8.5″ x 8″ x 2″
aluminum shingles, plexiglass, resin, beam clamps, limited edition photo print
In the foreground of this image, a veiled woman that I will never, ever forget holds up a trilingual sign (Arabic, French and English), demanding information about the whereabouts of her husband—by way of a plaintive (or perhaps rhetorical) plea. Morocco, unfortunately, like too many other countries, holds a number of political prisoners, and some who oppose the government simply “disappear” into the ether – but not for loved ones. Never for loved ones.
I originally took this photograph in Morocco, during the uprisings and pro-democracy protests of 2010-2011 known as the so-called “Arab Spring.” Although the Kingdom of Morocco did not undergo a revolution, as did nearby Tunisia, reforms did take place due to the pressure of large numbers of Moroccan citizens demanding changes to the governance structure. Unfortunately, however, the wives of the disappeared and the mothers of the martyred too often are left with no information, no closure, and no peace—waiting, eternally, for news of loved ones cut down, taken too early, more often than not with no news. Yet still, they wait. Still, they hope.
Now, more than ever – we need a reminder that democracy is sacred. Whether in Morocco or the United States, we face similar erosion of pluralistic democracy to the gradual (and, in some cases, rapid) encroachments of authoritarians. May we all be so bold, and so brave, as the woman depicted here – and never, ever forget what truly constitutes the sacred: not a human being, but connections to loved ones, and the eternal hope that springs from the bonds of faithfulness and loyalty.