the importance of witness

to the importance of witness
from the account of a previous inmate
on his experiences at guantanamo bay
(which approaches its 10th anniversary
if you can even call the opening of a prison/detention/torture/death camp
an event worth anniversarizing)
where prisoners gear up for hungerstrikes
because 10 years is 10 years too long

to photographs as big as my living room wall
dealing with environment
which, at this moment in time,
means images of witness
(what it took for edgar martins to let the fire eat the ferns
in a forest in portugal
to watch
to capture
instead of to reverse.
what it took for naoya hatakeyama
to capture blasts in japan
exploding earth [what some call mining] for lime.
what it took for edward burtynsky
to loom far enough above
to begin to capture the scope of the
black slick facing off with the sea and the broken machinery that made it
without wanting to toss himself into the
oily cerrulean
before the helicopter headed back to locked land.)