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Photographer captures impact of war on women, children


 
Marissa Roth lost family members in the Holocaust, and she is drawn to the stories of those who survive death. She photographed many for the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.
As the former news photographer, her work has also taken her to the edge of war zones.Just 988 photos of children and women refugees in Pakistan were one of the first of the series suggested by a colleague.
Marissa Roth: “She said, 'You know, there's a story nobody cares about.' This was towards the end of the 10-year war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan. And she said, 'There are 100,000 Afghan war widows, and nobody cares.' And I thought, 'Well, I care.'”
Her journey would lead to a Kosovar refugee camp in Albania, and to Japan to meet survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bombing. In Northern Ireland, she photographed a former bomber-turned-peace activist, and a woman who lost her husband to the sectarian violence who offered Roth an insight.
Marissa Roth: “She said, 'I bet you find women are the same everywhere.' And so I learned a lot from my subjects, because I thought, 'Wow, she's right. She’s really right.’ And I think really the constants are the absolute fundamentals of life.You know,it's keeping home and hearth and keeping children healthy and safe, in fact keeping families together.”
From the Balkans to Pakistan and Southeast Asia, she has shown the scars of war, including victims and survivors of the Khmer Rouge brutality in Cambodia and children in Vietnam born with birth defects caused by the defoliant Agent Orange. Roth also shows the grief of an American mother who lost son in Iraq. She says that amid the sadness, the character of the survivors has impressed her.
Marissa Roth: “That the human spirit is pretty remarkable and very resilient and beautiful that in spite of war and madness and destruction, you know, that people get on with their lives.”
Roth's most recent work has again taken her halfway around the world, this time to document an endangered culture. She is publishing a book of photographs of Tibet, highlighting its Buddhist religion, its art and people. Her exhibit, "One Person Crying: Women and War," is now on display in Oradour-sur-Glane, France, the site of a massacre by German troops during World War II. The exhibit will open in June at a veterans memorial park in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Mike O'Sullivan, VOA News, Los Angeles.

Source: VOA
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