“Sebastian Meyer” Commentary: by Alec Stimac

Questions from Interview with Sebastian Meyer:

  1. Background on the one photo.
  2. Why did you choose to make it the cover of your book?
  3. Where is the line when placing oneself into another’s journey? Do you ever feel like a hinderance to the experiences of others?
  4. What does it mean to you to be a storyteller? What narrative are you trying to create?
  5. How should we respond to photographs of suffering?
  6. There is no war without photography. What does it mean to be a moral witness?
  7. How do you humanize these issues and ensure dehumanization does not occur when showing dead bodies? Human dignity? 
  8. Institutional identity vs. individual identity of subjects you photograph
  9. Who’s deaths and stories are still not being told? What is the community doing about that?
  10. How are you filling in the gaps of history? How are you adding to the narrative written by people of privilege? 
  11. Have you ever lost faith in your work? When did you know it was going to create change? What does it mean to you to see humanity at its worst?
  12. We do not suffer enough when we see those images….what would you say to that?
  13. Must everything be turned into a spectacle to be real? Is there hope within images of pain?

Answers:

“I had to figure out how was I going to visually tell this story.” 

“An inanimate object has a very poignant and moving story behind it. More visual, less writing. I took 100 photographs that day but choose this one because it is graphic, not bloody, but visually appealing. Glass catching light in a certain way. Looks like a painting more than anything else, appealing/pulled in by its attractiveness then it becomes less appealing.”

“The repercussions of publishing photographs of people in anyway, depends on the response you want to create.”

He was able to go find the family of the dead man he took a photo of, which is rare for photographers to be able to do. 

Not intent on change because that is not really his job as a journalist.  

“Audiences differ widely. All the parts of who you are inform your relation to that photograph. It is impossible for me to know the infinite numbers of audience members and how they will react.” 

“I have the story I am trying to tell. Your reaction is your responsibility.” 

“I am telling a story. Nonfiction story. Its subjective, what I include and exclude from the story.” 

“History is such a long arc; journalism is short history. I don’t think in terms of history, I think of the story. ” 

“Human beings love stories where you have the good guy and the bad guy. The reality is, a lot of times the bad guy was the good guy to somebody else or at a different time. And a lot of times the good guy is the bad guy in somebody else’s life. “

“We struggle with this [dilemma] as American citizens, how do we go to war somewhere else? Are we the good guys? Are we the bad guys? Are we somewhere in the middle? “

“Life is not as simple as that. Our greatest heroes were not great people. “

After covering war stories, he realized there is a performative nature to it. People want to perform for the camera. People model themselves off of images of war they have seen before to look like the hero. 

“Photos make you stop and linger over a moment. The photograph is a total fabrication. Every one of these pictures is taken at the very, very slowest at a 30th of a second. You do not see the world like that. You also don’t see the world 2 dimensionally. You are hearing, smelling, seeing at the same time. But this is what it looked like if you stopped. It needs to be seen as such. It allows you to stay on the visual while your brain does other things. “

You stop for the moment. 

 “We look more closely as a photographer. “

Blurred Reality: Unit 8 Assignment 2 by Alec Stimac

“Yes it bothers you. But with painted photographs, so many details are left out or blurred that it all becomes a little more bearable, and one perhaps becomes a little more curious.”

Gerhard Richterh

Photography can be extremely cruel, super up-front and in our faces. There is something unavoidable about the reality that is captured – that millisecond of a memory that stays ingrained into one’s mind. However, reality is even more unbearable, knowing that the photograph itself only allows us to see a fraction of the beauty and the pain behind each frame. But once that still image is blurred, smeared onto the canvass, something else comes into focus: curiosity and attraction. We all of a sudden what to understand a deeper meaning or try to look away but not necessarily know what we are looking at. That is when our curiosity gets the best of us and we can’t look away.

Kurt and Richterh don’t necessarily have an agenda with these paintings, rather just representing periods of time captured in a capsule. All of these images begin to weight you down, because it feels like there is something missing, like they are unfinished. It is up to our imaginations to evoke meaning, with the art standing in as a symbol of the pursuit for truth. As Richterh himself states, “since there is no such thing as absolute rightness and truth, we always pursue the artificial, leading, human truth. We judge and make a truth that excludes other truths. Art plays a formative part in this manufacture of truth.” He isn’t making statements, he makes art. The art itself does the work.

What is consistent behind these images is one thing: simpleness. They are not meant to be grand. They are a simulation. They are photographs of objects, people, who are simply part of history. We, the viewer, give the power to the art. It becomes a relationship where art manufactures the truth and we declare it. The art captures a perspective, a moment, where we complete it and widen it. Just as Kurt did with his art series in the movie “Never Look Away,” Richterh in his whole series on October 18, 1977, stood as an understanding of reality, capturing numerous moments to create one overarching story. It never was just about Meinhof or the RAF, it was about something more, what they stood for and what effect that had in 1977 and today.

Richterh is trying to understand what is, just like the rest of us living our lives. He just does it through painting. It’s not purposeful or personal, its an analogy. It is for us to contribute to and figure out the truth alongside him.

“Theory has nothing to do with a work of art. Pictures which are interpretable, and which contain a meaning, are bad pictures. A picture presents itself as the Unmanageable, the Illogical, the Meaningless. It demonstrates the endless multiplicity of aspects; it takes away our certainty, because it deprives a thing of its meaning and its name. It shows us the thing in all the manifold significance and infinite variety that preclude the emergence of any single meaning and view.”

Richterh’s Notes, 1964-65

“Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen” Commentary: by Alec Stimac

How is it that some of us go away and some of us stay? Some sink into the ocean and some ride a dead man’s suitcase to safety. Some of us are beautiful Chinese girls who don’t age, or dishwashers who die with hands soft as a baby’s.

Some of us arrive in the promised land. Some of us land in Riss River, Oregon. Glittering sand, putrid rain, it’s all the same to us.

Moonie and Mei Ling Wong desire to become somebodies, constantly transforming themselves to impress their love interests, their grandmother, and confront societal pressures. No day is perfect in the the Double Happiness Chinese Restaurant or at home. Their lives are not perfect, but they make it through. They start off as food delivery girls who are finding their sensibility, sexuality, and identity. They grow up. They both become successful women. But what does it take? What makes them Moonie and Mei Ling? How do others see them and how do they seem themselves? What defines them? Is it their Chinese heritage and culture? It is their religion? Their sexual desires? What matters most? Or doe every part of them make them human, faults and all?

These strong female characters engage in intergenerational conflict and revolutionize what it means to assimilate into a dominant culture. Marilyn Chin’s novel is a “public declaration” to end oppression and find the ability to transcend the trails of life towards a path of happiness. It reminds us that we are all human: hardworking, determined, seeking affection and affirmation, all of which is self-realized through both Moonie and Mei Ling in their journey. Everyone wants to find happiness. Whether that be from the neon light of a Chinese Restaurant, going to college and pursuing a degree, or traveling the world, we are all on a quest. Enlightenment only occurs when we look up at the sky and laugh about all the we are going through. We should be helping each other recognize our weaknesses and strengths, bolstering up our identities and being proud of who we are.

The children of immigrants often have high expectations to fill. They live in a dual world: yin and yang. Moonie and Mei Ling become symbols of the immigrant nation. It is not walk in the park, but a roller coaster of emotions.

In the end, these divergent journeys are important and become cyclical. Chin’s tales are informed by Buddhist and Taoist parables, combating stereotypes of Chinese and Asian American identity. We all craft our own journey, that is revolutionary. We have choices and we have parts of us we get to accent. It is up to us to decide who we are more than anyone else, because at the end of it all we are the ones left with our bodies and identities. The twins make forge their own path without rejecting their history and family heritage. They are living in “double happiness,” living the same lives every day but making something new out of it for themselves, their parents, their grandmother, and the world.

Everybody Talks About the Weather: Unit 8 Assignment 1 by Alec Stimac

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum

  • !: Terrorism and radicalism were often confused, instilling fear in all citizens due to the political reform and threat of getting attacked in the media or being thrown in prison for any association.
  • ?: How far did journalism go in order to break stories? In this film, the reporter made up a lot of information about Katharina Blum, and even misquoted and found her mother. What were the limits? Was this the most profitable professions during the time?

Baader-Meinhof Komplex

  • !: Violence escalated when RAF leaders like Baader, Gudrun, and Ulrike were imprisoned and on trial without them having any say about it. The new generation went rouge to make a message. The trial was extremely unfair and led Ulrike to argue with Baaeder and Gudrun, being seen as a traitor and “knife” in the RAF’s back.
  • ?: What is the difference between the leaders getting murdered in the eyes of the new factions of RAF versus committing suicide? How does this change the viewpoints and reactionary responses of the new generation of radicals?

“Shadows of the Summit Pointing West” (1960)

  • !: German was trying to abolish the little bit of democracy that still remained standing – to rule against the interests and will of the people, especially through attitudes of casting “shadows of an unholy past back on to the walls” of Germany.
  • ?: What ended up happening in German later history post-WWII: renewing of guilt or constructive politics of peace? How did the RAF and Ulrike attempt to contribute to fixing/worsening this dilemma?

“Hitler Within You” (1961)

  • !: The younger generation must not stay silent nor allow the past to rest, but rather demand answers. In order to define a “new beginning,” one cannot and must not erase the memory of recent decades of history. They must reject ideas and redefine what it means to be German.
  • ?: How did young Germans go about creating reconciliation with former opponents and co-exist with other countries so another World War would not occur?

“Everybody Talks About the Weather” (1969)

  • !: Women struggled to be perceived as unique or irreplaceable beings in this society even after raising the children who are to take over soon.
  • ?: How did these issues get talked about not as the weather would but with real political potency? What transitioned the mindset of the German people, especially in respect to women and children?

“Women in the SDS: Acting on Their Own Behalf” (1968)

  • !: Is it not the fault of “women liberationists” but rather a societal failure in recognizing their importance.
  • ?: How did women gain a sense of influence in history, purpose, and direction in their work? How did this expand beyond Frankfurt?

“Columnism” (1968)

  • !: Profit and prestige factors were vital to how papers gave an “aura” to the audience of importance and truth. However, the claims columnists made reproduced the issues Germans were facing and did not truly seek change in the broken system but rather stabilized it.
  • ?: How are news-outlets functioning differently after the RAF? How do these compare with the propaganda of today? How did Ulrike change the way columns were viewed? What did she do differently to appeal to mass audiences and gain a following?

Translation of Requiem: Unit 7 Assignment 1 by Alec Stimac

My AT group was split on which translation of Requiem was a better fit to Anna Akhmatova’s original piece. I originally felt that Thomas’s translation offered a more accurate depiction of the original work, bringing sophistication and confusion at the same time. It brought up more questioning and analytical thinking than the Anderson piece. However, Anderson’s translation felt more personal and raw, sticking to a rhyme scheme found in most poetry while being more comprehendible to a native English speaking audience. For instance, the opening lines of “not where the sky’s dome….my own people were” was a lot easier to understand in Anderson’s translation, being direct while sticking to classic methods of poetry writing. However, due to the complexity found in Thomas’s translation, I found that one more appealing (ex: “I need to kill and kill again my memory, turn my heart to stone…)” making me think more and longer about each word choice. It felt like free verse and more metaphorical in its prose. Ultimately, Thomas was more professional in his approach while Anderson sought the personal emotion found in Requiem’s original writing.

! Poets held a lot of power politically that is normally unfound in most countries, which lead to a lot of them being held in prisons or killed.

? Where else does art hold a lot of political meaning (other countries and eras) and how how does nonfictional writing/ fictional novels under the social realism compete in accurately depicting these harsh experiences?

“Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust” Commentary: by Alec Stimac

Dr. David Shneer, a Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, composed a novel about photojournalism to view the relationship between Jews and the Soviet Union through the lens of repression and silence. Shneer explores the archive of numerous photographers, ranging from Evgenii Khaldei (1917-1997) to Dmitrii Baltermants (1912-1990), to analyze how these wartime witnesses were the first liberators to show Nazi atrocities from a perspective no one else could see. These acts of liberation occurred as early as 1942, not as late as 1945 which has been assumed by many scholars, altering the course of this history. Additionally, Shneer underscored the different visual icons, such as gates, gas chambers, empty, ravines, and people themselves, that have been used or exploited in images across diverse platforms. In the end, both the weight of World War II and the Holocaust have been imbedded in Soviet Jewish identity, changing how we can think about the Holocaust more generally outside of Germany’s borders. Shneer did an excellent job highlighting how Jews strove towards universalism in the Soviet Union and worldwide to ensure the Jewish story was told while resisting the Nazi dehumanization of their identities.

This lecture brought to mind Susan Sontag’s novel Regarding the Pain of Others, where she reckons with humanity’s response to war and photography. While photography is not vital to war’s occurrence, it is an integral part of the history of war. The image that struck me the most was Khaldei’s “Scorched Earth” (Murmansk, June 1942), where a distressed woman was walking into a decimated residential area. Smokestacks were the only parts of the home that had remain intact. These pieces were not only once part of the home but also were at the heart of what family and warmth stood for. However, they now have become living witnesses to the destruction and chaos surrounding the Jewish community. Images help fill in the gaps of history, the parts we cannot see in the written word. They emulate parts of the human experience we will never experience but can empathize with. History without photography would be less complete and whole. In order to uncover the larger story of Nazi atrocities against the USSR taking place in people’s backyards, the people who live through these experiences must be heard and seen. The events shown happened so close to the people affected and it is through photography that we can get a glimpse into the true horror of World War II’s history. The purpose of photos will change over time, from news to memorial, but will forever add to the historical archive.

The Two Cultures: Unit 6 Assignment 2 by Alec Stimac

! : “[Non-scientists] vigorously refuse to be corralled in a cultural box” (Snow, 9). There is an ignorance associated with being a part of one of the two cultures. Certain types of people do not want to communicate or think like the other, but they are placing themselves in secluded box just the same as not wanting to be in the other’s “box.” Each group (scientists and non-scientists) has their own culture that is constantly in action and neither is completely right or wrong. I also found it interesting that morals can be different even though “universal” ethical ideas and foundational laws exist.

? : “Have we crystallized so far that we are no longer flexible at all?” (Snow, 19). How are we stuck in a vacuum? Are people really that different that a bridge cannot fill the gap between the scientists and non-scientists. Is Snow stereotyping and generalizing too much here? I believe the Humanities course at Davidson is bringing us closer to bridging this gap. Is full/complete knowledge even possible anymore?

Theories I recognized:

  1. Game Theory
  2. Information Theory
  3. Spacial Relativity
  4. Evolution by Natural Selection
  5. Schrödinger’s Quantum Theory
  6. Heliocentrism

Experiments I recognized:

  1. Mendelian Genetics
  2. Conditioned Reflexes
  3. Newton Eyes Optics
  4. Keystone Species
  5. Marie Curie’s Work Matters
  6. Robert Millikan’s Charge

Ethnic Notions: Unit 6 Assignment 1 by Alec Stimac

! : People were easily influenced by Jim Crow, which lead to a long history of bigotry and racist imagery. The self-image of the African American community has continued to be affected due to the aftermath these performance pieces caused, leading to twisted forms of the same stereotypes in modern day. The indirect wounds caused by the images of coons, pickaninnies, and more were just as painful as the numerous lynchings the African American community had suffered through. The film, “Ethnic Notions,” pulls out the experience and pain through its examination of these “art” forms, which was then used for entertainment during the antebellum period of the civil rights movement. Performance art can have different meanings for different audiences.

? : How does societal/human consciousness of identity (i.e. race, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, etc.) contribute to the interpretation of abstract performances and artwork? What factors in society have contributed to these values and prejudices to be in the forefront of somebody’s understanding of these pieces of art? In other words, did groups of people understand the political significance of their decisions regarding their performance styles and representations of other groups of people (especially in relation with stereotyping)? How has this changed over the course of history (how has it changed form)?

Ritualizing and Archiving the Past: Unit 5 Assignment 1 by Alec Stimac

Schneider’s Performance Remains

! : According to Schneider, the body itself “becomes an archive and host to a collective memory” (pg. 103). The idea of a new history being formed from not only different performative practices but also collective memory is intricate and provides context as to how we ourselves create history, not necessarily through strictly written documentation, but with our actions and physical presence. Internal and external histories become part of the archive (act as the archive).

? : How does Schneider’s idea of “retroaction” and rituals of “domiciliation” or “house arrest” (pg. 105) connect to Ralph Lemon’s Counter-Memorials through ritualization? Is what makes the archive a complex “social” performance the diverse backgrounds, pieces of art, and people that partake in crafting a whole archive? Or does it have to do with the societal impact it has on history and new generations that look into these archival performances?

Birns’ Ritualizing the Past

! : Lemon’s practice of “empirical performance formalism” has become an important factor in how his work is portrayed, crafted, and examined (pg. 19). I found the metaphor of these ritualizations to be like diary entries, each being different in their presentation and responses but able to come together to form one cohesive story/archive, to be profound. However, in the end, only the observer on site can “know” the true, untouched history of what was there compared to a historical marker. Even thought the research isn’t completely evident in the final work, it is still deeply rooted in the final product.

? : Toward the end of the article, Birns’ states, “the horror is gone” (pg. 22). However, is the “horror” of the past truly gone? And can one ever completely make “peace?” I am wondering which ways of approaching these histories is the best option for people to initiate reflection, discussion, and action? What kind of “historical experiences” have proven to be most affective? Do memorials actually make us think the past is finished? In essence, which of these experiences help us gain power to construct change and progression forward (and if they all do, how come things are still complacent today)?

“The Central Park 5 / Raymond Santana” Commentary: by Alec Stimac

How can someone confess to something they did not do?

Was it the fear of the unknown? Were they too young and naive to understand the consequences? Was it forced upon them? What did their faces look like? Did they cry? Did they call out for their parents? Where were they? Who were they? They were children.

The public bought the fake news, their blood pumping full of hate against those five young boys from New York. They were wrongly convicted for sexually assaulting a woman in Central Park and became the most hated people on the Earth. 14 and 15 year old boys. The MOST HATED people on the Earth. And they had to prove the truth, they had to prove their humanity.

Even though Raymond and his new brothers eventually won, they still lost. They are now grown men with a gap of time they can never get back. Society controlled the narrative of their story. But it was a turning point for them, an epiphany. They realized we are all human, just like them, and can make a huge difference too if we speak our minds and our hearts. They need us all to fight. There is not one solution, but they need all hands on deck to affect change from within the broken criminal justice system. However, this advice relates to any revolution we pour our souls into. It takes effort and a channeling of community to create change.

“We still plant even if we can’t sit under the shade of the tree.”

Raymond Santana

At the end, we should live our lives to the fullest an go to the grave empty. Then you know your human experience was complete and full of light.

Let Freedom Ring: Unit 4 Assignment 2 by Alec Stimac

March, pg. 80-82

In John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell’s graphic history, “March” (Book II), some of the most pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement are captured through shocking images and intricate selections of real dialogue. Out of the many panels I found to be extremely moving, one large panel in the middle of the book stuck an accord with me as I continued to read the novel: Aretha Franklin singing “America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee)” at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration on January 20th, 2009. The main frame is Franklin singing her heart out to a song that has been known to emulate American values and history. Smaller frames are scattered throughout the page to show pieces of past stories during the violent breakout in Montgomery, Alabama. The Freedom Riders, who risked their lives in pursuit of liberty, contrast Franklin’s call to “Let Freedom Ring.” The history of our nation lies in pain, struggle, and perseverance through blood, sweat, and tears. Obama’s presidency was a new light in terms of American history, with him being the first African-American president to be in office. This song is not only referring to a past time of trivial acts but also aiding in brining in the new contemporary era people were positively optimistic about. Additionally, the use of the repetition of the lyrics with big text size highlights the importance of the song on that day and throughout history, as it blends together the two different time periods of this social rights movement.

Aretha Franklin at President Obama’s Inauguration

The final page of the continued panel is of a hand throwing a weapon (smoke/fire bomb) at the First Baptist Church in Montgomery with the last lyric of “oh let freedom ring” written across the page. The utilization of a black background instead of a white background not only to shows how the setting turned to a dreary night, forming the mood, but also to transition towards the violence that ensued from the calmer times of today.

The transition between these three pages struck me because I never realized how this song has represented America and how the meaning of the lyrics have changed over time. Today, it represents the freedom citizens have in this country, but before it connected and divide certain people together and apart (possibly also being a rally cry) about who qualifies as having liberty and being human. I have always been fascinated with music and its power it has had on individual people, communities, and nations. The words are strong, and the way it was delivered was even stronger – I can almost hear Franklin singing the words off the page. It was a beautiful use of a transition with much power left up to the simple lyrics of a classic song.

America {My Country, ‘Tis of Thee) Sheet Music

Ida B. Wells and Mary Church Terrell: Unit 4 Assignment 1 by Alec Stimac

Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells were both prolific African American activists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both advocating for nonviolence, justice, and empowerment of underrepresented groups. Ida B. Wells was led by her strong (Christian) religious beliefs, instilled by her devout parents, towards racial uplift (the belief that blacks would help end racial discrimination through self and community advancement). Her involvement in the anti-lynching campaign, black women’s movement, and reform of American policy was held closely tied to her religious theology. For Wells, political and social justice was not just based on civil rights, but on Christian values and identity. In comparison, Mary Church Terrell championed women’s suffrage and racial equality, joining Ida B. Wells in the anti-lynching campaign and racial uplift. However, her work focused mostly on lifting others up on the journey, especially women, as she co-founded the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) alongside Ida B. Wells to help advance her agenda. She was also raised in a Christian household, guiding her beliefs and approaches to finding justice.

Ida B. Wells

Each of them proposed solutions and ideas to prevent injustice. However, Ida B. Wells was more engaged with race relations while Terrell focused heavily on gender (both black and white women). In addition, Wells went about fighting for the rights of colored people in a more militant way than organized, receiving a lot more threats of violence and hate. Yet, both made impact in courageous ways that helped push forward justice and rights for people of color and women. Ultimately, they wanted to fix broken systems and uplift people to create change and lasting impact on America.

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

– Ida. B Wells

Sources:

“Minority SaPHety Net: We Belong!” Commentary: by Alec Stimac

Photo

Professor Quillen began by talking about how Davidson College, over an extended period of time, shifted to a global community as Davidson College was not originally built for everyone (a very homogenous community composed of mostly white males). Our campus has continued to operate in a world where “factors of campus inequality” affects our community and shapes how we are perceived by other people. People in this country and around the world already feel unwelcome when they enter into a new space. However, it is our duty to take the skills we learn here at Davidson and work on deconstructing the structures in society that marginalize people. Feeling moved from experiences and taking serious the obligation to see and hear people is vital to creating lasting change. Listening is key and we must learn to truly make sense of the world.

Officer Sigler went into the jurisdiction and dignity of a human being: what rights we have and constitutional policy versus administrative policy on campus.

In the end, Professor Isaac Bailey said there are times to fight and times to dance. Is it crucial in life to understand when to take on both. Standing up for what one believes in, calling out injustice, and taking action to prevent violence and aid with trauma is extremely important in cultivating a culture of care and compassion. Yet, experiencing life and living in the moment while being fully authentic to yourself is just as rewarding.

I found these keynote speakers points to be poignant in today’s environment, especially on college campuses. We should all learn to respect and listen to each-other while asking one another to dance. That is what makes life and these moments here precious.

Quote

Connecting Sontag and Gourevitch: Unit 3 Assignment 3 by Alec Stimac

Camera Lens

We keep watching.

Humanity looks at war from afar, as an image, rather than a real experience lived out by people who constantly suffer to find peace or seek to create chaos. Not only does this image destroy each person’s individuality but also strips away their dignity as human beings. We see a shell instead of a person holding a past, present, and future. Gourevitch asks, “Who is grieving for Rwanda and really living it and living with the consequences? Who comprehends the massive amount of people who were killed, injured, and displaced in three and a half months in Rwanda?” Personal testimonies, gruesome photographs, informative news, and daily articles were consistently made available, yet the “international community kept watching” (169). In addition, Sontag states the “ubiquity of [these] photographs, and horrors, cannot help but nourish belief in the inevitability of tragedy in the benighted parts of the world” (71). She also shows how the dead cannot communicate to us their disappointment in our inaction. In reality, these images only implant “beliefs” that we have no ability to actually help because we don’t associate with “them” (poor countries, people who are different, etc.) or we say it will pass in time. However, the wait is over, and both these works of nonfiction point to our flaws as citizens of nation states, our twisted innate desires to look, and our lack of recognition towards our shared humanity. These violent histories and experiences are not exhibits for our entertainment or a simple memory but a reality that haunts humanity for the rest of time. Until we invest in everyone on Earth, war will not end. People can no longer “hope” everybody will behave nicely in the future while continuing providing humanitarian efforts (170). In order to distinguish the difference between genocide and a “cheese sandwich,” one must dig deeper inside themselves and break the picture frame encapsulating inaction. The lenses of others helped us view problems from the outside, but as Sontag and Gourevitch would agree, it is time to shatter our expectations and reach into something new that we cannot keep our eyes off of.

Let us use our hands.

“Denouncing evil is a far cry from doing good.”

~ Philip Gourevitch

Unit 3 Passport Assignment by Alec Stimac

Passport from Mali

The Make Your Own Passport Workshop was a highly immersive and educational experience. The amount of privilege a lot of us poses as United States citizens is sometimes lost in translation as we live our lives, ultimately forgetting how many freedoms, diverse perspectives, and safe environments surround us. We become complacent to what we know and do not necessarily thing of worldly matters (we are mostly concerned with domestic policy). This workshop is a nice reminder and eye opener for people to learn about other countries and the system of how passports/citizenship work. I am also taking an Anthropology course on Refugees and Forced Migration this semester, and the stories we have been hearing and scholarly articles we have been reading connect deeply with Tintin Wulia’s vision for her art. The experiences of stateless and deprived people are all very diverse, yet distinct. No one story is the same and each has dignity and value to them. The issue of immigration and refugee movement has become massive in the last decade, and has always been a huge issue across time. Being able to recognize privilege and empathize with these stories is important in us answering how we are one human family. Our course is to examine what humanity is all about, and I believe this workshop only aids in our understanding of our place in this world and how we can be more involved in it.

Wall of Passports
Back of passport.