Bearing witness to the atrocities, brutality and embedded humanity in war is difficult. Embedded journalism is fraught with challenges and even projects like Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone faced problems of continued support for sustained coverage.
In this context comes a compelling website from Reuters, documenting 5 years of a tragic war in Iraq. Bearing Witness: Five Years of the Iraq War documents in through an interactive timeline, maps and other multimedia, facets of war and life in Iraq after the US led invasion of the country in March 2003. There are some disturbing, viscerally compelling images here by Goran Tomasevic.
There is, and never can be, any single source or definitive account of a war. Efforts such as this however, through captivating visuals and an interactive narrative, pull in viewers to critically look at a brutal, useless war that we have long since normalised.
Closer to home, and we will never find photographic evidence of this nature on our own on-going war. More accurately, photos taken for propaganda exclude more than they seek to explore or highlight. There is a qualitative difference between Goran’s photos and those on TRO’s Flickr stream, the Sri Lankan Army website or those featured in any number of Sinhala and Tamil diaspora sites that exclusively feature the brutality of the ‘other’, but never the consequences of one’s own violence.