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:

Uganda:   Isimba, a Costly Dam (news)
Waza
16 December 2014

Despite objections from local residents, environmental groups, and tour operators, the Ugandan government plans to go ahead with the construction of a third hydroelectric dam across the Nile. This ... [read more]

Congo-Kinshasa:   Looming Offensive Prompts 'Humanitarian Fallout' Fears (analysis)
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
16 December 2014

Plans by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) army and UN peacekeepers to again take on one of the oldest insurgencies in the country have sparked concern for civilian populations and raised ... [read more]

Uganda:   Repatriation of Former M23 Rebels Turns Violent (news)
Deutsche Welle
16 December 2014

A bid by Ugandan authorities to repatriate former M23 rebels back to the Democratic Republic of Congo has turned violent. Dozens escaped en route to the airport. Ugandan troops were accused of ... [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!