Gruesome or Truthsome?

May 4, 2008 in main by Rachel

I would like to pose some questions; How much do you know? How much do you need to know? How much should we show you? These questions have risen from recent pictures we have been sent depicting the terrible outbursts of violence occurring in Tibet at this time. However from an activist point of view this issue is bigger than these pictures, it concerns every type of campaign we could embark on! The question is should we go all out and show the blood, guts and gore being shed across the world in the various acts of human rights abuses; or should we hand you a petition with a small amount of information for you to read? Should we give you pictures of various forms of torture being carried out worldwide, or should we merely allude to it in our publications and such? Can we embark on protests that actively depict acts of violence or should we merely suggest to you what type of suffering is occurring.

The issue is to what extent we can be explicit with what is happening to innocent people across the world. It has also been highlighted in the recent videos uploaded by Amnesty themselves. These videos though they are cleverly filmed still depict very explicit scenes of violence. Is this the form our activism should take? Some would argue that it is our duty to show the truth about the violence occurring world wide, and to ensure people across the globe understand the intensity of this violence. In this respect we then should be obliged to show the pictures we have received to our whole student body. By doing this we can highlight the full and truthful extent of the violent and murderous tactics being used by members of the Chinese Government and army against these innocent protesters.

However there is a counter argument that people do not need, and do not want to see such scenes of violence taking place. After all everyone has the human right not to witness violent and disturbing scenes, therefore we do not have the right to show such images to people who do not want to see them. The counter argument to that of course is that seeing such images is very different from witnessing them first hand. Allowing people to See such images can help individuals who are not confronted daily with such horror, to understand and acknowledge the damage occurring in their lifetime.

How explicit should we be in our campaigns? How much information and detail should we incorporate into our activism? If we show these horrific scenes of violence are we being Gruesome or Truth-some?