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War and Peace

This week Australia and New Zealand commemorated ANZAC Day*. As part of this event, the Gallipoli Art Prize is given out to the artwork that a panel of judges feel best depicts the spirit of the Gallipoli Campaign, as expressed in the Club’s creed of  “…loyalty, respect, love of country, courage and comradeship….”.

Watching various TV clips with artist who were sent to, or chose to go to, warzones in order to document something so horrific got me humming to myself. The tune I was humming was Kevin Carter by Manic Street Preachers.

Kevin Carter was a photographer who documented the apartheid in South Africa and much of the starvation throughout Africa. He’s most famous for his Pulitzer Prize winning photo of a starving child with a vulture in the background, seemingly just waiting for the girl to die.

Kevin Carter's Pulitzer Prize winning photograph

Kevin Carter's Pulitzer Prize winning photograph
Author & Copyright Owner: Kevin Carter

He committed suicide at the age of 33, his suicide note reading:

“I am depressed … without phone … money for rent … money for child support … money for debts … money!!! … I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain … of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners … I have gone to join Ken if I am that lucky.”

You can read more about Kevin Carter in this Wikipedia article.

You can’t help but wonder how many people in this position suffer these sorts of psychological effects. I can’t imagine the feeling of being so helpless surrounded by such terrible things. We should never forget the men who gave their lives, or the men who documented it.

Kevin Carter features on the Manic Street Preachers‘ album Everything Must Go which is available on Spotify.

*For those who don’t know, ANZAC day was originally created to commemorate soldiers of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli during WWI. These days it more broadly commemorates all who fought and died for their country.