Perhaps you’ve heard the horrific news out of Egypt and Syria this week. But have you seen it?
The latest to come from Cairo is that 36 Egyptians were killed in the back of a police van after officers fired tear gas canisters into the closed truck bed. There are no photos. The bodies were taken, as most of the recent 800+ killed have been, to Zeinhom morgue (photo above; credit: Bloomberg), to lie in rows and be (mis)identified by medical examiners instructed by the state to list “natural” causes of death in order to exonerate the bloodthirsty state.
I’ve written elsewhere about how this malpractice reflects the power of state authority over scientific objectivity, attesting to the structuralist understanding that truth is a function of power, not fact. But photographs of those killed carry immense truth-making power, and in the face of whitewashing propaganda, are necessary tools in the corporal struggle for justice.
So, I suggest you to look at the photos of some of the dead, beginning with the infamous cell phone shot of Khaled Said in his mortuary drawer (below, GRAPHIC). The truth of this photograph, against the falsified autopsies and fake police defenses, galvanized the Egyptian people to protest in January 2011, much as the videos of Oscar Grant’s shooting on the BART platform galvanized, in particular, black Americans, who remember the tragedies of Rodney King, Emmett Till, and now Trayvon Martin.
And then, if you have the stomach and eyes for it, you can look at these incredibly incredibly tragic photos from Syria where, just this morning, an estimated 600 people were killed in a chemical weapons attack, the worst since Sadam Hussein in 1988. It’s hard for me to believe this is fact, not fiction..