I have to be honest, I didn’t go out to shoot anything about conflict on Armistice Day. I went out to shoot Boar’s Head Rock, but as I pulled into the car park at Kingston on the Moray Firth the clock struck 11.00 and the radio held me captive to the strikes of the clock, and then the two minute silence.
I lost the grandfather, my mother’s father, a man I would never meet, in WWII. I have some of my grandfather’s, my father’s father’s, medals at home. A man I can barely remember, except sitting once on his knee, when I was no more than three. Yet still I found myself shedding tears.
Although I am now rapidly rushing headlong into ‘middle age’, WWII was a conflict I never experienced, and men and women who I have never met carry the scars of this war and of the wars before it. I do remember, quite vividly, the Falklands, and both forays into the deserts of Afghanistan and Kuwait, of harrowing reports from the Balkans, of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Rwanda and Sudan, and now the refugee crisis and destruction of much of Syria, and of many other regions of the middle east.
I grew up as a photographer on war. Don McCullin inspired me to pick up a camera, his pictures haunting me in my teenage years. I cannot imagine what others have seen, I can only see what I have seen, and what I continue to see. I question our humanity.
As I sit here, on a cold, dark, 11th of November in 2016; Donald Trump has just been elected as President of the US, Putin continues to flex muscle in the countries what once made up the USSR, and in countries that hoped they were now at peace. ISIS brings new horrors to our world on a daily basis, in the (false) name of a religion that is, in its true form, more peaceful than most others.
As we remember the conflicts of our species on this day, wherever we are in the world, whatever our colour, nationality, religion, race, tribe, creed, whatever token or name you want to cling on to, please let us remember that at the end of this day every person who dies has a family, has friends, has dreams, and has a right to life.
#armisticeday #conflictreporting #rememberance #callforpeace #war #conflict #peace