SELLING THE GENOCIDE – Once in a while (actually, quite often nowadays) a story pops up that makes you question whether seemingly intelligent people have lost moral compass or historical knowledge, or both:
The woman with her baby stares quietly into the camera, her passive gaze perhaps containing some knowledge of the unspeakable horrors that were about to befall her.
Shortly after the photograph was taken on the woman’s arrival at the infamous Khmer Rouge torture centre S-21 in Phnom Penh, her baby was taken away and killed.
She herself was doomed, the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who had fallen out of favour, and to become one of the millions of victims of Cambodia’s mass murder of the 1970s.
Until earlier this month, the image of the woman with the short hair, slightly tipped head and sleeping infant was yours to buy for $199.99 for use in a “marketing package”.
In other images a woman, pinned with a number, sits slumped beside her baby, and in another a young boy, number 374, stares terrified at the lens.
Literary publication the Mekong Review has revealed that two stock photo agencies — Alamy and Sprague — were cashing in on the images of the women and other victims of one of history’s most appalling atrocities.
All the people in the black and white photos for sale online died in the Khmer Rouge’s Year Zero genocide, more commonly known as Cambodia’s Killing Fields.
Publishing the images on Twitter, the Mekong Review wrote: “These portraits were taken by Khmer Rouge cadres before they tortured and killed these people.
“This is wrong … selling photos of Khmer Rouge victims which they have no copyright on. “No one owns these photos.
“They were taken by members of a regime that was responsible for the death of 2 million people.”
Makes you wonder what must be wrong with someone who doesn’t think much of selling photos of the victims of one of the 20th century’s most horrendous crimes. It also makes you wonder who on Earth would want to buy such photos and use them in a “marketing package”. What could you possibly be marketing? Holidays in Cambodia? Genocide? Communism?