The Costs of War

  • Photographer
    YUSUKE SUZUKI
  • Prize
    2nd Place / Editorial / Press/War / Conflict
  • Date of Photograph
    2010 to 2017

Japan has not been at war for over seventy years. The "Japan" I lived in now is certainly a peaceful place, but I was always thinking that do we know the true meaning and value of peace? Are we taking each day for granted, complacent that this peacetime will last forever? I wanted to see the other side of the world, so I went to Afghanistan in 2006. Since then, I have been photographing war and its effects on people and our society.

Story

Japan has not been at war for over seventy years. The "Japan" I lived in now is certainly a peaceful place, but I was always thinking that do we know the true meaning and value of peace? Are we taking each day for granted, complacent that this peacetime will last forever? I wanted to see the other side of the world, so I went to Afghanistan in 2006. Since then, I have been photographing war and its effects on people and our society. In 2013, I visited Syria. Syria was a peaceful country even as a dictatorship until 2011. Aleppo was filled with historical landmarks; people would enjoy having tea on the streets, children ran around at night, and female tourists would travel alone. But not anymore. When you are standing on Syrian land, you realize that "peace" is very fragile, the product of a delicate balancing act. Just a few events can cause widespread turmoil. I saw lots of people who got wounded by the war in Middle East, Europe and the U.S.. And I realized that all of them were just human beings like me. Of course, they are in different situations, thoughts, etc... But what happens to them is the same. Unfortunately, war is a natural tendency of mankind. This fact will not change. The world is connected, and if we continue to pretend not to see the reality, it will come back to us and our children. Not only do wars destroy physical objects, they, perhaps more horrifyingly, destroy souls. When fear takes over, people do terrible things to run away from it. Fear is born from the unknown. Lack of interest and knowledge will create fear and aid the development of prejudice and discrimination. Prejudice and discrimination evolve into hatred, and the culture of hatred will be passed down for generations. Sorrow, anger, hatred are linked to the next generation, a negative loop will never end and continues. To try to get to know and understand someone. I feel that this is the most important step if you long for peace and strive to maintain it.

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