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  • Where was the war?

    The scud was near the hotel but we were not at the hotel but the war was in the air, in the sky, in the shooting sounds, but where is the war in the picture...?

    This has possessed me, maybe obsessed me: where is the war?

    If the war is in the war, and the war is in the city, and the war is in the street and the street is in the country, why is the war not in the photo?

    Where is the war?

    I've seen it when the war is in the picture, and that seems to satisfy the viewer, and later, it seems to satisfy the viewer in me. But the things which stay in you, which won't let go, the demons of story, they are the demons which demand: Madame, if you are so smart, where is the war? We see the newspaper stand with the books, we see the man with his greens asking for something, we see the mosque in the background, we see the women in denim, the secular signs of Saddam Hussein, we see other women changing and changed, but where is the war?

    This can't be war, if the picture could be anywhere.

    But the picture could not be anywhere.

    But the (gentle, well-meaning, seeking) debating society says: I am not seeing it.

    So I say: Sir, Ma'am, Miss, Ms., friend, Ma, Pa (rest in peace), Brother (but you knew), relations, connections: the war is in me. The picture is true, the picture is a fraud of heart, it is true, I took it, it was in a war, it was Baghdad, it is Baghdad, this is Baghdad, but the negative is inside me. It keeps redeveloping.

    The picture is like the pictures I took of Buenos Aires, during that Dirty War. Baghdad and B.A. ,now you see it, now you don't, now you see them, now you don't. What is the picture of the disappeared?

    They are inside me.

    Light for dark, dark for light. I am a human darkroom. This is war.


    (Photo by Susan, 1986, Baghdad.)
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