Susie Linfield

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Lucas Jackson/Reuters. A woman looking at images of dead bodies taken in Syria by the former military police photographer “Caesar,” at an exhibition held at the United Nations headquarters, New York City, March 10, 2015

The following photographs contain disturbing content. They show people whom Human Rights Watch understands to have died in the custody of the Syrian government, either in detention facilities or after being transferred to a military hospital.

—The Editors

The war in Syria is an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe; it represents, too, the greatest political failure of the past decade—one that historians might well come to regard as the shame of our generation, for Westerners and Middle Easterners alike. Despite its savagery, the war has been extensively—though, critics say, ineffectively—documented in still photographs, videos, films, and on cellphones. This criticism rests on a misunderstanding of the relationship between photography and politics—a relationship that has been romanticized since Robert Capa and his comrades went to Spain, and that led to some of Susan Sontag’s sharpest insights in On Photography.…  Seguir leyendo »

The recently released images from a cache of 55,000 photographs depicting emaciated, strangled and beaten corpses — allegedly taken in the jails of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad — are terrible to view. They are also bewildering. The photographs, which document the deaths of some 11,000 detainees, were taken not by the opposition but at the behest of Mr. Assad’s regime. Wouldn’t such a government — wouldn’t any government — want to hide its crimes rather than record them?

Though this trove of photographs was not meant for release — it was reportedly smuggled out of the country by a defector — these are not the first images of savagery produced by the Syrian regime.…  Seguir leyendo »