Becoming Human on the Terrain of Visual Culture

Authored by: Keith P. Feldman

The Routledge Companion to Literature and Human Rights

Print publication date:  August  2015
Online publication date:  July  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415736411
eBook ISBN: 9781315778372
Adobe ISBN: 9781317696285


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In April 2014, an oversized photograph of an unnamed girl holding a small stone, eyes squarely trained on the lens of the camera, began a new life of internet transit. Carrying the evocative hashtag #NotABugSplat, the photograph, 90 feet by 60 feet and printed on white tarpaulin, was displayed in a small undisclosed village in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan (#NotABugSplat 2014). The portrait of the young girl is based on a photograph taken by Noor Behram nearly five years earlier. Behram, a print and electronic media journalist, documented the aftermath of drone strikes in his native Waziristan, a region of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan, and a zone frequently targeted by US-led drone strikes. As Matthew Delmont (2013) notes, Behram’s images answer questions frequently obscured by the US War on Terror’s cultural grids of intelligibility: what are the grounded, embodied effects of drone strikes? What kind of archive makes visible a countervailing alternative to the War on Terror’s deadly imagined geography?

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