Dalia Khamissy: Lebanon's missing

I finally got round to watching this almost a week after Ben of Duckrabbit sent out an email to let us know it was up and live on the BBC website. I haven't yet listened to the accompanying, longer radio documentary but I am about to. Kudos to the BBC for letting us download this as a podcast (which they do for so many of their wonderful programs).

It is fantastic stuff. The audio interviews drive the narrative and inform us of the events. The balance of stills and video is well thought out and there's some great synchronicity and juxtaposition between the audio and visual. A couple of quibbles: I do always prefer subtitles to voice over translation (though this doesn't work too well on the radio!) and DJ shadow's little interlude feels out of place. But that's me being picky. Overall - and this is the most important thing - what I see and hear informs me and educates me about a situation I previously had no knowledge of, gives me an insight into the thoughts and feelings of those involved, gives me pause and forces me to contemplate the lives of those who I have just been offered a glimpse of, makes me examine my own thoughts and feelings about my own life and situation and takes me to a place a long way from the quiet and peaceful room I am now in, so much so that my mind actually jarred when I looked up from the computer to see it still silently snowing outside my window.

That's powerful reporting.

As Ben states: "Few know about the Missing in Lebanon, which is why I think it's an important story to be heard. Not because the broadcast will change anything dramatically but because memory is resistance against the same atrocities being repeated."

Unfortunately Ben also hits here on a troublesome point for the journalist - will telling this story change anything for the better? I am sure that the men and boys who went missing 30 years ago are no longer alive. This much is made clear. What can be done then? Well, the key here in this instance is the second sentence from the above quote "...memory is resistance against the same atrocities being repeated."

I couldn't have put it more succinctly myself.

Great stuff from Dalia Khamissy and thanks to Benjamin Chesterton and the BBC for bringing it to us in this form.

The Lost Photos of the New York Blizzard

I am gutted I missed the great 2010 New York Blizzard. Even if it did mean a cancelled flight for me and a few extra days in London with good friends and a wonderful experience to see the inner truth of rude, surly unhelpful Virgin Atlantic staff (but that's another story). Anyway. Someone was about to have fun in the snow, though they promptly lost a roll of film, which was found (hurrah!). The finder - Todd Bieber - has put together this charming video with the hope of returning the film to it's owner.

And yes, Todd, Holidays are what we call Vacations in Europe..

A sensible analysis

While I descended into the valley of rants and expletives about the fact that a man can buy a gun really only useful for murder - game hunters tend to use rifles, not full clips - that he can wander up to a public political figure, shoot them in the head and then proceed to scatter bullets into a crowd, that the right wing ultra conservatives (let's call them fascists, why not eh?) plead their rhetorical invective and support of gun carrying has nothing to do with it at all; Jim Johnson took a much more sensible and measured approach which is well worth a read if you want to clarify your thoughts into a sensible argument against the idea that certain political and social environments do not and cannot have any bearing on an individuals actions.

Read it here.

You have the right to bear arms..

Here's a quiet, considered and thoughtful video piece on the Arizona shootings from Dan Chung.

Now on to my less than considered, caffeine fueled rant. Apologies in advance for the profanity.

Guns, guns, guns. When will you people learn? If you let people buy guns, they will use them on each other. Sure, loads of people buy guns and only ever shoot them at paper targets. But all it takes is for one person to point it at another person (or people) and squeeze the trigger and people get killed. You go off to shoot a politician a nine year old girl gets killed for fucks sake. What the fuck is wrong with you?

Now, this may all seem rather obvious but it seems that for some people it just isn't. What the fuck do you need a gun for? Why the fuck do you need to turn your home into an armory? What are you afraid of? Terrorists? Thieves? Crackheads? The King of England? Socialist left wing pinko commies? Your own shadow?

Stop taking your kids to the shop, buying weapons and calling them 'toys'. Fuck your second amendment 'right'. It's bullshit.

Oh yeah, and while I'm at, Fuck all you gun loving right wing fascist murdering bastards. I don't care if you've never held a gun in your life, you war mongering violence loving hate inducing pricks. We may all have blood on our hands but you're up to your elbows in it.

Fuck it.

I'm off to laugh darkly at this.

Teenager's Photography from Haiti.

What's the best advice you can give a photographer, writer, journalist, film maker, general creative person? I don't know, but high up there is being passionate about what you're doing, getting involved with the things closet to your heart. Living in it, being part of it. Dispense with the myth of objectivity, stop pretending you're invisible and get involved.

Anyway, we are always rolling out the 'giving a voice to the voiceless' axiom, and what better way to do that than to let people tell their own stories. So kudos to everyone out there doing just that, like Natasha Fillion who has run a workshop in Haiti giving teenagers cameras. This has of course resulted in some of the best photography I have seen coming out of that country in the past year.

Now about that whole rebuilding the country thing....