“Two years ago, Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges and award-winning cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco set out to take a look at the sacrifice zones, those areas in America that have been offered up for exploitation in the name of profit, progress, and technological advancement. Continue reading →
Abandoned church – Camden NJ Image by Blake W.B. via Flickr
I park my car in the lot in front of the rectory of Sacred Heart in Camden, N.J., and walk through a gray drizzle to Emerald Street. My friend Lolly Davis, whose blood pressure recently shot up and whose kidneys shut down, had been taken to a hospital in an ambulance but was now home. I climb the concrete steps to her row house and ring the bell. There is an overpowering stench of garbage in the street. Her house is set amid other brick and wooden residences, some of which have been refurbished under Monsignor Michael Doyle’s Heart of Camden project at Sacred Heart, a Roman Catholic parish. Other structures on Davis’ street sit derelict or bear the scars of decay and long abandonment.
Journalist Chris Hedges and graphic artist Joe Sacco traveled to the most depressed pockets of the United States to combine narrative nonfiction with graphic art in their book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt . Together they report from the vast and growing zones of sacrifice imposed across the U.S. by the corporate state. From the streets of Camden, New Jersey, the devastated coal fields of West Virginia, the Lakota reservation of Pine Ridge, South Dakota and among undocumented agricultural workers in Florida, Hedges and Sacco offer a ground up view of existence when the marketplace rules, when corporate capitalism is unregulated and unfettered.
Joe Sacco is one of the world’s foremost cartoonists and is widely hailed as the creator of war-reportage comics. He is the author of Palestine, which received the American Book Award, and Safe Area Goražde, which was named a New York Times Notable Book. After completing a degree in journalism at the University of Oregon, Sacco set out to crisscross the globe, producing comics along the way. In the early 1990s he spent two months in Israel and the occupied territories, traveling and taking notes. When he returned to the U.S. he recorded what he had witnessed and heard during his Middle Eastern travels, combining the techniques of eyewitness reportage with the medium of comics storytelling to explore this complex, emotionally weighted situation. Palestine, the resulting book, set new standards for the use of the comic book as a documentary medium, and was the first nonfiction graphic novel to invite serious comparison with Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus. In 2000, Sacco finished Safe Area Goražde: The War In Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995: a 240-page exploration of a small Muslim enclave in Bosnia called Goražde. Sacco’s most recent major work is a book about the southern Gaza Strip, called Footnotes in Gaza, published by Metropolitan Books in early 2010. Joe Sacco is a citizen of Malta and currently resides in Portland, Oregon.