Shah Marai, and 8 Heroes

It might be a fascination with documentary photography. It might be the attraction to viewing distant lands, often for the pleasure of mentally traveling while staring at the computer screen, at times to see what the fuck is really going on in the world.

The sun is here longer and longer these days. Spring is finally here. Kids running around, families gathering at the park, people grilling and having sufficient beers to satisfy the world’s thirst problems. The suburban life couldn’t be better. Calm, peaceful, expected.

Not in Syria. Not in Afghanistan. Not in numerous other countries which I cannot even begin to mention because I myself am too busy going on living my life and rather look at some sit-com than some news broadcast all day.

Fortunately for Instagram though, because I always get to see the latest street photography competition winner, or an amusing photo by some clever and talented photographer.

But what about Shah Marai? What about the 8 other reporters and journalists that were gruesomely murdered by a trap explosion in Afghanistan on April 30th?

They weren’t on my Instagram feed, and it’s dreadful that I have to discover Marai and his peers in these circumstances.

What is my understanding of what happened is that there was a suicide bombing, and as the press and journalists went there to document it, to show the world, there was a second suicide bomber attack.

The names of these heroes are:

Shah Marai, photographer for Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Ebadullah Hananzai, from Radio Free Europe

Sabawoon Kakar, from Radio Free Europe

Yar Mohammad Tokhi, a Tolonews cameraman

Ghazi Rasooli, a 1TV reporter

Nowrooz Rajabj, a 1TV cameraman

Saleem Talash, a Mashal TV reporter

Mahram Durani, a journalist from Shamsad TV

Ali Salimi, a Mashal TV cameraman

 

I cannot imagine a world without news. We are surrounded by data and know exactly what advertisement to show you based on your Facebook profile. It’s ok, the world has moved in that direction and the masses have bought into it. There is nothing wrong with it.

Sometimes I just wish that reporting and journalism would be regarded with a higher value than what we’ve become accustomed to. In the plethora of visual imagery that surrounds us nowadays photos and footage become devalued. Anyone can open a newspaper, be it print or online, and there are so many images that as viewers and readers we end up taking them for granted.

But, like many and many times before, Marai his colleagues put their lives for the images, and I think it is important that we take a moment to remember them as Humans before reporters.

Below are some of Marai’s images I found on various websites. They are of Afghanistan, a place that may be synonymous with War, but that also, thanks to Marai’s photos, is akin to humanity, grace, love and respect. Not much different than anywhere else, definitely not the Detroit suburbs.

An Afghan woman from the Uzbek ethnic group feeds pigeons in front of the shrine of Hazrat-i-Ali in Mazar-e Sharif on Feb. 28, 2007. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghan amputees practice walking with their prosthetic legs at a hospital run by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for war victims and the disabled in Kabul. Photo by Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images.
Afghan bodybuilders participate in the Mr. Afghanistan nation-wide bodybuilding competition in Kabul. Photo by Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images.
A female Afghan boxer takes part in a training session at Ghazi Stadium in Kabul. Photo by Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images.
An Afghan day laborer pours a cup of tea while taking a break after loading coal onto a truck at a coal yard on the outskirts of Kabul on April 13, 2014. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)
Afghan devotees greet each other after offering Eid-al-Adha prayers at the Shah-e Do Shamshira mosque in Kabul. Photo by Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images.
Shah Marai

 

Through this blog post I hope to share the memory and legacy of the 9 who gave their lives so you and I could see a little clearer, and also thank reporters and photojournalist for what they give us daily. I am grateful of having access to information through their writing and visual artistry.

 

Until Next Time,

Gio