Thursday, September 13, 2007
The story of Brad Will: Journalism Out-of-Service
Keeping an understated ton of voice the story of Brad Will is a 'very disturbing one' for every blogger, as it involves the documented death of a photo journalist while his photographed murderers are still walking free, drinking Mexican beer. They were never arrested simply because the journalist they killed was representing alternative media at its best rather than some commercial mainstream media channel. Yet, above everything, the Brad Will story raises the question whether Journalism should be in the service of justice or just a side viewer and observer of the injustice.
Brad Will in Oaxaca on Oct. 26th 2006, source: indymedia
For those who don't know Bradley (Brad) Roland Will was an American anarchist, documentary filmmaker and a journalist working with the Indymedia New York City center, who was shot and killed on October 27, 2006 during the teachers' strike in the Mexican city of Oaxaca. According to Wikipedia Will, who was 36 when he died, had arrived in Oaxaca in October 2006 in order to film the teachers' strike. On October 27, as he was shooting his footage nearby a pro-strike barricade, a gunmen approached and shot him and two other protesters – Esteban Zurita López and teacher Emilio Alonso Fabián. Will was shot twice. All three activists were killed and several others were injured.
Right from the beginning the Indymedia people claimed they have proof that the killer was a member of paramilitary group affiliated with the PRI, the former Mexican ruling party. Amazingly, Mexican daily newspaper El Universal indeed published photos of the suspected gunmen, who are believed to be local officials. Check them out yourself sourced courtesy of Narconews.com and see how they clearly show the assassins identified by El Universal: Juan Carlos Soriano Velasco (red tshirt), a police officer known as “the Grasshopper”; Manuel Aguilar (dark jacket), city personnel director; and public safety chief Avel Santiago Zárate (red shirt).
Based on his last footage, before getting shot Will was trapped in the middle of a narrow street but kept filming. Thus the footage which was pretty soon published by Indymedia, contains a clear view at the two gunmen including their guns firing which brings up the question of how come these guys were never arrested.
Will was a human rights activist first and a journalist second. Joshua Breitbart from Civil Defense says Will should be remembered as a hero of the New York City Independent Media Center because of his understanding Journalism is "either in the service of justice or it is a cause of injustice". Breitbart can be argued to more than one side but this way or another we think the story of Brad Will calls for an answer.
Above: A poster for the memory of Brad Will published on the Argentinian branch of Indymedia. Click here or on the image to download a high res version for printing and hanging on your wall.