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The South Atlantic Quarterly 102.4 (2003) 799-808

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The Plight of the Innocents:
A Photo-Essay

Thomas W. Lockwood

I am not a professional photographer. I began to photograph the Middle East orgy of death while working in Beirut. Traveling throughout the several Arab Shammi countries (Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan), I witnessed the plight of the innocents, Palestinians and other Arabs, whose anguish was and is a direct result of the establishment and continued existence of Israel.

My purpose in reproducing these images on paper was, originally, self-interest: the preservation of my reason, proof that appalling events actually had occurred. A photograph can be an objective reality separate from the photographer. It can be, in my case, confirmation of events and scenes I observed with my eye and stored in my memory. Yet, time can distort memories and other memories can be lost entirely.

My photographs are now my memories. [End Page 799]

Merging with the image of an Israeli tank. How many years, I wondered, can a person take so much pain and fear? Then, I remembered that Palestinians have been forced into this aberration of normal life since 1948. [End Page 800]

The ruins of a school occupied by the many homeless in the wake of an Israeli bombing.

A group of civilian buildings suffering the marks of both Israeli ally, the Kataib, a Christian Lebanese milita. [End Page 801]

A Druze fighter on the front line in the Southern suburbs of Beirut in June 1982. We became friends during the war and talked often of regional politics. [End Page 802]

Young Palestinian girl wearing a gas mask.

For Palestinians, barbed wire is as much a part of the scenery as blades of grass. [End Page 803]

Another bullet-pocked apartment building on the Green Line.

Outside Ain el Helwe refugee camp. The Israelis were separating the men and boys from the women. [End Page 804]

Swimming pool. [End Page 805]

An Israeli (American-made) tank in the southern suburbs of Beirut, June 1982. Three members of the Druze militia killed the tank commander with rifle fire then jumped aboard the tank and threw hand grenades into the interior of the tank killing the remaining Israeli soldiers. [End Page 806]

Apartment building several blocks from the Green Line, in Beirut. [End Page 807]

The statue of the Virgin Mary and Christ, scarred by shrapnel.


Thomas W. Lockwood has lived and worked most of his adult life in the Middle East. He has worked for Beirut's Daily Star and with United Nation's Economic and Social Commission for West Asia in Iraq. He is retired and lives in North Carolina, where he works on his fine art photography.



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pp. 799-808
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Archived 2004
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