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the Friend INDEPENDENT QUAKER JOURNALISM SINCE 1843
CONTENTS – VOL 168 NO 43 3 Editorial 4 Quakers thanked for support 5 Students protest over arms dealers at recruitment fairs the Fox report 6-7 The fate of our veterans David Hencke 8 ‘I believe that the UK authorities could be in PTSD denial’ Elfyn Llwyd 9 When violence comes home Symon Hill 10 ‘We train them to kill but we expect them to be normal’ Interview with Dafydd Alun Jones 11 The forgotten army Interview with Tony White 12 Pride versus prejudice Marianne Landzettel 13 Forgiveness and sustainability Cyril Govier 14 The ministry of discomfort Harriet Hart 15 Things are getting worse: please send chocolate Jane Elms 16 q-eye: witness 17 Friends & Meetings
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
A psychological and physical condition caused by frightening or distressing events. It occurs in up to thirty per cent of people who experience traumatic events.
NHS Choices website
Cover: Valley, Afghanistan 2002. Photo: Paul Seawright.
The Friend gratefully acknowledges the support Paul has given to this edition by his permission to reproduce the cover photograph from his exhibition ‘Hidden’.
Commissioned by the Imperial War Museum, London, in their longstanding series of war art commissions, ‘Hidden’ was a response to the war in Afghanistan in 2002. Photographs of minefields and battlesites acknowledge that almost everything in the conflict was hidden or invisible. Paul’s war photographs also appeared in the Brighton Photo Biennial 2010: ‘The Sublime Image of Destruction’ and in the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
Paul is professor of photography at the University of Ulster and a trustee of the Northern Ireland Centre for Trauma and Transformation.
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the Friend, 22 October 2010 Editorial
The valley of the shadow of death: cannon-ball strewn road during the Crimean war in 1855. Photo: Roger Fenton. Courtesy the Library of Congress.
The material debris of war lies strewn over battlefields: what is left behind and often forgotten. It has always been so: from Waterloo to the Somme, the Crimea and Helmand province.
The internationally renowned photographer Paul Seawright was sent to Afghanistan by the Imperial War Museum as a ‘war artist’ and was prompted to produce a very personal response to war.
He paid homage to photographer Roger Fenton’s images of the Crimea in 1855. Victorian decorum dictated – no dead bodies. For Paul Seawright it was a creative choice. His stark, bleak images of battlefields are haunting pictures of the debris of war. There are no people; and yet they evoke the ghosts of people. Many die in war. Many are injured. Others return home with no physical wounds but have been affected psychologically. They bear deep mental scars that do not easily heal: unseen wounds that profoundly affect their lives and their transition back to civilian society.
They are the human debris. They are what is left behind and often forgotten.
* * * * *
Quakers are opposed to war. Many are pacifists. We advocate and work for nonviolent solutions to conflict. We believe in searching for and addressing the roots of conflict. But this does not excuse us from our moral responsibility to those men and women who participate in war, to ‘hold them in the light’, and, when they have come home, to treat them with respect, tenderness and love. Sometimes we also need to hold out a helping hand… and speak truth to power.
This issue of the Friend introduces our new investigative arm, the Fox report, which is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and directed by Judy Kirby.
‘Quakers and journalists have something in common,’ she says, ‘a desire to reveal what is often hidden, or disguised or under-estimated. Our new investigative reporting team will be taking a closer, and longer, look at issues that have always troubled Friends.’
This first Fox report considers the human price some men and women pay for their participation in war. It highlights a concern for all Quakers.
Ian Kirk-Smith the Friend, 22 October 2010