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The Peaceful Revolution, Bulgaria
Sofia, Bulgaria
By Mais Istanbuli
28 Jun 2013

Thousands of mainly younger, well-educated Bulgarians have been rallying in Sofia and other cities since June 14 to demand the resignation of the Socialist-led cabinet, shouting “Resignation” (‘Ostavka’) and “Mafia" in the streets. There have been up to 30,000 daily in Sofia alone.

The demonstrations have been primarily organized through Facebook. What prompted these protests was the election of Delyan Peevski as the head of the State Agency of National Security. Participants in the rally against Plamen Oresharski’s cabinet protest openly against his media, which have been accused by the majority of the public of presenting the procession in his benefit. Peevski is also allegedly connected with bank circles that influence the making of political decisions.

Because of the scandal involving the appointment of Peevski as the head of the State Agency of National Security, the president Rosen Plevneliev announced that he no longer trusts the “Oresharski” cabinet. Even after the removal of Delyan Peevski, the protests have continued, demanding the government’s resignation.

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Morrocco on two wheels (23 of 25)
Essaouira, Morocco
By Martushka Fromeast
02 Mar 2013

A car, a motorbike, a bicycle? Bikes are increasingly popular amongst young Moroccans.

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Morrocco on two wheels (19 of 25)
Essaouira, Morocco
By Martushka Fromeast
02 Mar 2013

It used to be donkeys laden with boxes and baskets of merchandise.

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Morocco on two wheels
Morocco
By Mais Istanbuli
28 Feb 2013

What places, what parts of the world come straight to mind when you think of bicycles and cycling? Our minds drift almost automatically towards the Netherlands, especially Amsterdam, and maybe alsoDenmark. Well, certainly not towards the Arabic world. Traditionally there is no “cycling culture” there, bikes have a rather negative image and are not socially accepted, especially amongst women. But then there is Morocco. Morocco is teeming with bicycles. Older and poorer Moroccans cycle because it is a cheap means of transport. Young people cycle because it is cool. Women cycle because it is practical. Quite rapidly cycling is becoming an inherent part of the local culture. People cycle to work, to school, to run errands, for pleasure. Somehow even cycling in long traditional djellabas is not an issue, even though at first it seems to be verging on impossible. Bikes are everywhere. Everybody uses them. Bike workshops pop up on every corner. Morocco is on two wheels.
Text written by: Anna Blasiak

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Morrocco on two wheels (9 of 25)
Taroudant, Morocco
By Martushka Fromeast
28 Feb 2013

Markets are filled with smells of steaming mint tea, the spices, freshly baked pastries, meat from butcher shops, rotting vegetables.

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Morrocco on two wheels (21 of 25)
Igli Sidi Hamed, Morrocco
By Martushka Fromeast
27 Feb 2013

Two frail Davids versus a huge Goliath. You can cram a lot on a bike too.

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Morrocco on two wheels (22 of 25)
Taroudant, Morrocco
By Martushka Fromeast
27 Feb 2013

What do you do when you run out of eggs while cooking a traditional Kefta Mkaouara? Well, you grab your own egg carton, hop on a faithful bike and go stock up, of course.

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Morrocco on two wheels (16 of 25)
Taroudant, Morrocco
By Martushka Fromeast
27 Feb 2013

Bikes (and people) have a meeting place in a city square. What are they waiting for?

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Morrocco on two wheels (15 of 25)
Taroudant, Morocco
By Martushka Fromeast
27 Feb 2013

Will they carry shopping home in the qobs of their djellabas or will they use the back rack of the bike?

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Morrocco on two wheels (14 of 25)
Taroudant, Morocco
By Martushka Fromeast
27 Feb 2013

Cycling bridges generations of women. How do you bicycle in a long djellaba?

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Morrocco on two wheels (8 of 25)
Taroudant, Morocco
By Martushka Fromeast
27 Feb 2013

Red fezzes, scarves, veils and bare heads, long djellabas and jeans, hoodies and tailored shirts, leather slippers and trainers, donkeys and bikes – they all meet at the market.

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Morrocco on two wheels (6 of 25)
Taroudant, Morocco
By Martushka Fromeast
27 Feb 2013

In Morocco everybody cycles: men and women, young and old.

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Morrocco on two wheels (2 of 25)
Taroudant, Morocco
By Martushka Fromeast
23 Feb 2013

A quick break for a keesan of tea. Bikes lined along the kerb.

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Ethiopian Women Living With Leprosy
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
By U.S. Editor
29 Jan 2013

Leprosy has been for many centuries, in Ethiopia, a sickness with enormous social implications. The physical consequences of catching such an illness has forced many infected by the disease into a solitary life or, at best, into leper’s colonies through out the country. With medicinal progress and campaigns to explain to locals that leprosy is not contagious amongst humans, some understanding of the illness has made headway in the country.
Such a change can be seen in the capital where an entire hospital was built, mostly with European money, to deal with this lingering sickness. The Alert hospital, as locals commonly name it, specializes in skin illnesses, and mostly with leprosy. Situated in the heart of a leper colony in Southern Addis Ababa where thousands of lepers live and raise their families. It treats thousands of people each year, locals often coming from far away in remote areas to get treatment. The hallways are usually loaded with dozens of families from the countryside, bringing sick family members, often after a long and tenuous travel. They wait for a day or two sometimes to see a specialized doctor. For the really ones, rooms are available almost free of cost, as foreign money keeps the institution afloat. The doctors, cladded in white are always available separating lepers from infectious diseases, putting the most sick in specially equipped rooms, which usually contains 6 to 8 beds. Operations, like amputation, a rather common affair, in the world of leprosy are always done inside the hospital by specially trained surgeon. The presence of the Alert hospital in the slum has changed the life of many lepers in Ethiopia, but foremost has saved thousands of lives living inside this ghetto where local official rarely venture. Constant danger, rampant poverty, and no sanitation has left thousands living inside this slum stranded outside Ethiopian society with no hope to climb the social ladder. The slum was created, like so many before it, to forget the leprosy problem, seen as an evil due to its quite graphic nature, scaring for life the unfortunates who contract the sickness. Inside the slum, women with leprosy cover themselves with a white sheet as to be recognized, covering their faces to stop starring or fear from healthy Ethiopians. But not all is bleak. A group of women with leprosy have gotten together to fight their condition. They created a small business where a dozen or so of these women knit and put together traditional garments and bed sheets. Using their bare hands and ancients machinery, these women have managed to organize a small business where they can earn a small salary from their sales. Kelebe, 60 years old, is one of these women. She arrived in the slum from the Northern part of the country to start over and perhaps find a better life after her husband died. She brought with her, her children, cousins, and other relatives, to increase their chances of survival. Once there, she was quickly reminded that her condition would not make things life easy for her and her family. She managed to find a shack made out of mud with metal roofing, and dirt floors. She, however did not give up, and joined these businesswomen. The fruit of her work has helped her to feed herself as well as her family members. In fact it has allowed her to prosper, buy new clothes and give some schooling to the youngest in her family. With an ongoing fix price of 50$ for the most expensive bedding, the little company has been able to sustain itself for a few years now, feeding a dozen family. However, this small grouping seem to be the exception to the rule. Most lepers in the slum keep starving; their offspring have no more future than their parents did before them, and the government seems uninterested in helping this portion of the population.