The war in eastern Congo may not be attracting the consideration it deserves from the media and the upper echelon of the international diplomatic community, but that doesn't mean no attention is being paid. In addition to the dozen or so journalists who are posting regularly from the Kivus, several photographers are documenting the conflicts there. Here are a few recently published photos that struck me.
1) This photo by Dominic Narh of Magnum of a young man mourning the death of his father seems to me to strike the right balance in depicting suffering without being overly intrusive. The man's face is largely hidden, protecting his dignity, even as his drawn-in body evokes the universal language of grief. Note the contrast between the bright red of his sweater and the dark shabby clothes of the people passing on the crumbling cement veranda behind him. The fact that some of the pedestrians are half-turned toward him, while others are simply walking past, provides a useful footnote to usual Auden/Breughel observation. But to me what gives this photo its precise measure of rightness is the caption, which provides the name and occasion for the man's grief, lifting it from the universal to the particular.
|Mujinga Lokuli Grace (21) mourns after finding the body of his father who was a DRC |
government military doctor who was killed the day before as rebels took the city of Goma.
Dominic Narh. Magnum Photos. 11/18/12
2) The things they left behind. The Congolese army melted into the civilian population as Goma fell, abandoning their uniforms, weapons, and anything else that might give them away to the Rwandans. I'm wondering if these army boots ever had laces, or if the soldier who owned them took the laces for repurposing on civilian shoes. Yes, it's a little Van Gogh-y, but still.
|Items left behind by soldiers who fled. Photos taken in the|
neighborhoods of Volcans and Mabanga.
Alain Wandimoyi. France 24. 11/22/12
3) This photo by Phil Moore of AFP of Monusco blue helmets manning a protective barrier near Goma appears at first glance to show two soldiers doing their job under dangerous conditions. But something about their relaxed, almost casual demeanor provides a sardonic comment on Monusco's impotence in eastern Congo. By extension, it constitutes a sharp criticism of the international community's continuing indifference to the plight of eastern Congolese.
|Uruguyan United Nations peacekeepers man a defensive position on the outskirts|
of Goma, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Phil Moore. AFP/Getty. 11/20/12