There are times when I refuse to watch or photograph violence. At the end of a lightning campaign, the Indian army liberated Bangladesh and simultaneously unleashed a craving for vengeance. Speeches were given in a stadium, and when they were over, the speakers arranged (as a bonus) for the frenzied crowd of men, women and children to watch a handful of Bihari collaborators being tortured and bayoneted to death. Journalists and photographers were invited to witness this ghastly spectacle; but it turned my stomach and I ran off in search of some Indian officials. How could I carry on photographing, selecting the best angle on these human beings who were crying out in agony, bleeding and dying under torture? And yet the publication of photographs taken by others* that day raised such an international outcry that it acted as a more effective deterrent to further outbreaks of violence than any remonstrations by heads of state.

* Horst Faas and Michel Laurent (Associated Press) were awarded the Pulitzer Prize, category Spot News Photography for their story « Death in Dacca ».

Marc Riboud