning: shocking video):

Then there were the bombings of mosques in Bosnia:

Bosnia, Donja Misoca Mosque

Bosnia, Donja Misoca Mosque

The “war on Christmas” is a canard, but there have been genuine attacks on Christianity, such as this and this for instance. What the “war on Christmas” does make clear, however, is that a lot of so-called attacks on religious symbols are in reality attempts by democratic governments to remain religiously neutral. Here’s a famous case:

The Mojave Memorial Cross is a cross formerly on public land in the Mojave desert that was at the center of the Salazar v. Buono legal case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The original cross was erected in 1934 to honor those killed in war. The cross has been maintained by volunteers and was reconstructed after being destroyed. It was boarded up after lower court rulings declared it illegal because of separation of church and state constitutional concerns.

The Supreme Court ruled that the cross may stay.

5-foot cross on federal government land in the Mojave National Preserve 5-foot cross on federal government land in the Mojave National Preserve, boarded up

Standard
human rights images, photography and journalism

The Romani, A Collection of Images

Anti-Roma prejudice has existed for centuries. Here’s an example of one of the more extreme stereotypes, which has fortunately become somewhat less fashionable over time:

"child abducted by nomads"

“child abducted by nomads”

Prejudice has led to the darkest period in Roma history, the Holocaust:

Deportation of Sinti and Roma in Asperg, Germany, during WWII

Deportation of Sinti and Roma in Asperg, Germany, during WWII

A Romani (Gypsy) victim of Nazi medical experiments to make seawater potable. Dachau concentration camp, Germany, 1944

A Romani (Gypsy) victim of Nazi medical experiments to make seawater potable. Dachau concentration camp, Germany, 1944

Romani victims of Nazi medical experiments to make seawater potable. Dachau concentration camp, Germany, 1944

(source)

Even today, in prosperous Europe, the Romani are often very poor. Their living conditions and housing are more like those of a third world country:

A woman walks through a Roma settlement situated on a road off of Budulovska Street on the outskirts of Moldava nad Bodvou in eastern Slovakia. Moldava nad Bodvou is approximately 30 km south of Košice and around 15 percent of its inhabitants are Roma. “Those living in the settlement are marginalized and segregated,” says Oto Horváth, a Roma social worker in this particular settlement. People are often forced to move to the settlement because they can no longer pay rent. “Once you go to the settlement, there is no way back to the city,” he added.

A woman walks through a Roma settlement situated on a road off of Budulovska Street on the outskirts of Moldava nad Bodvou in eastern Slovakia. Moldava nad Bodvou is approximately 30 km south of Košice and around 15 percent of its inhabitants are Roma. “Those living in the settlement are marginalized and segregated,” says Oto Horváth, a Roma social worker in this particular settlement. People are often forced to move to the settlement because they can no longer pay rent. “Once you go to the settlement, there is no way back to the city,” he added. Photo credit: Björn Steinz/Panos for the Open Society Foundations

 (source)
A gypsy woman begging for money Florence

A “gypsy” woman begging for money in Florence. Roma are often seen begging.

(source)

The Roma are not only disadvantaged. They still, in some places, suffer physical attacks:

A man awaits emergency medical treatment for injuries sustained during a brawl in the village of Gyongyospata, in northeast Hungary April 26, 2011. Four people were injured, one seriously, after a fight between Roma residents and members of vigilante group Vedero (Defence Force) broke out overnight. Picture taken April 26, 2011 REUTERS/MTI

A man awaits emergency medical treatment for injuries sustained during a brawl in the village of Gyongyospata, in northeast Hungary April 26, 2011. Four people were injured, one seriously, after a fight between Roma residents and members of vigilante group Vedero (Defence Force) broke out overnight. Picture taken April 26, 2011 REUTERS/MTI

(source)

However, let’s end on a happier note:

A member of the Roma community smiles with her gold-encrusted teeth in the village of Pidvynogradiv near the Ukrainian city of Vynogradiv in Transcarpathia on September 8, 2013. Members of this conservative group of Roma, locally known as the “Hungarian Tent Gypsies”, are known for their bright-coloured clothes and their set of golden teeth, considered to be a sign of wealth and status in the camp. By Yuriy Dyachshyn/AFP/Getty Images

A member of the Roma community smiles with her gold-encrusted teeth in the village of Pidvynogradiv near the Ukrainian city of Vynogradiv in Transcarpathia on September 8, 2013. Members of this conservative group of Roma, locally known as the “Hungarian Tent Gypsies”, are known for their bright-coloured clothes and their set of golden teeth, considered to be a sign of wealth and status in the camp. By Yuriy Dyachshyn/AFP/Getty Images

(source)
Standard
human rights images, photography and journalism

Police Brutality, A Collection of Images

Egypt's "Girl in the blue bra". At the end of 2011,  footage of an anonymous woman, knocked to the ground in Cairo, dragged and beaten by Egyptian soldiers. During the attack the woman, unconscious, had her shirt pulled up over her head, exposing her blue bra.  The 'blue bra girl' has become a potent symbol of Egypt's political turmoil.

Egypt’s “Girl in the blue bra”. At the end of 2011, footage of an anonymous woman, knocked to the ground in Cairo, dragged and beaten by Egyptian soldiers. During the attack the woman, unconscious, had her shirt pulled up over her head, exposing her blue bra. The ‘blue bra girl’ has become a potent symbol of Egypt’s political turmoil.

(source)
Children beaten by Bangladeshi police as they join garment workers' strikes

Children beaten by Bangladeshi police as they join garment workers’ strikes

police-beating-kids-2

Police in Bangladesh using bamboo staves, teargas and water cannon fought with textile workers demanding back pay and an immediate rise in monthly wages on the streets of Dhaka, 2010

(source)
UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses a can of pepper spray to move protestors who were blocking officers attempts to remove arrested protestors from the Quad at UC Davis in 2011. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses a can of pepper spray to move protestors who were blocking officers attempts to remove arrested protestors from the Quad at UC Davis in 2011. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

(source)
Rodney King was the black motorist whose 1991 videotaped beating by Los Angeles police officers was the touchstone for one of the most destructive race riots in US history

Rodney King was the black motorist whose 1991 videotaped beating by Los Angeles police officers was the touchstone for one of the most destructive race riots in US history

(source)
Bill Hudson's image of Parker High School student Walter Gadsden being attacked by dogs was published in The New York Times on May 4, 1963. The Birmingham campaign was a movement organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to bring attention to the integration efforts of the black Americans in Birmingham, Alabama. Led by Martin Luther King, Jr. and others, the spring 1963 campaign of nonviolent direct actions culminated in widely publicized confrontations between black youth and white civic authorities, and eventually led the municipal government to change the city's discrimination laws.

Bill Hudson’s image of Parker High School student Walter Gadsden being attacked by dogs was published in The New York Times on May 4, 1963. The Birmingham campaign was a movement organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to bring attention to the integration efforts of the black Americans in Birmingham, Alabama. Led by Martin Luther King, Jr. and others, the spring 1963 campaign of nonviolent direct actions culminated in widely publicized confrontations between black youth and white civic authorities, and eventually led the municipal government to change the city’s discrimination laws.

(source)
Police_Brutality_Rhode_Island_Police_Officer_Edward_Krawetz

A Rhode Island police officer that kicked a woman in the head has been sentenced to probation, and no jail time was deemed necessary. Officer Edward Krawetz, 47, waived his right to a jury trial. The footage shows Krawetz standing in a John Wayne stance with his right foot on a curb. The woman, arrested for being drunk at a bar, is seated on the curb in handcuffs. She motions with her foot in the direction of the officer’s feet which could be perceived as a pathetic attempt at a karate sweep at the officer’s ankles. Apparently threatened by this sluggish maneuver, the officer ninja kicks her face and head and knocks her out cold, and goes back to searching through her purse.

Standard
human rights images

Public Humiliation as Punishment, A Collection of Images

All forms of criminal punishment are in some sense public humiliation of the criminal, but some forms are more so. The pillory is the archetypical tool:

Punishment of the Cangue

Punishment of the Cangue. A cangue is a device that was used for public humiliation and corporal punishment in China and some other parts of East Asia and Southeast Asia, until the early years of the twentieth century. It was similar to the pillory used for punishment in the West, except that the board of the cangue was not fixed to a base, and had to be carried around by the prisoner.

Two prisoners in pillory and another tied to whipping post below and man with whip in prison in Delaware, 1907

Two prisoners in pillory and another tied to whipping post below and man with whip in prison in Delaware, 1907

These appear to be "witches"

These appear to be “witches”, but I couldn’t find any other information about this image

A variation of the pillory:

Punishment for Foul-Mouthedness

Punishment for Foul-Mouthedness

Remnants of the practice still exist today. US judges in particular sometimes administer “alternative” punishments:

public humiliation walmart

This is essentially the same as the pillory: you have shaming and immobilization, albeit immobilization without restraints. Given prison conditions in the US, one can almost understand this type of punishment.

There are/were other forms besides the pillory. The “scold’s bridle” was a punishment designed to humiliate as well as to hurt. It took many different appearances but in essence it was always a metal cage clamped around the head with a built-in gag. Sometimes it included a bell which rang when the “scold” was paraded around the town. A scold was defined as a “troublesome and angry woman who by brawling and wrangling amongst her neighbors breaks the public peace, increases discord and becomes a public nuisance to the neighborhood”. It’s unclear why women were singled out, but the practice was most likely part of a pervasive culture of gender discrimination. It looked like this:

scolds bridle

scolds bridle

Speaking of bells, there’s also this image (I don’t know if it is an authentic interpretation of history):

forced labor

forced labor

Public flogging is another type of punishment as humiliation. It’s also still practiced today in some parts of the world. This is a whipping post in Delaware used to discipline African slaves:

African Slaves Whipping Post Delawar

The supposed justification of all forms of punishment by way of public humiliation is the need to “send a message” and express the norms of society. Humiliation is also believed to be a strong deterrent.

I haven’t mentioned public executions which have more or less the same purpose. Read about those elsewhere.

However, let’s finish on a lighter touch. Here the amazing Frank Zappa with “Whippin’ Post”:

Standard