As we approach the launch date of my Casualty 14-18 project, wars continue, and have done ever since the official end of the First World War. In fact, according to this article in the New York Times “of the past 3,400 years, humans have been entirely at peace for 268 of them, or just 8 percent of recorded history”.
Yesterday, I saw this infographic from an article by Mark Oliver, Andrew Marszal, and Sam Dodge in The Telegraph, posted on Facebook. Every person under-18 killed in the current Gaza conflict (at the time) named individually.
It seems to be a similar attempt to personalise the tragedy by naming each of the victims individually. As I said in my previous post, I decided not to represent each casualty any more individually than as a generic humanoid figure. For my own project, it would not be even remotely possible to record the name, age and gender of each victim, although it would no doubt be possible for many millions. However, I am not sure that the above variations in size and colour of the graphic symbols add anything after the name and age.
I jettisoned the age and gender distinctions fairly early on, but my work attempts to accumulate a rather different appreciation of loss.
Below is a montage of photographs of some of the two million victims of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. This photo is by Wen Photos from her blog and was taken in the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The photos are inmate mugshots.
These photos from Cambodia are by far the most heartbreaking of any commemoration, as the formalised recording of them gives away some of the horror of the highly organised genocide that considered children as enemies of the state. Worst of all is the looks on their faces that could not possibly comprehend what was about to happen to them or why.
There are no justifiable reasons.