- Children Growing Up with War by Jenny Matthews
Matthews draws from the fruits of her years of work as a freelance photojournalist to illuminate the plight of child exiles and refugees in war-torn regions of the world over the past two decades. Although a brief glance at the layout suggests a somewhat chaotic approach, the material is actually organized following the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. After an introduction to how she conducts her work, particularly traveling into dangerous areas, Matthews looks at how displacement undermines the “right to a name and nationality”; fractured families undermine the “right to affection, love, and understanding”; the collapse of health care systems undermines the “right to adequate nutrition and medical care”; reliance on child labor undermines the “right to develop individual abilities”; and the closing of schools undermines the “right to free education.” Captioned color photos spotlight children from war zones in Africa and the Middle East, while the text goes beyond description of the scenes to consider the photographer’s own response to the children she meets, as well as the ethical implications of plying her trade among the world’s suffering. Valuable end matter includes succinct overviews of “The Main Conflicts” in ten countries, websites of NGOs active in these areas, a glossary, a map noting world conflict zones, and an index. Sadly, it’s impossible to keep this kind of journalistic coverage up to the minute, but the issues raised here [End Page 168] will help readers view the news with empathy and the documentary photographer’s job with respect.