Mats Svensson took 60,000 photos in the occupied Palestinian territories from which he selected the 92 perceptive, nuanced, and ultimately heart-rending images in this volume.
Svensson’s photos are accompanied by pithy and surprising commentary from a wide variety of Palestinian and Israeli figures as well as international voices from Barack Obama and George W. Bush to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Also included: an Israeli soldier named Nahal, Philip Giraldi (a retired CIA operative), and the Israeli journalist Ilan Pappe.
Svensson documents Palestinian street scenes, conveying the mannerisms and customs of daily life, as did the humanist photographer Cartier Bresson—the difference being that the society Svennson documents is under military occupation. Apartheid Is a Crime shows the precursors and aftermath of violence in photos that, taken together, are as charged as the war photos of David Douglas Duncan.
Svensson shows us occupation, expropriation, arrest, and immense concrete barriers encroaching on daily life. Americans will recognize this use of images and words in the long tradition of protest and politically committed photojournalism. Apartheid is a Crime is a cry for social justice that recalls the effort of Walker Evans and James Agee to depict the plight of the rural south at the height of the Depression in their book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.