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A Review: The Photographer

I just checked out a a fascinating graphic novel from my library called: The Photographer. It’s about a Doctor Without Borders group knows as Medecins Sans Frontieres ( MSF) in the novel, who work in war torn Afghanistan during the 1986 conflict with the Soviets.

The story is told through sequential art with illustrations by Emmanuel Guibert and photographs by the late Didier Lefevre. Images are gripping and will often times make the reader cry or set the book down in horror and outrage, but there are glimmers of hope in the Photographer’s pages as well. However, one still gets a sensation of guilt from U.S and former superpower hegemony and dependency theory.

Why must industrialized countries annex and or marginalize countries that are depended on for food and energy resources? It makes no sense to me now. Perhaps more life experience will provide an answer. There is one eye opener in the books introduction and that is the origin of Afghanistan’s relationship with Osama Bin Laden.

Osama Bin Laden’s father was a self-made man from Yemen who made his fortune on Saudi Arabia and developed a friendship with Saudi royal. Growing up with such a privileged background and obvious networking skills from his father, Osama became very influential. He used his inherited charisma and family wealth, Osama helped the Afghans fund a successful opposition to Soviet occupation. In return, the Afghans gave Bin Laden their friendship for being instrumental in the liberation of their country. Unfortunately, Bin Laden wouldn’t drop the habit of forming and funding militias and now turns his miniature army towards any country he sees as a threat, including the U.S who helped him come to power in a short-sighted alliance bring down the Soviet Union.
I guess the man hates super-powers of any kind no matter how reasonable and wishes them all to be eradicated. The paradox is, if Al Qaeda succeeds, Osama will becomes exactly the sort of power juggernaut he hates.

Enjoy these scans from The Photographer. i hope you pick up the book. It’s a humbling story that will open the mind and suppress the practice of altierity.

The Photographer
by Guibert, Lefevre and Lemercier
English Translation ©2009 First Second Books


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