This is all old news, but I’ve been meaning to share Franco Pagetti’s fantastic essay from Mogadishu for a while, and the news of two kidnapped journalists being freed a week ago gives me the opportunity. British correspondent Colin Freeman and Spanish photographer Jose Cendon, both working for Britain’s Sunday Telegraph, were freed after 40 days of captivity in remote caves in Somalia. Colin Freeman told of the ordeal a few days later in an exclusive to the Telegraph. Cendon tells his story to a Barcelona paper.
Back to Pagetti’s essay, which really struck me when I first saw it. Sure the tropes are there, guns and refugee camps and women scurrying about the rubble in floor-length robes all make their appearance, but the poetry in the essay shows me so much more. Rather than another conflict in some African country, I feel what living in Mogadishu today must be like. I get a feel for the gravel underneath my feet and the rainbows in the skies and the crowded marketplaces that must go on, no matter how bad the situation gets. There are people on beaches and barbers giving men shaves in the streets, in spite of all the horror. This is what good photojournalism should show; the conflict and strife are apparent, but so is the life that goes on right alongside it all.