Photography is the theme for our recommended readings this edition.
Lana Slezic Introduction by Deborah Ellis
In March 2004, award-winning Canadian photographer Lana Slezic went to Afghanistan with, in her own words, "preconceived notions and a knapsack full of naivety." She believed the ousting of the Taliban in 2001 meant that girls were back at school, women had discarded the burka, and the environment was less oppressive for women. What Slezic discovered about the truth prompted her to lengthen a six week assignment into a two-year stay.
During that time, Slezic travelled quietly and unobtrusively through many regions of Afghanistan, talking to women and girls who were willing to tell her their stories. The Afghan women were warm, generous, and eager to share their time with her. Yet, without exception, everywhere Slezic went she encountered issues of domestic violence, forced marriage, seclusion, illiteracy, and a lack of freedom on the most basic of levels.
Today, every Western organization with an interest in Afghan women -- from NGOs to the US and Canadian governments -- is developing aid plans. What we tend to forget, Slezic shows us, is that the people most knowledgeable about the issue are the Afghan women themselves. With its searing stories and heart stopping, full-colour images, Forsaken allows some of these women to speak directly to us, and in the process attempts to redress the imbalance in the conversation.
From Anansi Press Catalogue
A Pulitzer Prize — winning journalist takes us on a personal and historic journey from Mogadishu through Rwanda to Afghanistan and Iraq.
With the click of a shutter the world came to know Staff Sgt. William David Cleveland Jr. as a desecrated corpse. In the split-second that Paul Watson had to choose between pressing the shutter release or turning away, the world went quiet and Watson heard Cleveland whisper: "If you do this, I will own you forever." And he has.
Paul Watson was born a rebel with one hand, who grew up thinking it took two to fire an assault rifle, or play jazz piano. So he became a journalist. At first, he loved war. He fed his lust for the bang-bang, by spending vacations with guerrilla fighters in Angola, Eritrea, Sudan, and Somalia, and writing about conflicts on the frontlines of the Cold War. Soon he graduated to assignments covering some of the world's most important conflicts, including South Africa, Rwanda, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
Watson reported on Osama bin Laden's first battlefield victory in Somalia. Unwittingly, Watson's Pulitzer Prize—winning photo of Staff Sgt. David Cleveland — whose Black Hawk was shot down over the streets of Mogadishu — helped hand bin Laden one of his earliest propaganda coups, one that proved barbarity is a powerful weapon in a modern media war. Public outrage over the pictures of Cleveland's corpse forced President Clinton to order the world's most powerful military into retreat. With each new beheading announced on the news, Watson wonders whether he helped teach the terrorists one of their most valuable lessons.
Much more than a journalist's memoir, Where War Lives connects the dots of the historic continuum from Mogadishu through Rwanda to Afghanistan and Iraq.
From McClelland Publishing Catalogue