Man and war have always been inseparable, from time in memorial, man has always fought his brothers. The bible even speaks of how Abraham’s sons fought each other and one killed the other, which conveys just how far back tension originates. It also catalogs the numerous wars fought between the different tribes of the middle ages. However, the most historic and well documented wars were world war one and World war two, these were regarded as the most vicious conflicts, never before had there been such large scale torture and destruction of mankind. This resulted in the adoption of the Geneva Convention- a code of conduct for all combatants during war, aimed at protecting humanity.
On the 11th of September an incident that changed the course of modern history happened whereby 2 planes hijacked by terrorists hit the twin towers in New York City resulting in over 3000 people being killed. This incident shocked the whole world and angered the American government and its citizens. Within a few days, president George W Bush ordered the American Military to invade Iraq, to avenge this unprovoked attack. The Americans were joined by other nations, such as the UK, France, Italy and Germany because the terroristic threats were no longer a concern for just the USA but to the Globe at large. These countries thought that by removing Saddam Hussein, it would guarantee peace for all. The Iraqi war was very destructive and vicious in that even the Iraqi’s themselves were at war with themselves- the Sunni vs. the Shiites Muslims. Saddam’s troops and supporters carried out atrocities against their rivals and other innocent citizens contrary to the prohibitions of the Geneva Convention. The American troops involved in the fight, started copying these unorthodox military tactics, using extreme violence and torture on war prisoners. According to one of the military intelligence troops, they became “robots”, carrying out orders without feeling, it became a matter of having to adapt or going crazy. There were no rules of engagement, thus, anyone could do as they pleased
The Abu Ghraib prison became the most talked about prison during that time, as it was the epicenter of human rights violation.
The torture that came out of this facility was beyond gruesome; people were hung like animals, punished with starvation, tortured with machines and emotionally bullied by the caretakers of the facility. The last time the world had such horrid place was during Hitler’s time- the holocaust, with the gas chambers and head chopping in Auschwitz. In recent times, there have been incidents like the Kosovo genocide, whereby human rights were violated to large extents, however, still not matching up to the severity of the happenings of Abu Ghraib.
As Susan Sontag states “Photographs have an insuperable power to determine what we recall of events”. A young mind is more likely to vividly retain a picture and what it depicts as compared to text or even verbal explanation as it emphasizes the situation far more clearly. The most important thing to teach our children is morality. Morality is like a foundation, which can withstand tremors, so if our children have strong moral compass, they’re more likely to withstand mental challenges that come from external influence such as political influence and war. Unlike the soldiers in the script that admitted to being robots or having to adapt in order to remain sane, a morally upright soldier would respect the Geneva Convention and humanity. Graphics, if well integrated with text, can effectively help create a lasting positive influence on a child. It can leave a legacy that seeks to instill self -discipline in the face of strong personal challenge. There are current issues resulting from visual legacy, as 3rd world countries in trouble tend to watch western movies and documentaries and use them as practice tool for war; they mimic the actions of what they see in the movies and use them in the battle field because majority of the people who fight in 3rd world countries, especially in Africa; are little kids and other civilians who are just given guns and are told to shoot; no military training, no psychological testing or anything that could guide them into battle except western movies and photographs.
In terms of teaching and education for those who came after these events and those to come, the legacy that derived from these movies and photos is what will teach upcoming generations, just as things from before we were born like the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, were brought to our knowledge through photographs and documentaries. Several people die during war or shortly afterwards because of all the damage that comes from the war and the sanctions that come to those who caused it, thus people can’t always be living legacies of war, thus, live footage and real images replace them and become legacies of war as a whole.