Refugee cri­sis put in fo­cus

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - War­ren Hately

Mar­garet River-based glo­be­trot­ting pho­tog­ra­pher David Dare Parker has had a ma­jor win at the WA Me­dia Awards.

The vet­eran free­lancer, war pho­tog­ra­pher and for­mer Walk­ley Award win­ner took out the Fea­ture Pho­to­graphic Es­say for his work on the dis­placed Ro­hingya peo­ple, re­ported by the Times last year.

Dare Parker told the Times the win was a tes­ta­ment to the hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis and he was glad his work kept it in the pub­lic eye.

The pho­tog­ra­pher was embed­ded with other me­dia out­lets and non-gov­ern­ment agen­cies work­ing the refugee cri­sis, trig­gered by con­flict in Myan­mar (for­merly known as Burma), and was one of the most har­row­ing jobs he had worked.

“To a per­son, we all un­der­stood how im­por­tant it was to play some part in try­ing to keep this story in the news,” he said.

“I am a pho­tog­ra­pher. How­ever, in some ways, this story is all about words. Tes­ti­mony.

“Most of the sur­vivors we met had told their sto­ries be­fore, to other me­dia, and it was dif­fi­cult to ask them to re­live their hor­ror again.

“The women had been through the worst of it.

“Their tes­ti­mony of hav­ing their chil­dren killed in front of them. Gang rape. Throats cut, hacked with ma­chetes — to be left for dead,” Dare Parker said. “But ev­ery per­son we met, that had a story to tell, wanted to tell it. Their sto­ries were con­sis­tent. They want to be be­lieved.

“They want the world to know what they have been through. They want jus­tice.”

Dare Parker said it was hard to un­der­stand the ha­tred di­rected against the eth­nic mi­nor­ity, most of whom were “sim­ple vil­lagers, not in­sur­gents”.

The Me­dia, En­ter­tain­ment and Arts Al­liance judges were unan­i­mous in prais­ing Dare Parker’s work as “world-class” and “a stand-out above all oth­ers”.

“A telling visual por­trayal of the suf­fer­ing of the Ro­hingya . . . and the af­ter­math of ap­par­ent at­tempted geno­cide,” the judges said.

The me­dia award co­in­cides with an­other im­por­tant gong for the pho­tog­ra­pher, who also claimed first place for his photo Ex­o­dus, above, at the na­tional Aus­tralian Pho­tog­ra­phy Awards.

David Dare Parker’s prize-win­ning pho­to­graph Ex­o­dus featured Ro­hingya refugees cross­ing the Naf River into Bangladesh.

Pic­ture: John Stan­meyer

David Dare Parker in ac­tion.

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