The City and the Writer: Gaza, What Remains with Eduardo Soteras Jalil
By Nathalie Handal
The problem with pain is that it hurts.
No one summoned me, a young Argentinian, to war; nor was I a freelancer at the time, invited to take part: I simply made up my mind one day. Or maybe it took two days, a week to decide. I might not have decided on anything, but there was something in me insisting, a feeling like a nail puncturing me, refusing to leave me alone until I did something.
Gaza was slowly disappearing, humming with F-16s, pounding with explosions like a faraway rumor, like someone else’s nightmare embedded in my own dreams.
Gaza is friendly. The sea is close. Construction in the streets promises comfort to come—unimaginable luxuries like electricity. In times of peace, the streets are endless processions of marriages, families out for a stroll, fishermen returning in their carts. Now it’s no more than a desert, roamed only by press vehicles and guys dressed up like RoboCops going in and out of hotels.
Gaza is a place with nowhere to hide, and any fleeting feeling of safety may be your last. You begin to think that maybe this is bravery: when you no longer care about anything, when you have given up in a way. Bombs do that to me. They wear me out.
We translate the pain, explain it without feeling it, and remember to forget how fragile we are.
War is an instinctual pain. A musty, metallic, putrid taste—something foul clenched between your teeth while taking photos of the dead.
Excerpt from La intimidad de la Guerra.
Eduardo Soteras Jalil was born in Córdoba, Argentina, to a Lebanese family. He received a BA in economics from Cordoba University and an MA in photojournalism from the Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona. He is a founding member of the Activestills collective, creator of ActiveVision, an organization dedicated to participatory photography and video, founding member of RUIDO Photo, and creator and director of the school of photography RUIDO Formacion (now CFD Barcelona), where he also teaches documentary photography. His photography projects include: "En El Camino" (2010), winner of the PoYi Latin for the Best Photobook of the year for its focus on the trip Central American migrants take through Mexico; "Neutral Fire," which is about Swiss sharpshooting culture; the long-term project "Masafer. Life in the Interstice," which is about the life of the cave-dwelling communities in the South Hebron Hills, shortlisted for the 2013 Fotopres of Spain; “All the Ices the Ice,” a study of the melting of glaciers and its consequences in the Nepalese Himalayas, a collaboration with ETH Zurich; and “What Remains,” which is about the 2014 attacks on Gaza, commissioned by Al Hoash Gallery for the Qalandia International Biennale, with images published by Al Jazeera. Soteras Jalil was awarded “Outstanding Young Artist of the Year” by the National Chamber of Commerce of Argentina. He is represented by Sarah Preston/Neutral Grey Agency.
Copyright 2015 Nathalie Handal