Magnum Foundation


Notes from the Field, Donald Weber




One of my favourite writers, Don DeLillo, once wrote, “And you know how it is when you’re starting on a project, how you sometimes have to start with a series of misunderstandings?” I always start that way. Working through these misunderstandings is the only way you will come to an understanding, looking for the obvious that takes forever. And here in Kurdistan I certainly began with a series of misunderstandings, misconceptions, misguided attempts. I love that. By talking with people, walking the streets, having your throat clotted with dust, do we start to realize that no level of preparation can guide you forward. Boots on the ground, so they say. The best line (amongst many) was this, found in a museum: “We neither manufactured these weapons, nor feel proud exhibiting them. In fact, these were used by those who threatened our existence. We also admit that these very weapons helped us achieve our freedom.”

A very powerful statement contradicting the usual sentiments of war and a question that needs to be asked: is war good? In this case, another misunderstanding that needs to be clarified.

Simone Salvo