My colleague Fr. Don Doll, S.J. shared this ad with me, which you can see on Vimeo here. It features renowned photojournalist Lynsey Addario talking about her adventure in Libya during the ouster of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. In the ad, Addario recounts an event on March 15, 2011, when her and four other photojournalists were stopped at a checkpoint by Gaddafi loyalists, were dragged out of the car in which they were traveling, and were held captive for six days.
What isn’t revealed in the ad is that the journalists’ driver, Mohamed Shaglouf, was also dragged from the car. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, he disappeared and his body was never recovered; so it seems safe to assume he was executed.
Fr. Doll tells me that Addario is an accomplished photographer. I have no doubt he’s right. But using this particular story in an ad—in which an innocent person was presumably killed—makes me uneasy. Couldn’t Audi’s advertising agency have found another example of an award-winning photographer who exemplified the quality of being “uncompromising?” Ignoring the presumed death of Shaglouf, in a story with clear commercial purposes, seems to rob Shaglouf of his dignity, and in some way makes light of his death. Rightly or wrongly the ad glorifies Addario at the expense of Shaglouf. What do you think?
Sources: Fr. Don Doll S.J., duckrabbit.info, cpj.org, Audi of America