Werner Ulrich's Home Page:  Picture of the Month

 Now "Ulrich's Bimonthly"












June 2004

   Picture of the month











Relapse into barbarism  After the pictures of atrocities that reached us from Iraq in the past month, I find it difficult to select an adequate picture for June's "picture of the month" page. "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a time of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality. (Dante Alighieri)


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For a hyperlinked overview of all issues of "Ulrich's Bimonthly" and the previous "Picture of the Month" series, see the site map


Geneva Conventions  Switzerland is the depositary state of the Geneva Conventions of 1864, 1949 and 1977, by which nearly 200 signatory states obliged themselves to respect human rights in times of war, among them the United States (since 1955), Iraq (since 1956) and the United Kingdom (since 1957). From what we have heard and seen about acts of terror and torture committed by both sides involved in the war in Iraq, it is clear that basic rules of the Geneva treaties regulating the treatment of combatants, war prisoners, and civilian persons have been broken, in a way that cannot leave us indifferent. Yet I stand helpless in the face of these deeply disturbing, ugly pictures. What picture of the month can I possibly put against them?

Geneva Conventions:
the core of international humanitarian law

Two major information sites:

Internat'l Red Cross

Society of Professional




Blackout  The only halfway adequate picture of which I can think is a totally black picture, as a symbol of the blackout of civilization that is occurring in Iraq and, at the same time, a call for an end of the acts of barbarism captured in those pictures: "no more of it!"



A picture of peace and hope  Out of the blackout emerges a picture that I want to put against all the violations of human rights that we are witnessing. It is to convey the peace of a landscape that is dear to me, a view of Lake Thun at nightfall. The pyramid of Mount Niesen rises out of the night into the transparent light of the western evening sky. In the background, the snow mountains of the Bernese Oberland emerge. Lights of hope from human settlements around the lake cheer up the scene.

I have enjoyed this landscape for many years, and again in these last few weeks. Its harmony radiates a deep sense of peace to me, in the sense not only of the absence of war and violence but also of a tranquil state of mind; of "a deep sense of security that arises from mutual understanding, tolerance of others' point of view, and respect for their rights." (The Dalai Lama: Ancient Wisdom, Modern World: Ethics for the New Millennium, 1999, Ch. 14). It is the kind of picture that reminds us of what a wonderful place Planet Earth could be, if it were not for all the atrocities committed by humans in the names of religion and reason.



Technical data  Digital photograph taken on 19 May 2004 at 9:33 PM, shutter speed 1/8 second, aperture f/2.8, ISO 100, focal length 7.mm (equivalent to 35 mm with a conventional 35 mm camera). Original picture size: 2272 x 1704 pixels, memorized with "fine" compression (821 KB); current resolution 1134 x 794 pixels, compressed to 75 KB.



June, 2004

June 2004 - The pyramid of Mount Niesen rising out of the night over Lake Thun, Switzerland

 Against the pictures of barbarism  (roll over)

Genuine peace, genuine lasting world peace, can be achieved only through inner peace.

With violence at the expenses of others' rights and welfare, you have solved not a problem, but only have created seeds for another.

Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Words of Peace Calendar 2004)


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Last updated 17 May 2010 (layout) and 28 Dec 2004 (text; first published 1 June 2004)


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