At the moment of execution the rebels grasped his throat. The young man put up a struggle. Three or four rebels pinned him down. The man tried to protect his throat with his hands, which were still tied together. He tried to resist but they were stronger than he was and they cut his throat. They raised his head into the air. People waved their guns and cheered. Everyone was happy that the execution had gone ahead.
That scene in Syria, that moment, was like a scene from the Middle Ages, the kind of thing you read about in history books. The war in Syria has reached the point where a person can be mercilessly killed in front of hundreds of people—who enjoy the spectacle.
As a human being I would never have wished to see what I saw. But as a journalist I have a camera and a responsibility. I have a responsibility to share what I saw that day. That’s why I am making this statement and that’s why I took the photographs. I will close this chapter soon and try never to remember it.
The perpetrators of atrocities themselves often use digital cameras or smartphones to photograph or film their acts of torture and murder, uploading the images to the Internet. These images and videos are used for propaganda, and their authenticity is often impossible to verify. It is very rare that a group of fighters from either side gives a professional photojournalist from a country outside Syria full and unfettered access to chronicle an atrocity as it unfolds. The images above are products of that access.
The photographer in the piece goes unnamed in order to protect him from repercussions when he returns to Syria. He reports that this was the fourth execution he had seen that day.
Growing protests attract tens of thousands across Brazil
For the fifth straight day, pent-up frustration has boiled over into protests over the Brazilian government’s skyrocketing expenditures in preparation for the upcoming World Cup and Summer Olympics, declining economic growth and a harsh response from police that has left hundreds injured.
For some perspective on the issue of transportation costs in the country:
Two weeks ago, the Sao Paulo bus fare for a standard one-way trip increased to about $1.50. Workers on minimum wage who take two buses a day can end up spending more than 25% of their monthly income on transportation.
When FRONTLINE filmmaker Olly Lambert sat to interview Jamal Maarouf, a Syrian rebel commander, he did not anticipate that bombs from government jets would begin to fall just 300 meters away.
Though the first blast knocked him to the ground, Lambert kept his camera rolling. He spent the next hour documenting the impacts of the Oct. 28, 2012 bombing of al-Bara, a village in Idlib province an hour south of Aleppo. The result is a rare, immersive portrait of the immediate aftermath of Syrian government air strikes on a civilian population.
Troublemaking duo Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, posing as their industrious alter-egos, expose the people profiting from Hurricane Katrina, the faces behind the environmental disaster in Bhopal, and other shocking events.
MORE: If you would like to know more about the “Yes Men” have been doing - or if you would like to support their work - just go to: http://theyesmen.org/.
Pulitzer Center grantee Jason Motlagh talks to the director of the only school group operating in Malaysia’s palm oil plantations in his latest Untold Stories post. Some companies have started to educate their workers’ children, who are often stateless and invisible to the government. Read the whole story here.
Photo: Children of migrant workers receive free lessons at a learning center set up with help from the Humana Child Aid Society on one of Sabah’s largest plantations. Image by Jason Motlagh. Borneo, 2012.