Tags / history
Ninh My is one of the victims of Agent Orange. She is 18 years old, but she is neither able to speak nor write.
A few Vietnamese soldiers affected by Agent Orange live in the Vietnam Friendship Village, a center founded in 1992 by George Mizo, an American veteran of the Vietnam War.
Cancer, diabetes, intellectual disabilities and severe malformations are the consequences of Agent Orange that 3 million of Vietnamese are still suffering today.
Dust rises above the village. The Pamir Mountains are a snowless desert. For Europeans dust is associated with the scorching sweltering summer, cracked earth parched by the sun. Here it is dusty all the time until the first snow falls.
A calm afternoon in the village. Women sit in front of their houses. Here, houses are built with stones and clay mixed with straw. A roof is the most expensive part of a house as people need to import wood from Kirgizstan. During soviet times, it was not so expensive as it is now as it was imported from Siberia.
Sarabdek looks at his village. Roshorv is beautifully located village on a high mountain plateau. It is the biggest village in the Bartang Valley. 3 000 people live there in 165 houses. People came here 4 or 5 centuries ago from a village located below Yapshorv, which was slowly eroded away by the roaring Bartang River. Previously, there was only alpine pasture.
Catching a yak. A few wild yaks are brought from a distant Murghab. One was chosen to be culled for upcoming wedding party.
To kill a yak, men bind its legs, put it down, hold it and one of them cuts its throat.
Butchering the yak. As the custom, the neighbors receive a piece of meat, ready prepared and boiled.
The leftovers from the yak.
Sarabdek grinds flour in the water mill. Villagers make flour by themselves. There are 10 water mills in the village. At each house, bread tastes different as everyone bakes it in their own way, some add some oil, others more salt. The price of a bag of flour in a Soviet time was 11 rubles, today it costs 180 Somoni (30 euros), which constitutes Sarabdek’s monthly pension.
A woman takes water from a spring. The water from the spring is used for drinking and cooking. For washing and cleaning, people take water from a system of irrigation channels around the village.
The girl looks for sheep and goats. This task is reserved for children. There are 7 to 10 big herds in the village. In one herd, there are around 10 to 15 smaller groups each owned by a local. Shepherds switch their turn for grazing their herds.
The groom’s family goes to the bride's house to form a wedding party.
Kids are jumping from one roof to the other.
Musicians are greeting guests at bride’s house. The tambourine is a local traditional instrument.
A wedding ceremony takes place in the big summer room. Guests dance in pairs and then they leave the dance floor for the next. A wedding ceremony takes place at the bride’s home. If the young couple comes from the same village, a ceremony starts at a bride’s house and
Girls on their way back from school.
The wedding guests are dancing. Anyone who wants to come is welcome. Hopefully there will be just enough space to dance.
40 years after the end of Vietnam War, 150.000 Vietnamese children are still suffering the consequences of Agent Orange: cancer, malformations and social stigma.
In the Vietnam Friendship Village, victims learn how to sew and work with flowers. The aim of this vocational training is to prepare them to set up a business when they leave the center. Start their own business is often the only solution for these young people, children and grandchildren of Vietnamese bombarded with chemicals.
Since 1975, the rate of birth defects has quadrupled in Vietnam.
The Vietnam Friendship Village, in the outskirts of Hanoi, look after a hundred of victims to whom they provide special education, health care and vocational training.
At the recently opened Moesgaard Museum, set in an idyllic Danish landscape outside Aarhus, Denmark, visitors are put face-to-face with the ancestors of the human race. The museum set out with some of the industry's most advanced technology to display artifacts and bones from archaeological digs around Denmark and around the world. The museum's directors hope to entertain their young and adult visitors by using narratives and settings with light, sound and animations.
“The ambition behind the new building and the new exhibitions is to tell stories for man about man, and to create culture-historical exhibitions which are experienced through the use of the senses rather than understood by the mind,” says curator and head of the new exhibitions at Moesgaard Museum, Pauline Asingh.
“Cultural history is often perceived as something for nerds or for people with a specific professional interest. We want to change that perception and give the audience an opportunity to encounter the people of the past as well as the present by telling stories in settings that speak to the senses and to the emotions.”
The museum's permanent collection includes objects and archeological remains from all over the world, and their public offering also features numerous objects on loan through UNESCO. Part of the current inaugural exhibition in the museum focuses on death and highlights contemporary and historical approaches to death in cultures around the world. A multi-sensory installation on Mexico's 'Santa Muerte,' and a video installation featuring people from different cultures speaking about death and the future are two prominent components of the current offering.
Run jointly by the faculties of Archeology and Anthropology at Aarhus University, the cutting-edge, 393 million Danish Kroner Moesgaard museum campus designed by the Danish firm Henning Larson Architects also features university facilities and houses Aarhus University's Visual Anthropology department.
Due to their severe illness and congenital defects, most of the victims cannot find a job which increase their social stigma. In 2008, only 200.000 victims of Agent Orange got the subsides and the medical assistance provided by Vietnam´s Government.
Three pivotal diplomats active during the period of the Cold War's end meet once again in Leipzig in honor of its 25th anniversary; left-right, former German Foreign Minister Hans Dieter Genscher with U.S. Secretaries James Baker and Henry Kissinger.
German President Joachim Gauck (right) demonstrates mimeograph machine used during 1989 Leipzig protests before anniversary ceremonies at Nikolai Church. The building served as the organizational nexus for massive protest movements that ultimately helped topple the communist era in late 1989 leading towards German reunification one year later on 3 October 1990.
Leipzig, Germany commemorates its 25th anniversary for the peaceful revolution of 1989 when initial mass protests catapulted towards opening of the Berlin Wall one month later.
Historic photograph of Eastern Orthodox monks in a monastery at Mount Athos, Chalkidiki, Greece. Dated 1920-1940
Symbols of current international hegemony represented by the flags of the European Union, USA and Germany seen during ceremonies of a symbolic signatory for the Berlin Wall opening.
Former US Secretary James Baker was the honored guest for a signature ceremony featuring a Berlin Wall section which included esteemed colleagues from this historic period.
Germany and particularly the city of Berlin celebrates the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall on 09 November next month, also marking the passage of the first generation which has experienced a post-Soviet world since the post-war years of the mid-twentieth century. An acute reminder of this situation occurred recently during earlier October celebrations in Leipzig, which is now a thriving city in former East Germany. It was here that initial protests in late 1989 helped accelerate the demise of the then totalitarian government and an ultimate opening of the Berlin Wall just weeks later.
Now it is often possible to meet "Wende Kinder," or children-currently young adults- from the turning point or changing times; those born from 1989 and immediately afterwards with no personal memory of the Berlin Wall or Soviet-directed period before that. It is a cultural phenomenon that arises as history becomes respective to its living members who can reflect on collective circumstance. It also becomes an indicator as to how the passage of time can and will affect all of us, now living through the early 21st century together, towards the future's future. Paralleling this historic period compels the comparison towards current events and Russian resurgence onto the global stage of attempted hegemony 25 years later, and urges the premise to question if history repeats through adjusted phases.
As a result of German reunification over two decades later, initial promises have predominantly not been met for a thriving eastern Germany due to disparity in employment opportunities which led to large population migrations to the more prosperous West. Additionally, contrasts in national character between both East and West have contributed to each region retaining their unique identities. Essentially, due to the extended simultaneous reign of the two differing German cultures, fundamental differences still outweigh the similarities. Yet, according to an Interior Ministry Report on German Unity released in 2013, despite the national contrasts, eastern Germany is improving in several ways and remains attractive for its returning inhabitants, signaling an appeal towards their origins despite persistent yet slowly improving economic inequalities.
It remains questionable if the social experiment to reunify Germany has become a reasonable success as a consensus about political assurances made a quarter of a century earlier have so far not been able to be fully achieved. A nostalgic movement has also arisen in several locations, longing for the "Ostalgie" of former times while also enhancing a merchandising appeal for the German tourism industry. The prevailing mood within Berlin and beyond during November's historic occasion will underscore the actual and speculative factors driving the world's fourth largest economy, while reflecting on whether or not the bridge between the East and West might ever occur.
DanubeStory tells stories of people and their relationship to the second longest river in Europe, the Danube. Slovakian filmmakers Jana Cavojska and Vladimir Kampf traveled on and along the 3 000 kilometer-long river several times, upstream and downstream, in search of people and practices to tell the story of their country and region. A colorful mix of their lives and livelihoods is beautifully intertwined with the simple story of the river. Despite of the fact that the richest are close to the source of the Danube, and the standard of living goes down with the stream of the river, none of the stories lament a destiny, but rather celebrate this unique mix of lively cultures and practices.
In part 1 of the film viewers will flow downstream in the summer and meet a biofarmer and guardian of a river spring in Germany, a traditional wooden ship builder in Austria, a biologist and underwater photographer in Slovakia, a bridge maintainer in Hungary, an ornithologist in Croatia, a gallery owner in Serbia, a distiller in Bulgaria, a musician in Moldova, a photographer in Ukraine and a frog hunter in Romania.
In part 2 of the film viewers will head upstream in wintertime and meet a hotel manager in Ukraine, a speech pathologist in Moldova, a choir master in Bulgaria, a kayak trainer in Romania, a ferry operator in Serbia, a mercenary soldier in Croatia, a mask maker in Hungary, a shipman in Slovakia, a café owner in Austria and a hat maker in Germany.
This film may also be viewed as a series of 5 minute videos on each character.
September 19, 2014
al-Madares Street, Jobar, Damascus
Local citizens protect and maintain an ancient Jewish synagogue in the besieged Damascus suburb of Jobar, despite the heavy damage inflicted on it by heavy clashes between the FSA and Syrian Army. Located at the end of al-Madares street, the synagogue is believed to date from 720 BCE and was a temple for the prophet Khedr and prophet Elias.
The monument was largely neglected by the Syrian government before the war and has been damaged many times with mortars and bombs during the war. However, its local caretaker, and the inhabitants of the area continue to care for the building, as they have for decades.
Various shots show the location of the synagogue and the damage to the building.
Various shots show the remains of the synagogue, such as historical artifacts and some ancient writings
Various shots show an underground chamber that is said to have been used by prophet Khedr to pray
Various shots show the massive destruction that happened around the synagogue
Abu Loay, a member of the local committee of Jobar, interested in the issue of the synagogue, explains the story of the synagogue from its establishment to the present day.
Interviewer: How long have you had this job?
Abu Loay: We have been taking care of the synagogue for the past 2-3 years. There used to be a guard here, but he left after the problems started, and then the inhabitants of the area left, so we came here, the men and myself. We are taking care of it. The citizens and the elderly of this town asked us to stay here and guard the synagogue and until now, it has not been attacked.
Interviewer: How was the synagogue looking when you started working here?
Abu Loay: It was amazing, it had fence and it was an ancient historical monument, it goes back thousands of years.
Interviewer: Were there any Jews living in the area?
Abu Loay: Here in Jobar we did not have any Jews, but back in the days of our grandparents, we used to have Jews. When I was a child, I remember there was a big percentage of Jews in the Jewish street. They used to come every Saturday from the Jewish street to visit the synagogue here. When Israel was established, many of the Jews left, that was along time ago.
Interviewer: Were there huge numbers of Jews in Damascus?
Abu Loay: Yes of course, they all used to live in the Jewish street, an area named the Jewish street, in the old city of Damascus.
Interviewer: When did they leave and where did they go?
Abu Loay: Most of them went to Israel, the government back then gave them a choice, to either stay here or leave, and a lot of them chose to leave.
Interviewer: How was the synagogue destroyed?
Abu Loay: About two years ago, from the side of Harasta, they [Syrian Army] attacked us with the multiple rocket launcher. Over 15 shells were dropped at the same time. I took footage of the incident and then I tried [to expose the attack], I went to many media outlets, trying to call the Jews to come and protect the synagogue, but nobody responded. They [Syrian Army] hit the ceiling in two spots and the kitchen burnt down.
Interviewer: Why did you keep protecting the synagogue if the Jews themselves did not respond and did not come to protect it?
Abu Loay: First of all, the synagogue is located in my town, I am from Jobar. Secondly, it is a legacy, not only for the Jews, but also for us. It is a legacy for the citizens of Jobar. It is thousands of years old and it is as valuable as any church or mosque.
Interviewer: Being here in the synagogue, do you feel any attachment to this place?
Abu Loay: I swear I feel like it is my own home. I was sleeping right here, with my wife and children, and if I have to go somewhere I lock the place up. I was residing here for about six months.
Interviewer: How did you feel when the synagogue was attacked and destroyed?
Abu Loay: I felt like I lost a piece of my heart. Only someone who lives here will understand the true value of this synagogue.
Interviewer: Do you think there is a way to repair the synagogue?
Abu Loay: In this condition, all of this wreckage must be removed, they destroyed it. Go back to the old pictures of the synagogue and compare, it used to be heaven.
Interviewer: Do you speak Hebrew?
Abu Loay: No I only speak the language of Jobar.
Interviewer: Do you mind escorting us on a tour around the synagogue?
Abu Loay: Of course, I do not mind, let’s take the tour.
Here there used to be the main door, and there, it used to be a kitchen. There is the room I used to sleep in.
This room was an office and I used to sleep in it. The women used to sleep upstairs, and this was a storage room. The main temple is in the back. This is the only tree that is still living.
This is a new building, and there were rooms and the rooftop.
That used to be the entrance of the synagogue, and there use to be two rooms up there. And there was a water well.
Can you see this slot in the wall, they used to store the oil cans in their. Near the pile of rocks there used to be the alter. Those two chambers are completely destroyed.
Look at the pigeon nest in the gap in the wall. That was here before the shelling.
This is an old school, and there used to be a wall here, the old school is for UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency].
There used to be a room, then a small hall and then another room, all ancient.
This carpet is from the remains of the temple, they used to love those colors, our brothers the Jews. This is another one, everything valuable we were able to find after the destruction, we removed it.
(08:39) Here used to be a huge bronze round plate, and here is the step of the prophet. Here they used to keep the oil, here they used to have books, and there was the seating area. The building was ancient and the temple had a very high ceiling.
(09:30) Here, where I am walking, used to be the few steps leading to the alter. Where I am standing now is the location of the alter. It was about half a circle and made out of wood and the chandeliers above it, it used to be amazing.
Those gaps in the walls used to have frames, and here used to be a painting, and next to it a bronze box labeled "Charity".
And here, as we said before, they used to keep the oil.
(11:28) Here is the prayer chamber, our grandfathers used to say that the prophet Khedr used to come to pray here. This hole in the ceiling was an air vent for this chamber, but the shelling has destroyed most of the room.
(12:21) Look what the destruction did to it. The last time they dropped vacuum bombs on this area, the buildings around the synagogue were also destroyed.
(12:41) There used to be four candlesticks and a chair, an antique chair, they are not destroyed, we preserved them.
(13:05) This is the wreckage of the synagogue. They [Syrian Military] attacked us with many types of weapons, including jets. The last airstrike, they dropped vacuum bombs on us and destroyed all of the buildings.
September 9, 2014
Buried deep the historic al-Hamidiya Market in Damascus, one of the oldest traditional bathhouses in the city continues its business as usual, despite the ongoing war in Syria. Established in 1169, the Nour al-Din al-Shaheed bathhouse is one of the best examples of unadulterated Damascene history. It's cavernous bathing rooms and reception area have changed little over the years and guests can still enjoy an opportunity to experience a custom that has endured centuries of siege, occupation, and war.
(04:51) "I am Majed Abdul Rahman, I work in Nour al-Din al-Shahid public bath. This bath consists of 4 sections: the outside, inside, steam room and the massage and exfoliating room. We have grooms [men about to get married] coming here almost daily. When they come here they use the exfoliating and the massage room, then they shower and after that, they go to the outside section and change the towels, drink some tea and [smoke] nargileh [water pipe], rest, get dressed, pay, then leave. There are lots of public baths, but this bath is special as it is old and cultural, provides a nice experience, and is very communal, they [guests] are allowed to bring food with them." (05:53)
(05:54) "First of all, my work is between Lebanon and Syria, I come to Syria every week, and I cannot come here without passing by the bathroom and bathing here in Souk al-Hamidiya. Every time I come here I have to roam around Damascus, and I cross all this distance from Lebanon to Syria so I can enjoy this bath. Honestly, we do not have baths like that in Lebanon, you can only find it here in Souk al-Hamidiya. The visit to the bathroom is very comforting and relaxing, you forget bout all your troubles at work in Lebanon and you forget about it here in Souk al-Hamidiya. You feel like you went back in time, to the era of your ancestors, and this is something we lack in Lebanon." (06:38)
(06:39) "I come to this public bath with my friends regularly, we are a group of students, we come here to see each other, enjoy our time, the atmosphere here is nice, and it is very relaxing." (06:55)
(06:56) "We are a group of friends, we come here every once and a while, we really like it here and we enjoy our time. I advise every man to come here so he can experience the old culture through this public bath that has been around for over 1,000 years." (07:10)
Various shots of Souk al-Hamidiya
Various shots of the entrance of the bathhouse
Various shots of the bathhouse (exterior section)
Various shots of the bathhouse (interior section)
various shots of the steam room while its empty
Various shots of the steam room
Various shots of the exfoliating room
Various shots of people inside the exfoliating room
Various shots of the massage room
A shot of a person leaving the interior section
Various shots show the services provided in the bathhouse, such as tea and shisha
September, 7, 2014
On a sign giving directions to the village, the Arabic writing of "Lifta" has scratched out of the sign.
September 7, 2014
In one of the remaining houses of Lifta, a young Israeli woman comes to have a picnic. She knows nothing about the village's story. On the wall, written in Arabic is the slogan, "Lifta is ours, we will come back".
September 7, 2014
In the village, "Palestine" written in Arabic on the leaf of a prickly pear tree.
A look at some of Israel's last family businesses, which are being crushed by changing times. For some of the most traditional Jewish and Arab businesses, it won't be long before their doors close for the last time. New technologies, large corporations, and the draw of the modern world mean that the next generation of consumers and the heirs to the businesses no longer have an interest in the businesses' futures.