When the terrorist organization, ISIS, isn't busy terrorizing people, they are apparently busy stealing photographer's artwork. In this day and age, it's not uncommon to have your work stolen. Heck, it's pretty common. But having the bane of the earth stealing your work has to be a new experience. That's not the end of the story though. It gets worse.
Brian McCarty initially found the image using the photo theft alert website, Pixsy. He passed it on to a few Arabic speaking friends and they confirmed it had indeed been stolen and used as war propaganda by ISIS. The image, entitled "Cinderella," is from his project series WAR-TOYS, which he began in 2011. The project's noble beginnings are what makes this particular infringement so disturbing. Brian McCarty's photo series is based on drawings by refugee children during art therapy. This particular drawing, by a small girl in Gaza, depicted a young girl crying while being surrounded by military vehicles and soldiers. Brian McCarty, taking the drawing as inspiration, took toys he had found amongst the refugees and wreckage to create the photo.
ISIS then took the photo and altered it so that their flag and an open Quran are being protected by a bubble. The text reads, "Even if war destroys everything, the Islamic sign and state is protected and will never fall down."
They took a little girl’s very real fear of war and turned it into something promoting extremist beliefs — ones at the core of unspeakable amounts of death and suffering.
The image, which first started appearing in 2014, was quickly removed from social media hosts such as Twitter when their existence was made known. Though it's certain McCarty would have a case in international law, it wouldn't fix anything: "any victory would be symbolic. I could never accept any money from a terrorist organization, even if I used every dime of it to fund art therapy programs for refugees around the world.”
Despite the theft, Brian McCarty plans to continue his work. The heart of the project is caring for the children of these war stricken areas. He hopes his work brings awareness to their part of the story, their heartache, and their fear. For more information on his project, or to donate, head on over to the project's website.