Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Halabja, Kurdistan Iraq- 28 veras after the Genocide.

Dana Omar Ali was only 6 years old  (Born 1982) in 1988. He lived in Halabja, a city in Iraq, close to the boarder of Iran. Saddam Hussein was the totalitarian Dictator who ruled the country. In 1988, he ordered a chemical attack on Halabja. Dana Omar Ali survived. He became  a university educated teacher. Since the attack, he had developed a small 'cough' but did not think it was anything serious. 4 years ago (as of June 2016), his lung capacity collapsed and he is now destined to stay in bed and needs a breathing machine to survive.
Dana Omar Ali at his home in Halabja (June 2016)
This is a fairly common story in the city where over 5000 people were killed and over 7000 people injured. Many of the survivors today have developed problems, like Dana Omar Ali, after the attack.

Kamel Abdel Kader was born 1973 and was 15 years old during the  chemical attack. He survived continued to live relatively normally. He got ill 8 years ago and is now, just like Dana Omar Ali, living with a breathing machine.
Kamel Abdel Kaderat his home in Halabja (June 2016) 
Friends, including the Mayor of Halabja, Khder Kareem, (second from the left) are visiting Kamel Abdel Kader.
Today, Halabja is a small city of about 117000 mostly Kurdish people. ‘The chemical attack happened towards the end of the Iran Iraq war- the Kurds in the Halabja region was supported by Iran. On March 16th 1988, after two days of ordinary artillery attacks, Iraqi planes dropped gas canisters on the town. The town and surrounding district were attacked with bombs, artillery fire, and chemical weapons, the last of which proved most devastating. At least 5,000 people died as an immediate result of the chemical attack and it is estimated that a further 7,000 people were injured or suffered long term illness. Most of the victims of the attack on the town of Halabja were Kurdish civilians’. (Wikipedia). 
Girl on bike in the Jewish quarter in the city of Halabja, Iraq in June 2016.
Two women walking in the Jewish quarter in the city of Halabja, Iraq in June 2016 
Street Marked in Halabja, June 2016.

No one knows exactly what was used, but it is believed that nerve agents Tabun, Sarin, VX as well as Mustard gas was used. Some argues that cyanid also was used.
The memorial cemetery in Halabja where victims of Saddam Husseins chemical attack of 1988 are buried. Baath's party members are not allowed to enter.
The memorial cemetary in Habaja is located in the outskirts of the town.
The memorial cemetery in Halbja, Iraq, a sculpture symbolises the victims of the attack in 1988. Some young people use the place to relax.
I visited Halabja in June 2016 with journalist Vicken Cheterian. 

#photography #documentary #photojournalism #reportage #webster #nikonpro #iraq #keystone #halabja #refugee #chemical #genocide

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bed for Janviere update

I was meant to be returning from Rwanda today after having delivered the bed to Janviere. The good news is that the bed is in Rwanda! The bad news is that we have had some administrative issues that have caused a delay. I am of course determined to make it to Rwanda in order to meet with Janviere again as well as giving her the new bed and am hoping everything is sorted so that this can now happen next month. I am looking forward to soon post the conclusion on this project- and- hopefully introduce stage two... Please stay in touch for the updates next week.
Many people helped by donating through 100days in Switzerland and the help will reach beyond the bed- more to come on that soon! The bed was a donation from Hospital MC Group, we have had help from Dutch medical component company Polyganics in order to ship the bed from Europe to Rwanda. Noord Nederlands Klussenbedrift made the box to pack it in. Photo Rudy Mareel
#genocide #neveragain #photography #documentary #photojournalism #reportage #webster #nikonpro #ronorp #keystone #photobastei #100days #ronorp #polyganics #NoordNederlandsKlussenbedrift

Friday, January 06, 2017

Yazda closed down

Sad news from Human Right Watch and writer Belkis Wille: "Yazda, a prominent nongovernmental organization supporting the Yezidi religious minority said it was shut down by security officers from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)". Yazda was a great help in the work we did in Norther Iraq/ Kurdistan last June. For many Yazidi, their support was clearly vital and it is sad to see this as not less but more help is desperately needed. Particularly now in the midst of winter. 
Jamil Shawmar at the Yazda Head office in Dohuk, Iraq.
Mahmoud, former soldier, helped liberating the Yazidi down from the mount Sinjar by creating a corridor into Syria. Now,  he is with Yassda. Dogure village.

#photography #documentary #photojournalism #reportage #webster #nikonpro #iraq #keystone #yazidi #refugee #sinjar #peshmerga

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Finally- a conclusion...and maybe a New Story

As this year is about to finish, I am happy to share the latest news on the project on helping Janviere with a new bed. The fundraising efforts were done in May. The planning took a little bit of time as I am based in Switzerland and this had to be organised in Rwanda. Friends who are based in Kigali and who knows Janviere were not available before January 1st- so we decided in the early fall to wait until early January. So- the plan is, next week will see the project come together! Some administrative issues seems to cause some problems- but I am determined to make it to Rwanda in order to meet with Janviere again as well as giving her the new bed and find out how the fund raising money can help her in the best possible way over the next few years. Please stay in touch for the updates next week!
From her bed, Janvier can see the corridor in the house where she lives. The little girl ofte come to play. Janvier was 11 in 1994, this girl is younger, but one can only imagine how different her life would have been without her injuries.
#genocide #neveragain #photography #documentary #photojournalism #reportage #webster #nikonpro #ronorp #keystone #photobastei #reverienrurangwa #ibuka #100days #ronorp #storytelling

Sunday, November 20, 2016

November 20th- The Universal Children's Day.

"On 20 November 1959 the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.[6] The United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 20 November 1989 and can be found on the Council of Europe website". Wikipedia.
So, today marks the day- the idea is to protect the rights of the children, perhaps more important then ever before.
Although Rwanda is making much progress, there are still 3 million people without access to clean water at home.
These children are staying in temporary refugee camps placed randomly on top of Sinjar mountain. There are no immediate prospects for them in terms of moving back home as most of the Sinjar city, as well as surrounding villages, are largely destroyed since the area fell in August 2014. Sinjar was liberated in November 2015 but it is not really possible move back. 
#photography #documentary #photojournalism #reportage #webster #nikonpro #iraq #keystone #yazidi #refugee #sinjar #peshmerga #sinjarmountain #universalchildrensday #rwanda #humanrights #water #un

Sunday, October 16, 2016

World Food Day, October the 16th.

October the 16th is the World Food Day and FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United
Nations) have made the theme: "Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too". It makes me think of the recent trip I made to Abidjan, Ivory Coast where I met people researching food and farmers making the most of their crops through tradition but also further training. 
Coffee farmers in the Ivory Coast.
Meat market in Abidjan.
Food market in Abidjan.
Local shopkeeper in downtown Abidjan.
Mobile coffee sales person.
#worldfoodday #ivorycoast #abidjan #climatechange #meat #food #research #nestle #maggi #fao #un

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016

Every 3 years, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture is awarded.
A master Jury met in June decided on who were this years winners of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture- I had the pleasure to photograph one of the winning projects- Superkilen in Copenhagen, Denmark. Reuters.
The park is much appreciated and used by the local population in the area of Nørrebro in Copenhagen.
Superkilen is divided into three sections. The long green section includes a basket ball/ skatepark area.
This family from Iraq plays chess on this Sunday afternoon in April.
The park is surrounded by apartment buildings and the population is very diverse.
The design of the park is done by designed by BIG, landscape architecture studio topotek1 and artist collective superflex, ‘superkilen’ is defined by  three color-coded areas.
Children are creative in their game while using the basket ball court.
All the furnitures, toys and other items in the park comes from all over the world- the swings are from Iraq.
Bright neon signs from Russia and Quatar are placed in one of the main urban squares. 
The neon lights are lit up at night. 
The spirit is high and a little boy agreed to be photographed if he could photograph me!
#copenhagen #agakhan #photography #nikon #d5 #photojournalism #architecture #akdn #df #architectureaward #keystone #development 

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Farmers, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

These cooperative farmers are exploring and preparing the fields which will later be used for cocoa and coffee. In the meantime, they are growing cassava. 
"Coffee production in Ivory Coast is important for the economy of the country as coffee is the second largest export commodity of the country... Cocoa is even more important and as of 2012, the country is supplying 33% of cocoa produced in the world." -Wikipedia. 

‪#‎photography‬ ‪#‎documentary‬ ‪#‎photojournalism‬ ‪#‎reportage‬ ‪#‎nikonpro‬ ‪#‎keystone‬ #‎ivorycoast #abidjan #‎marked #foodresearch #coffee #cocoa #cassava 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Khanke camp, near Dohuk in Kurdistan/ northern Iraq.

Hajji Mirza is from Tel Azar. Now, he and his family live under a tent in Khanke camp, near Dohuk in northern Iraq. He is one among 2’908 families, or 16’611 people. “For 20 years I worked as construction worker in Tikrit. For 15 years I did the same in Kurdistan. We did not ask for government positions, we did not protest, all what we want is to continue our way of life. In spite of all that they keep killing us.”
Hajji Mirza is from Tel Azar. Now, he and his family live under a tent in Khanke camp, near Dohuk in northern Iraq.
Children stop to buy something in the shop of Hajji Mirza inside the Khanke Camp,
near Dohuk in the Northern Kurdistan Iraq.
Work is ongoing at the Camp Khanki, near Duhok, northern Iraq. The camp is large with 3120 tents. 2908 families and 16611 people.

#photography #documentary #photojournalism #reportage #webster #nikonpro #iraq #keystone

#yazidi #refugee #sinjar #peshmerga

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The safe corridor that saved thousands of Yazidi's from the Mount Sinjar in Augsut 2014.

Sinjar fell on August 3rd 2014. Thousands were trapped on top of Mount Sinjar. Mahmoud, a former peshmerga soldier, helped with the 'coridor' that helped liberating many Yazidi people from the Sinjar mountain between 9th and 11th of August 2014. People could then walk into Syria and then later back in to northern Iraq on the north side of Mount Sinjar. The "corridor" was established from the mountain enabled 10,000 people to evacuate on the first day. Mahmod now works for Yazda, an NGO working on helping the Yazidi population in Northern Kurdistan Iraq. He is based in their office in Dogure, a village at the foot of Mount Sinjar.
Mahmoud, former peshmerga soldier,  now works with the NGO Yassda at their office in Dogure village at the foot of Mount Sinjar.
#photography #documentary #photojournalism #reportage #webster #nikonpro #iraq #keystone #yazidi #refugee #sinjar #peshmerga