Syria: a scathingly beautiful photograph of the edge of starvation | Jonathan Jones

From Aid | The Guardian Fri Dec 14 2012, 08:10:21

Artfulness only adds to this picture's stark reality. Here is a sinister new chapter in the war between Assad and his people

This eloquent picture tells of the terrifying hunger crisis now unfolding in war-battered Syria. The children's faces as they reach out their empty pots for food distributed by a Turkish NGO at a camp for internal refugees near the north Syrian city of Azaz are beams of pain and desperation that cut through the fog of news to tell the direct human truth: Syrians are on the edge of starving.

The picture is scathingly beautiful. Does the light that gives these desperate faces such a ruddy glow come from a fire, or truck headlights, or was it provided by the photographer? The way the mysterious illumination picks out frightened eyes and pleading expressions from surrounding darkness is positively painterly. It is like a candlelit scene by Joseph Wright of Derby or Georges de la Tour. The way the children reach out their arms and wave their shiny pots has the dramatic gestural power of Caravaggio's paintings.

But this artfulness only adds to the picture's stark reality. Here is a photograph whose aesthetic authority deepens its shocking news. This brutally poignant picture documents a rapidly unfolding and sinister new chapter in the war between Bashar al-Assad and his own people. On Tuesday, the UN announced that more than half a million Syrian refugees are officially registered - but the UN seems to be behind the curve on accurate figures. Meanwhile western aid is simply invisible in Syria.

[view whole blog post ]
 See More    |     Report Abuse


You might also be interested in the following news stories:

South Sudan:   Cholera Down but Malaria and Parasitic Disease Up - MSF (news)
Thomson Reuters Foundation
29 August 2014

South Sudan's cholera crisis is waning but humanitarian workers are now battling increased cases of malaria and the parasitic disease kala azar, with children most affected. [read more]

Somalia:   Key Town Retaken From Al-Shabab (news)
Voice of America
30 August 2014

Somali and African Union (AMISOM) forces have re-taken the southwestern town of Bulomarer and several neighboring villages as part of an offensive against al-Shabab in the country's Lower Shabelle ... [read more]

Somalia:   11 Killed As Militants Attack Prison (news)
Voice of America
31 August 2014

At least 11 people are dead after Somali security forces repelled an attack on a prison housing al-Shabab militants in Mogadishu. [read more]



blogAfrica is allAfrica.com's platform to help you keep an ear on the African blogosphere. We draw diverse voices from around the world who post regularly and insightfully about African issues. Bloggers, submit your blog's rss-feed!