Saturday, December 8, 2007

SURFACING: A Photo Project on the Lives of the Families of Desaparecidos

They were activists, wanting to change society by arousing and organizing amongst the masses. They were ordinary civilians, going about their daily lives. Suddenly, they disappear.

Desaparecidos is the Spanish word meaning "the disappeared." It was coined in Latin America where thousands became victims of enforced disappearance implemented by tyrannical regimes.

Enforced disappearance is "committed by government officials or byorganized groups acting in behalf, or with the support, consent oracquiescence of the government," according to the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons against Enforced Disappearance.

It is among the most common human rights violations committed in thePhilippines, often by suspected military agents in the name ofcounter-insurgency.

Under the regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, there have been 184 desaparecidos, the highest since martial law.

SURFACING, a photographers' initiative led by the Free Jonas BurgosMovement and Desaparecidos, is an effort to create and sustain public awareness on the issue of enforced disappearances. It shows the livesand struggles of 13 families of the disappeared, as well as that ofthe disappeared.

SURFACING is a continuing project open to all photographers, amateurand professional alike, who are willing to join this human rightsadvocacy. "A photograph is an expression of absence and a form of transport,"says writer John Berger. Let these photos express the pain andinjustice of the desaparecidos' absence and transport us to thereality that we need to face and collectively challenge.

Photos can be viewed at:

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