Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Prisoner of War Camp no.334: In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

Aaron Huey photographs many things. Most importantly he  photographs the Pine Ridge (Lakota) Reservation, aka Prisoner of War Camp no.334,, to create  a telling documentary of a place where "the life expectancy for men is between 46 and 48 years old, roughly the same as Afghanistan and Somalia." (and 8 years younger than the East End of Glasgow).

In a talk he gave at TED, Huey says that, "The last chapter in any successful genocide is the one in which the oppressor can remove their hands and say, My God, what are these people doing to themselves, they're killing each other, they're killing themselves while we watch them die. This is how we came to own these United States, this is the legacy of Manifest Destiny."

The talk is emotional and to the point. See Huey's short history of Native American history here.

See more pictures of Pine Ridge here. 

All of which reminds me of Prison Valley (via Prison Photography) a web documentary by David Dufresne and Philippe Brault about a "town in the middle of nowhere with 36,000 souls and 13 prisons", where the sentencing, the housing and parenting are all affected by basing your whole town on a prison economy - the effect it has on families, homes and even shopping.

Towards the end of the film, there is a shot of the walls of a woman's prison, where an inmate had scrawled this; "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

It's a George Orwell quote and seems pertinent to both Aaron Huey's work and Prison Valley.

 UK life expectancy regional differences 

Internional life expectancies

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