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Born 16 july 1968 in Shahrestan village, near the northern Iranian city of Rasht, Mohammad Ali Hasanjani was only 18 years old when he was deployed by the Iranian Army on the frontlines of the Iran-Iraq war. Soon after he was killed and his body never recovered. For 27 years he lay missing, buried amidst the wreckage of war, his family having no remains with which to mourn. However, after missing for 27 years, Mohammad's body was found and he was recently returned home to his village for a hero's funeral.
During the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1989) hundreds of thousands of soldiers were killed on both sides. In Iran, people who were killed in the conflict were declared martyrs, or heroes for their country. Due to the chaotic and exceptionally deadly nature of the war, many soldiers went missing in battle. At the end of the war, the search began to find those missing in action and the mission continues to this day. Many of those soldiers who are found are never identified. However, in some cases, like that of Mohammad Ali Hasanjani, missing soldiers are indentified and returned home for a long overdue funeral.
These photos chronicle the funeral of Mohammad Ali Hasanjani 27 years after he was killed.
Renewed fighting and large-scale displacement in South Sudan is now sowing the seeds of a potential famine, according to the UN. Although for some South Sudanese, starvation is already a reality.
The Central African Republic (CAR) has experienced decades of political unrest. Violence has spiralled since the 2013, when the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels alliance
ousted President Francois Bozize. Their abuses against the majority Christian population sparked a wave of revenge attacks that led to massacres across the country.
Violence in the north east of the country and in the capital Bangui has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. UNHCR estimates that over 2000 people have been killed since December 2013. More than 600 000 people have been internally displaced and some 100 000 have fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of the Congo, Chad and Cameroon.
According to the UNHCR, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is now hosting nearly 60,000 refugees from Central African Republic. Half of them are spread across four refugee camps, while the others are living with host families.
An estimated 9000 people live in the Mole refugee camp, located on the banks of the Oubagui river, 35 kilometres from the nearest big town, Zongo, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Nearly 10,000 refugees, both Muslims and Christians, have found refuge in the Boyabu Camp.
Mount Sinabung volcano spews ash and lava as seen from Tiga Kicat village in Karo district, Indonesia's North Sumatra province, early morning January 5, 2014. About 20,000 villagers have been evacuated since authorities raised the alert status for Sinabung to the highest level in November 2013, local media reported on Monday.
Syrian Refugees in Lebanon, Jordan,Iraq,and Turkey
Alexander, 50, prepares himself for his team's night shift. He served throughout Syria with a small team of special forces between 1983 and 1984. He arrived in Maidan after the violence of the police on November 30 to protect the people. Since he has children, he wants them to grow up in a democratic country. "I am awaiting changes since our independence in 1991," he says, "Yanukovich when he had finally the possibility of joning Europe, he showed his real face."
Somali women in Minneapolis, Somalia's largest diaspora in the Western world, hold the destiny of an entire community abroad, badly bruised by more than 20 years of civil war, in their hands. They realize that America offers them opportunities they would never dream of in their own country. And while they are taking advantage of what America has to offer, Somali women are also determined to preserve their African and Muslim identity while raising their children. Successful, hard-working, they are three times more likely than their male counterparts to study in Minnesota, the northern U.S. state that is home to the largest Somali diaspora in the western world. Yet this success is coupled with an unexpected challenge: how to find a Somali husband when you’re so qualified. The problem is so acute that some of these female refugees have no choice but to return to Africa to track down a man.
A photojournalist documents the famous, late, leader, Nelson Mandela and his resonance throughout South Africa, from where he was imprisoned to artwork on city walls. Mandela passed away on December 5, 2013.
As news of violent militias, unchecked powers, rebel uprisings and high profile kidnappings fill the pages, turmoil and discontent fill many minds. Though, it is easy to get caught up in the loudest elements of regime change. We often forget that Libya, is home to many people, many of whom are trying to rebuild and grow after years of hardship.
As this fledgling democracy finds its feet, Libyans enjoy the freedom of daily life. Despite all the hardship Libyans struggle with due to the conflict, there is room for new opportunities because of the war. Booming after the controlling government of the Gadhafi era, many of the spheres he regulated are now wide open. News outlets in Libya expanded from a handful of censored papers to hundreds of newspapers, radio shows, and cable channels. Many presume that the countries new constitution will hold greater rights for women and minorities. Intrepid women have taken to running for elected office and opening small businesses. Libyans feel liberated and can indulge in pastimes banned under the strict Gaddafi regime such as boxing and several media outlets have launched on account of the new freedom of press. Much has changed for the better, shelled stores have been rebuilt and are back in business and the fragile government grows more cohesive every day.
After a year of civil war, life has begun to move beyond the revolution. Babies are birthed every day into the new fledgling country, marriages officiated and soldiers repatriated. While the violence in Libya has diminished allowing room for regrowth, sporadic flares of conflict take the main stage while a critical part of the story of the revolution is ignored. Libya, now more than ever, isn’t simply violent rebels in a dusty desert depicted in western media.
Students have returned to class working through the summer to make up time lost and progress with their degrees. Student government, which was also banned under the previous government is now a popular club as Libyans; who haven’t voted in 42 years exercise their rights regularly. Often voting on even the smallest things.
Though some things will never change in this desert country. The beach is still a popular destination, with families filing the sand every evening. Amusement parks are now open, after crews were quickly dispatched to fix the damage and cover the bullet holes.
The Libyan people are experiencing a whole range of emotions that go beyond violence and suffering. Libya’s rehabilitation efforts as a country move slowly though they are much more powerful and important than the dissonance among few and with that, healing can begin.
Rebirth has come to the country, and with that the brave can find forgiveness among neighbors and a country can find peace.
Despite threats of serious criminal charges, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have taken to the streets since late November, blockading government buildings and protesting against their government they accuse of returning the country to Kremlin control. This photo essay is an inside look at protesters' life and organization in the past two weeks of escalating protests.
Photos by: Maciej Moskwa / TESTIGO
A prosthetic limb center recently opened just outside Reyhanli, Turkey. The center helps those who have lost limbs in the fighting in Syria. The center manufactures high quality prosthetics on-site, assigns them to the wounded and helps with the rehabilitation process afterwards.
The clinic now produces limbs with a quality that can be compared to European standards, however, none of the staff at the center have a medical background. Some of the staff are previous patients, and have been trained by teams visiting from teams that also visit Pakistan, the UK and elsewhere in Turkey.
The clinic is already treating up to 10 patients a day, but there are thousands more in need. To reach them those in need, there are plans in progress to launch a mobile center that will work from inside Syria next year.
Working in a nondescript machine shop on the outskirts of Kilis, Turkey, a hacker and an engineer duo are putting the finishing touches on the robotic arms of a largely self-funded robot that will rescue casualties of sniper attacks without putting further lives at risk who try to rescue the victims.
The arms will be attached to a modified armoured bulldozer, and controlled using a sophisticated remote system with a 50 kilometre range. The team have been in discussion with Doctors Without Borders (MSF), who have expressed interest in the project and have also been approached by Google Ideas to speak about their work.
With the all important arms now nearing completion, the duo are confident they will be able to get the arms over the Syrian border for final assembly within weeks.
There were at least 20 dead, after an explosion occurred near a building belonging to the Iranian Embassy in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital of Beirut, this morning, Tuesday, 19-11-2013
At least 23 people were killed and more than 145 injured in two explosions that ripped through Beirut's neighborhood of Bir Hassan, near the Iranian embassy. The cultural attaché for the Iranian embassy, Sheikh Ibrahim Ansari, was among those killed. Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an al-Qaeda-linked group, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Photos by Hussein Baydoun
Inside the Western Sahara are the little-known Saharawis, where about 50,000 make up a tenth of the total population. Double that number is the amount of Moroccan security personnel - 100,000. Life is difficult there, with rife unemployment.
Many of these people tell stories of being arrested and beaten during peaceful demonstrations. While those Saharawis arrested talk of humiliations, beatings and torture, others speak of relatives engaged in political activities and protests who have been imprisoned, allegedly on false charges.
Many among the younger generation of Saharawis are getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress and the difficult life, and some are talking about reigniting the armed struggle against Morocco.
Protesters scuffle with police during a demonstration near the parliament in central Sofia November 12, 2013. Several hundred students and anti-government protesters surrounded the parliament in the Bulgarian capital on Tuesday demanding the resignation of the Socialist-led government.
Photos and Text by Georgi Kozhuharov
The Caliber 3 Academy in the West Bank area of Gush Etzyon has become a renowned training center for both professionals and amateurs alike, where people come from around the world to be trained in counter-terrorism techniques. On any given training day, the trainers at Caliber 3 are instructing Israeli citizens and tourists, adults and children, in emergency response tactics and “Krav Maga,” a self-defense system developed for military in Israel and Hungary that consists of a wide combination of techniques sourced from boxing, Muay Thai, Wing Chun, Judo, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and grappling, along with realistic fight training.
The company was founded by IDF Colonel Sharon Gat in 2002 Caliber 3 was founded by Sharon Gat, who is also the CEO. The academy is certified by Israel’s Ministry of Homeland Security, the Police Force, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and works closely with the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) as well. Despite the fact that the shooting ranges are filled with photo targets of Arab men wearing keffiyahs on their heads, Gat stresses that the training is not how to attack or provoke terrorists, but only protection. “Even if the targets are Arabs and they don't like Jews, we don't shoot people that are not intended to make a terrorist act.”
American and Russian tourists are among some of the many tourists who come to the academy looking for a different type of tourism than usual. Caliber 3 advertises this new tourism as “Commando Tourism,” where people can come train alongside seasoned veterans with real-life counterterrorism experience. The bullets are true but the participants seem to be having a lot of fun. One woman, Margo, came from New York with her young son Harry to learn self-defenses, while Mary from Fishers, Indiana, came with her entire family just for a good time during their vacation in Israel.
"They are mostly American and Russian Jews who have relatives or friends in the colonies," says Gat, continuing, “they want to understand what it means to live in a climate of war where you must defend 24/7 from the Palestinians."
The academy includes three shooting ranges, a dining room, a Krav Maga gym and a tactical training center. Caliber 3 is dedicated to Capt. Hagai Hayim Lev, a 24-year-old Israeli soldier killed in 2002 during a military operation in southern Gaza Strip.
Photos by Giuliano Camarda
Photos By: Eloise Bollack
While the world is busy discussing if World Cup 2022 should be taken away from Qatar or
moved to the winter, people in Qatar are busy playing football. Fans are attending games in
during the Qatar stars league, children are training in clubs and grown ups are playing in amateur leagues. With the time of 8.5 or 8 years to wait depending on the decision by FIFA, there is enough time to improve the football culture in Qatar and remove all the negative expectations about 2022.
Qatar is a country of only 2,042,444 people (July 2013 est.) which includes only 15% Qataris. The rest is expats mainly from other Arabic countries, Philippines and Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan. With the future of Qatar, a future of expansion (4.19% growth rate), and thereby more foreigners, Qatar will be an even more multicultural country.
Football culture was introduced to Qatar in the 1940s and 1950s by oil workers from Europe. The Qatar Stars League (QSL) is the highest professional league in Qatari football with its first season played in 1963 and now in 2013, featuring 14 clubs with one club demoted to second.
From the beginning of the establishment of the league, it had problems attracting spectators even with high profile players like Raul, Pep Guardiola and Gabriel Batistuta. With only around 300.000 Qataris, expatriates must be brought in to increase the numbers. The official attendance is over 5000 in average but that is impossible with such a small population. Slovenia, a country with
similar population as Qatar (but almost all are Slovenians compared to Qatar) had an average of 530 spectators in the 2012/13 season.
The attendance in Qatar is probably similar (if not a bit lower) but a lot more loud; as singing through a megaphone and playing the drums throughout the game are common.
Qatar Football Assocation (QFA) and Qatar Stars League (QSL) have started a number
of initiatives to improve the attendance: relations with schools and embassies, various
communities, a fan club where you get points for watching a game and is offering price bonuses at some of the games. The initiatives have attracted more spectators but getting people to the stadium is a change of culture in a country where football is mostly watched at home, in front of the TV.
There are mainly 3 groups of fans with their own characteristics. Sometimes, depending on the club, are all present at games. Local fans are mostly fans paid to attend the games. There are fan coordinators who coordinate the cheering, singing and clapping and who circulate among the different clubs.
A band is playing local songs on drums and one or 2 fans is singing through out the whole game. Saadi Ahmed Al-Essa, a local who had paid for his ticket, at Al Sadd against Qatar SC, is going with his 2 children when there is a bigger game but he prefers to see the game in person.
The Asians represent the largest group of fans at most games. Khalil Khandoker is a Bangladeshi citizen, working in Qatar for a construction company. He is a the stadium for the game with some of his friends. Watching football is one of the cheapest activities possible for him in Doha ( a ticket is around 3 dollars) but mostly they do get free tickets.
The atmosphere is good he think with the dancing from the Africans and the music from
the locals. Asians are more quiet than the other groups but still clap and cheer during the game.
African spectators are coming to watch the games of the clubs with African players and if they live around one of the stadiums. African spectators are like they are at home: dancing and cheering in the most wonderful way. It seems they came to the stadium for the party and not the game.
With African spectators, Asians and locals on a stadium the atmosphere is energetic and loud: music, clapping, singing and dancing. Nnakeme Adeyemi, a Nigerian fan, at Al Wakrah against Al Sadd, is mostly at the stadium because of his friends and not the
football. But the atmosphere is good and he will surely return.
Compared to countries of similar size the Qatar Stars League has an attendance which is reasonable, and as anybody who has attended a game includes more singing and drumming from the spectators than similar crowds across the world.
Qatar Stars League will never be like Premier League in England but with the interest of Qataris, expats and initiates will be an attractive experience before 2022 World Cup.
Thousands filled the streets of the village of Beit Liqya, mourning the death of Islamic Jihad militant Muhammad Assi ,28, who was shot dead on Wednesday by Israeli forces near Ramallah. At the funeral, Assi was wrapped in Palestinian Islamic Jihad flags. Scores of cars followed the procession and thousands carried the body while chanting slogans calling for revenge and resistance against Israel's occupation. Islamic Jihad did confirm Assi was one of its militants. The Israeli army confirmed the incident and claimed Assi was responsible for the Tel Aviv bus bombing in November 2012 that wounded 29 people.
Photos and Text by Giuliano Camarda
Arsal, a Lebanese border city with Syria, is a haven for the more than 12,000 Syrians who fled the fighting of the region of Qalamoun recently. Inside a building under construction in the small city, which today hosts more Syrians than Lebanese, the Union of Syrian Organizations of Medical Aid (UOSSM) organizes a formation on war medicine for 32 Syrian doctors and nurses every month.
In October, most of the trainees were originated from Qusayr, Syria, where they had to treat patients in clandestine clinics, hidden from the eyes of the Syrian authorities. Some were imprisoned and others tortured because they were treating civilians in secret. When the city was taken by the Syrian regime in summer 2013, they had to flee to Arsal, where they built a hospital inside of a mosque. There, they began to cure the injured from Qusayr, before being overwhelmed by the injured from the region of Qalamoun, the new epicentre of the Syrian civil war.
Between the 28th of November and the 3rd of December, half of the doctors and nurses who attended the formation were coming from Qalamoun. Some had lost their parents, other their children. But all were determined to learn the vital techniques to cure in the conditions of violence and shortage. Once trained and back in Syria, they will reproduce what they learned and train the rare doctors and nurses who still treat civilians among the ruins of Syria.
In the midst of a war where humanitarian right is seldom respected and where doctors are considered as targets by the Syrian regime, Raphaël Pitti, a former French war doctor and founder of the UOSSM, decided to organize formations of war medicine in Turkey, Syria and Lebanon, to teach to local doctors how to save lives in conditions of war. Today, 300 doctors and 350 nurses have been trained by the UOSSM. In the rebel areas of Syria, where international NGOs have no access, they remain the only people who can still save lives... at the risk of their own.
In the gold mines of Sinktu and Thabait Kyin, in the Mandalay division of Myanmar, gold mining is famous. Over thirty gold mines are active, but the scene doesn't look much like wealth. Half naked men, with rusty pneumatic drills and homemade dynamite are lowered 500 feet, on fraying ropes, into holes in the ground. Covering their faces with rags, they drill gold ore from the stone.
“We break the rocks with high pressured guns, but breathe the small particles that come from breaking the stone. We contract lung infections that we call "gun disease," says Wat Tay, 35, a gold miner from Sintku Township.
This year gold production in the area has doubled due to softening government sanctions and international demand. Myanmar's huge mineral deposits are seen as key sectors in export-driven growth. In recent months the price of gold has slowly risen in Myanmar, possibly linked to the decline of the dollar, as an opportunistic public sell their jewelry at high prices ready to buy back if prices drop.
Forums are being held in capital cities by the Myanmar government, mine owners, and the Ministry of Mines to persuade foreign investment from corporate companies for industrial technology. The idea is to reduce Myanmar's poverty rate from 26 percent to 16 percent by 2015, by exporting the country's gold reserves. However, added demand for export means an increased need for manpower, working hours, and medical support.
Through the night groups of men squat above mine shafts, ankle deep in muddy puddles, waiting to haul out ore or winch up their friends. After working in the mines for around ten years, the worker's lungs give in form undiagnosed diseases. Hidden in bamboo huts, attached to oxygen, they weaze out their last days.
“The owners of gold pits don't care about the health issues of the miners, so the health problems are increasing. They don't pay for safety protection for us, so we make do ourselves, like putting some clothes over our mouths, or buying cheap masks to reduce the dust we breath in,” says Wat Tay.
Miners are given one or two bananas after a shift in the tunnels, to help with nutrition. But no respiration equipment is provided by the mine owners, and the miners don't have the money to invest in equipment themselves. Although cases are frequent, perhaps inevitable, there is no health care system for the miners and no diagnosis of “gun disease.” Instead they are given a tank of oxygen and left to fend for themselves, too weak to seek other employment or to leave their huts.
“I can't breathe well. If I breath my abdominal muscles are tight and it hurts also in my back. I pain feel when I breathe. Twice they've given me pills for Tuberculosis, but this medicine has no effect for me,” says Kwin Tone Sel, 42. He used to mine in Sintku Township, before his lung disease prevented him from leaving his bed.
Thousands of protestors took to the street on October 6th not only to commemorate the war against Israel, but many were also calling for the ouster of General Sisi.
By: Leyland Cecco
Photos of Syria covering Maskah and Ar Raqqah
Every year, during the first weekend of October, thousands of passionate cyclists reach Gaiole, a small village in the Italian region of Chianti, for the most famous old-style tourist cycling event in the world, the so-called "L'Eroica" ("the heroic" ).
Attracted by red wine, the famous "white road" through an amazing landscape just 15 kilometers outside the city of Siena, people from all over the world share their passion for cycling. This year, more than 5.400 participants dived into the past to enjoy the unique atmosphere of the race: old-fashioned clothes, dirty wheels and vintage bikes.
Four different routes with distances between 35 and 200 km wind through the vineyards of Val d'Orcia and Chianti, surrounded by wild animals and the true spirit of cycling. This unique event, the biggest in Italy and one of the most important in the world knows only few rules: only vintage bikes and instead of competition the true spirit of "L'Eroica": a genuine passion for cycling, nature and food.
Protestors flee volleys of tear gas fired by security forces to disperse a march headed towards Tahrir Square.
Youth challenge security forces as tear gas is fired towards the crowds.
Protestors hold up rocks that are thrown at security forces. "They have guns, and this is all we have," said one young protestor.
Protestors clean of tear gas residue during clashes in Cairo's Dokki district.
A protestor grabs rocks to throw at security forces. Anti military rule groups clashed with police in Cairo's Dokki district.
Protestors flee en masse as security forces fire tear gas to disperse the march headed towards Tahrir Square.
Thousands of protestors took to the street on October 6th not only to commemorate the war against Israel, but many were also calling for the ouster of General Sisi.
The protestors flashed the '4' in solidarity with those killed during the Rabaa al Adeweya sit-in in August.
Protestors flash the 'Rabaa' sign in solidarity with those who were killed during the dispersal of the Rabaa al Adeweya sit-in. While some are members of the Muslim Brotherhood, many are frustrated with military rule.
Thousands of protestors march through downtown Cairo to commemorate the October 6th war and to protest against military rule.