A few weeks ago a North Africa-based friend and former newspaper colleague shared a story about developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the rise of the M23 Movement reputedly funded by Rwanda. This is a rebel militia group waging attacks on government forces and sending civilians into chaos. This post isn’t to report this story only to share some photos. Suffice to say this is a continuation of a conflict that goes back at least 16 years with an immeasurable impact on local populations while involving neighbouring countries and very well funded yet ineffectual UN Peace Keepers.
One of the great crimes, given the experiences of the 20th century, is that in the 21st century this type of conflict persists while millions of civilians are displaced, made refugee or fall victim as collateral damage. Why is it important to share these images collected by Allan Taylor in his In Focus Gallery at the Atlantic? It is because photography can save lives, change minds and direct into action those capable of making the difference. Have a look at the images in this gallery and imagine that it’s your neighbourhood under siege, and your neighbours on the move. Those that direct these acts may be less brazen if they know the world is watching. Photojournalists around the globe take huge risks sharing stories from places of chaos to ensure the story is told and to ensure those lives victim to indiscriminate or malicious violence continue to have meaning.