Thursday, July 19, 2012

Toshi Kazama in Bangkok

From 15th to 19th July, Japanese photographer Toshi Kazama, renowned for his photographs of young people who are condemned to death, was in Bangkok. He visited and met with prisoners who had been condemned to death in Bang Kwang prison. On the evening of the 17th he showed a selection of his work in the Foreign Correspondent's Club of Thailand. More significantly, on the 18th he addressed a meeting of government officials in the Department of Liberties and Human Rights of the Ministry of Justice, the office which is preparing the proposal to parliament on abolition of the death penalty in Thailand.
The message of Toshe Kazama is the value of human life. His images show the humanity of the condemned who are indistinguishable from young people around us. He engages with these young people, but engages equally with the families of murder victims. He reveals the surprising experience that all the families, whatever their initial anger against the murderers,  come in time to realise that vengeance cannot satisfy their pain, and reject capital punishment. The depth of healing they experience comes not from the execution of the perpetrator, but from forgiveness which releases them from a cycle of bitterness and hatred.

No comments: