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SHARDS OF TIME: NORTHERN IRELAND, 1981

As we are on the verge of releasing our next issue, here is a short excerpt from our still current and not to be missed mono.kultur #37 with war photographer James Nachtwey talking about his first big assignment on the civil war in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s:

You once mentioned how that first job in Belfast made you realize that the front lines of war go right through people’s homes – they are not an abstract event happening in a void. Would you say that this realization shaped your work and how you approach photojournalism?

All the violence in Belfast was happening right inside residential neighborhoods. And that’s what I’ve seen ever since. Wars are no longer fought on isolated battlefields. Look at what’s happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Gaza, what happened in Chechnya and Rwanda. Virtually every contemporary war takes place among civilians. Civilians have become the targets. The warring factions will go in and destroy a village or bomb a marketplace to create terror and to establish power. Entire cities have been reduced to rubble. What happens to civilian populations is a crime against humanity.

Photography by James Nachtwey

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