The Book of Destruction – Israel’s War on Gaza

January 28, 2011

The Observer of Britain on Kai Wiedenhoefer’s Book of Destruction: Gaza – One Year After the 2009 War:

When The Book of Destruction, Kai Wiedenhöfer’s exhibition of photographs documenting the consequences of Israel’s war against Gaza, opened at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris late last year, two men wearing ski masks and motorcycle helmets tried to storm the building to damage the exhibits. An umbrella group of Jewish organisations in France accused him of “virulently anti-Israel views”. Others on the internet charged him with “fanning the flames of antisemitism”…

The photographs of the ruined buildings supply their own taxonomy of the consequences of different explosive forces: houses brought down by mines rendered into bristling igloos of concrete; buildings pierced and burned by shells; walls perforated by gunfire. The result is a body of work that is anti-sensational but shocking in the directness with which it engages with violence. 

“I wanted to make a record,” Wiedenhöfer says. “That’s all. I do not accuse Israel. If there is an accusation, it is in the record itself.” Therein lies the problem. He has come up against the increasingly prevalent desire of many within Israel and without to rule inadmissible any “record” that depicts what Israel or its defence forces do in a negative light, deploying an intellectual sleight of hand to suggest that all such criticism is designed to “delegitimise” the existence of Israel. That it is “antisemitism” of a new and sneaky kind.
Kai Wiedenhöfer’s The Book of Destruction: Gaza – One year After the 2009 War

Wiedenhoefer’s photos show the total destruction Israel inflicted on the defenseless population of Gaza in 2009…

particularly on those who were maimed, like this man who is now eyeless…

and Jamila al-Habash, a 16-year-old student who was hit by a missile while playing on the roof of her house on 4 January 2009. One of her sisters and a cousin were killed in the same attack.

Two years on from Israel’s offensive in Gaza German photographer Kai Wiedenhoefer tells the BBC Outlook host why he felt compelled to capture the stories of individuals who were seriously injured and are still living with the scars of conflict.  The interview with Wiedenhoefer begins about 16 minutes and 14 seconds into the 23 minute program.  Because there is no audio track in the videos, I recommend listening to the 7 minute interview with Wiedenhoefer on the BBC link as you view the 3-minute videos below. 

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More photos from Wiedenhoefer’s book and exhibitions can be viewed in the following videos.


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