Days of Art – Same Hate, Different Day

History lies. That is, the human interpretation of historical events is and has always been subject to change and distortion from historians. Stated more directly, people bend facts in order to substantiate whatever socio-political view they are expectorating. However photos, although subject to the same distortions as anything else, are unique in that they allow anyone access to their truths to formulate their own opinion.

We can be swayed by our leaders, bent by the media, convinced by our prejudices, but a photo is simply a snapshot of what happened during that fraction of a second. No matter how we lie about the event, the photo doesn’t change.

JapaneseAmericansChildrenPledgingAllegiance1942-2

First-graders, some of Japanese ancestry, at the Weill public school, San Francisco, Calif., pledging allegiance to the United States flag. The evacuees of Japanese ancestry were housed in War relocation authority centers for the duration of the war – 1942 April – Photo by Dorothea Lange

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 09: Muslim protester Farzana Sabrina waves an American flag at a large anti-war rally in Union Square on April 9, 2011 in New York City. Thousands of protesters called for the U.S. to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a large Muslim contingent protested against war and Islamophobia. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Farzana Sabrina

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 09: Muslim protester Farzana Sabrina waves an American flag at a large anti-war rally in Union Square on April 9, 2011 in New York City. Thousands of protesters called for the U.S. to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a large Muslim contingent protested against war and Islamophobia. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Farzana Sabrina

We can smell the stink of lies and hatred, and our brains will remember similar smells on past events. But these memories are just rumor, without substantiation. Photography gives us the weapon to convince ourselves that these memories are right. Truth is the weapon–the only weapon–we have against lies and hatred.

With truth, we can, hopefully, avoid the stink of past mistakes. Maybe truth will force us to ask, “Why do they hate us?” “Do they all hate us?” and more importantly, “For the few who hate us, what have we done, and how can we make things right?”

Truth is the weapon that protects the world. We artists, we writers, we photographers, we few, are the world’s protection from itself. Take not the job lightly, for it is a gift of lasting responsibility. Breathe, my children. Breathe, and then do. Truth awaits.

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