When Bob Dylan won the Nobel literature prize some years ago, I got into a conflict. How would I “read” his work, which consists fundamentally of songs? I had once made the promise to read every Nobel prize winner of the last 25 years, including some hard bones like Tranströmer (sorry, poetry). These Stockholm snobs were making my task a little bit harder. I started buying a best-of, a 3 cds collection that I still listen to often, because I hardly knew him till then. I still have to get his lyrics collection.
So when I bought this collection of photographies I found myself in a similar situation. What to say about it? How to “read” it? I should say that this book, for me, is a reading from and for the heart.
Almost five years ago, like many other people, I discovered Kobanê. The last stertors of the Arab spring had created the most evil of figures, the IS, which in a few months controlled a great part of Irak and Syria. Kobanê was the last town in their way to controlling all the frontier with Turkey. I renewed my curiosity about the brave Kurds, I even baptized my little cat Kobe, in Kobanê’s honor. I followed the Syrian civil war for more than four years, until the invasion of Afrin, reading reddit’s SCW subreddit and many different blogs. I mourned the death of various westerners who went there convinced about their struggle against the evil.
Joey is not a war photograph but rather a people photograph. He has visited devastated zones in Syria and Iraq, capturing the soul of fighters, female and male, and civilians. He gives us a testimony of the destruction, the oblivion, the ruins of those who have lost everything but preserve their faith in their future and their people. Joey’s photos are a tribute I pay to those years where I would spend hours reading discussions, tweets and maps about Rojava and Bakur. It reminds me the suffering of millions of people, Kurds, Arabs, Yazidis, Assyrians. May I never forget.