Monday, June 12, 2006

Yon Fights Back--And He's Asking For Help

Michael Yon is speaking out, and asking bloggers to spread the word about a battle he's fighting to preserve the integrity of a picture he took that has become a visible symbol of our soldiers and the work they are doing in Iraq. The photo has enormous emotional impact, and has appeared previously, with his permission, on the cover of Time Magazine. The picture, which is an image of an American soldier cradling a little Iraqi girl injured in a terrorist car bomb attack, was printed, without permission, on the cover of the first issue of a new magazine, called Shock. According to Michael, the magazine stole it, and then when he objected, they started stonewalling him, while the issue stayed on the shelves, despite his request that they stop selling the magazine with his photograph, and remove the image from their website. That in itself is reprehensible, but what has Michael the most upset, is that the publishers of the magazine used the image to paint our soldiers, and the work they are doing, in a negative light. That's something he would never agree to; he says the photo is sacred to him--and they timed it with Memorial Day, no less.

If you've read my blog, you know that I believe that Michael's is a crucial voice, which has given invaluable perspective on the conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He's asking people to sign on to an Internet list, letting the corporation responsible, HFM, know how many of us object to their theft, since Michael says they have already proven unfaithful in negotiations about this matter with him privately. Here is the link, where you can go to Michael Yon: Online Magazine to sign the list, and find other related information, including: a list of the magazines that HFM produces, the distributors that are continuing to sell the magazine (despite Michael's request that they stop), publisher contact numbers and email addresses, and links to pdf files containing his dispatches related to this story and the origins of the photo. I'll link those dispatches directly, in order of publication--Little Girl, Memorial Day, Dishonor, Actions Speak Louder.

Whether you agree with the war in Iraq, or not, it's important that Americans object to the defamation of our soldiers, even more so when it's done by theft. They are doing an extremely difficult job, with very little thanks. Michael Yon has given them the recognition that they deserve, and been a voice for them when much of the media only looks at each day's body count. At the very least, it's worth noting the publications this company is responsible for, and refraining from buying these magazines. Financial impact always seems to have the most power when dealing with any corporation, whether they're honest, or not.

1 comment:

  1. That picture breaks my heart. This, coupled with the fact that we know she did not make it, despite the most determined efforts of the soldiers involved, is such a sad example of man's inhumanity to man. In this case?
    Man's inhumanity to helpless, innocent, deserving of all the world's protection, children. Those poor soldiers. Working at Costco, I swear every day that the smiles and precious faces of the little children that go through my line are what get us through. They give us a bright spot in an overly stressful day. Can you imagine the horrific choice a soldier must make when realizing that his presence is endangering the very thing that might be making his day bearable? They are missing their own children and family members. It is so very very sad. It is already difficult enough to forestall the hardening of the heart that must accompany the job, now they must protect by rejecting. It's not right.