avatar
PHOTOGRAPHS


The first photo is well known.

Migrant Mother (Dorothea Lange, 1936)

Some say it’s a lie.
Okay, the real story of the woman photographed, as well as the story behind the taking of the photo was a bit beside the story told.
But the image served its purpose adequately.
I’m not bothered.
 
The second picture is not so famous – some fifty years later. It is about a crash of an aircraft in Italy, Ustica, under suspicious circumstances, never clarified.
Un carabiniere ispeziona il relitto dell’ Itavia, che é stato ricostruito nell’hangar …  (copyright ANSA).
 
To translate the caption seems a bit unnecessary to me, about as superfluous as to mention that this is a big lie. The lie is so obvious that it doesn’t bother me either. To put it more kindly: deception or leg-pulling. I think there will be no person in the whole world who for one second will believe that this man is inspecting whatever there is to inspect. No doubt the photographer has asked the man to climb the wreck and to put an expression on his face akin to distrust. A bad actor. Obvious the wrong man at the wrong place.
 
The last image is very recent.
Pope Benedict XVI, with the Rev. José Rodriguez Carballo, in Jordan on Saturday atop Mount Nebo, where the Bible says Moses saw the Promised Land (Karsten Coall/Getty images)
 
Does this photograph tell the truth.
Yes and no.
 
Yes, because beyond any doubt it is the Pope and it is the place. And even if it’s not the exact location where Moses saw the promised land, it does suit to satisfy our imagination.
 
But, there’s also a lie
He speaks of his desire to overcome all obstacles to the reconciliation of Christians and Jews in mutual respect. Now, at the moment of speaking, there’s nothing wrong between the western world, filled with Christianity and Jewish Christian roots, and her Israeli friends.
And he says: from this holy mountain Moses directs our gaze on high, to the fulfilment of all God’s promises in Christ. Well, that can wait.
But, can you see promised land without seeing land-robbery?
Can you see migration, people moving in, without people on the run, being smoked out, people on transport?
There’s the big lie. Seeing unrelentingness, smelling injustice and telling mercy.
 
Florence Owen Thompson wrote a letter to the local newspaper and revealed her identity. Her children gave some additional information.
 
The carabiniere is very Italian, used to the dark side of history: never tell the truth when nobody is asking.
 
But the Pope, who is all and only truth, the Lords own Deputy, and therefore being Moses at the very proper side of the Jordan – he will never write a letter. He has another priority: to overcome the obstacles to the reconciliation of Christians and Jews.

Leave a comment