In the foreword of the book, the main emphasis is on the silence of those in power who are able to stop or avoid these conflicts but instead remain silent and watch atrocities happen for years. Grarup quotes Dr Marthin Luther King in his book: “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.” His photographs are nothing else than the confirmation and visual representation of King's words. Grarup often calls out the authorities to take action and do something to cease the conflicts or, at least, take every possible measure there is to help people go through the hardships with dignity. But unfortunately, he gets silence instead.
It is even more frustrating when some of the fast-forward media publications make headlines and share poorly researched stories from the conflict zones, which makes it even more complicated for the rest of the world to understand what is really going on. In contrast to that, through Jan Grarup’s in-depth reporting and his unique talent to immortalize the most devastating moments in the wake of wars and disasters, we the spectators could simply cut the ignorance and ask ourselves: is there anything we can do to help?
Grarup has been awarded multiple prestigious awards from the photography industry and human rights organizations, including eight World Press Photo awards, UNICEF, Oskar Barnack Award, POYi, NPPA and many more. In 2005, the photographer got the Visa d’Or for his coverage of Darfur’s refugee crisis. Today, we have an in-depth conversation with him about his career, human condition, hypocrisy in the Western world and survival.