“Burning Man” wins photo of the year

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© Ronaldo Schemidt, Agence France-Presse

Venezuelan photographer Ronaldo Schemidt won World Press Photo of the Year for his image of the “Burning Man.”

The picture shows a fleeing José Víctor Salazar Balza engulfed in flames at an anti-government protest in Venezuela on May 3, 2017.

“It all took just a few seconds, so I didn’t know what I was shooting,” Schemidt told the British Journal of Photography. “I was moved by instinct, it was very quick. I didn’t stop shooting until I realized what was going on. There was somebody on fire running towards me.”

The photographer currently resides in Mexico where he shoots football matches and more recently covered the Mexico City earthquake aftermath. Check out more images on the Getty website.

 

Where Orwell got it wrong

If we don’t trust the Turkish government’s account of events in the streets of Istanbul, we can turn for the truth to thousands of cellphone videos or tweets from the people themselves. SMS, Twitter and Facebook have become the means for citizens to organize resistance to abusive government power, and for the rest of the world to witness it. No wonder Prime Minister Erdogan recently declared Twitter and its ilk “the worst menace to society.”

Those at the top are always detached from the truth.

Pragmatic Rebellion

How often do you break the rules? How often are you the person to stand up against something everyone knows is absurd?

People are standing up to fight wrongdoing:

  • Birkan Isin saved an Istanbul park from destruction and sparked Turkey’s mass protests
  • Snowden gut checked the NSA and lit a worldwide discussion on the future of Internet privacy
  • Ai Wewei continues to expose the flaws of “Chinese democracy” through his art

All it takes is one person to stand up and point out obvious injustices. A practical cause quickly creates awareness and widespread advocacy.

Everyone knows what’s right but is afraid to speak up or act. Racial segregtation would’ve persisted if Rosa Parks simply gave up her seat.

Rebellion is sometimes pragmatic, not a threat against the rules but a chance to question them and clean them up. But it takes balls to be the one to rise and light that fire. Risk can be life-threatening. So is inaction.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.