Saturday, July 4, 2009

july sky

volunteer milita. philippines. 2002
8.5x11 c-print

Every year around this time, the neighborhood is poppin’. Literally. The heat of the summer is beginning to settle in. The block starts to get hot. When fireworks start to pop off, I can’t help but pause for a moment and wonder if it was live ammunition. Drive-bys here are no ghetto fairy tale. They happen.

And it’s not just here. Bullets fly world wide. Bombs are bursting in air. On other parts of the globe, children fear the very sounds that give American children joy. While traveling in the Philippines, I photographed a group of volunteer militia. A few months prior, I had spent time with people who had fought with or supported guerilla forces. I heard horror stories about these volunteer militias. I thought of Leno Brocka’s, “Oropronobis”, a film about human rights violations committed by volunteer militias during the Aquino administration. I wanted to hate these men, but instead I thought of the tragedy of war itself--not the men holding the guns. They gave themselves to the lens without hestitation and with all honesty--the war machine cranking its gears right before my eyes.

On the Fouth of July, I remember that war is real. As I marvel at the beauty of the July sky, a part of me is quite and thankful for the privilege of entertainment and the opportunity to enjoy a summer night. I remember those I have met who have been in war. And I take a moment of silence for those who have lost their lives in the struggle.

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