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Ukraine: The Wait
Kiev, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
06 Dec 2015

Completed over the course of three trips to Ukraine in 2014/15, this multimedia piece explores the heavy silence of war - away from the war porn of frontline fighting and Western-Russain power plays. With Ukraine slipping back into the corrupt era of Yanukovich, the anxious wait for reforms, true independence and peace continues.

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Ukraine: The Wait 19
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
17 Oct 2015

Shells land 20 kilometers away. Four months later, in January 2016, a separatist rocket attack a few blocks away kills 30 civilians.

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Ukraine: The Wait 01
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
17 Oct 2015

Separatists’ diversionary raid on a railway bridge leaves passenger trains stranded in Mariupol, Donetsk region. After many months of idleness, the bridge was finally repaired.

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Ukraine: The Wait 07
Popasne, Luhansk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
14 Oct 2015

[Radio chatter] Separatist positions report ‘111’ – ‘All clear’. Other call signs are ‘110’ – we’re being attacked; and ‘112’ – We’re attacking. It is believed, that the previously stationed Chechens and Don Cossacks have been replaced with regular Russian military combatants.

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Ukraine: The Wait 12
Kiev, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
14 Oct 2015

Ukrainian street musicians perform a song by a
Russian rock band, ‘Splin’

I want to fall asleep and never wake up
go away into the sea and not come back
or come back, but together

With you so much more interesting
with you so many interesting things around
and not even tight (suffocating)

Without the squares, railway stations, stops
without all these civilisations

One more sip - and we’re on fire
on one, two, three

Burn with fire, your third Rome
catch my rhythm
and dance, dance, dance, dance

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Ukraine: The Wait 15
Mayorsk, Donetsk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
14 Oct 2015

The patrol passes along the village streets, dotted by drunk civilians and military personnel – a sign not so uncommon even before the war. Somewhere in the vicinity, a high ranking Ukrainian officer was assaulted and kidnapped with his armed escort a week before.

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Ukraine: The Wait 13
Zolote, Luhansk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
30 Aug 2015

Sergei sits during night watch on the Permovaisk frontline, prepping his gun at the slightest noise in the distance; remains of an exploded 80mm mortar shell is a few meters away. In the morning, his face bathes in the warmth of a late summer’s sunrise.

“What a beautiful day, we all woke up alive.”

Sergei died on September 23rd during a skirmish, one day before he was due to return home.

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Ukraine: The Wait 09
Zolote, Luhansk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
29 Aug 2015

“I came here to replace the guys who have been here for months without rotation, so someone can go home - not because I’m some big Ukrainian patriot,” says Vladislav, stationed in Zolote.

Even before the war, the old mining village was poor, with crumbling buildings dotting the streets. Now, with even less people remaining, pensioners gather for a daily market - made up of 5 stalls, overshadowed by a modest Lenin statue. Three blocks away, Ukrainian soldiers occupy the vacant houses, which are shelled on a nightly basis.

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Ukraine: The Wait 14
Popasne, Luhansk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
29 Aug 2015

“One year ago, the commander put tanks in the first line, as if it was the Second World War; now you have accurate weapons – the whole crew died,” says one of the commanders.

The decrepit reminder of the war ruins the beautiful vista over the steppes of Donbas. Yet, the war is still on going, the steppes are the buffer zone, and the current trenches still scar the landscape, two meters behind the tank.

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Ukraine: The Wait 02
Kyiv
By Benas Gerdziunas
27 Aug 2015

Away from the headlines of Western-Russian power plays and war porn of frontline fighting; away from boys with a cause, imperial ambitions and the spectacle of war. What’s left is the chilling wait and anxiety. The sluggish nightmare immerses anyone unlucky enough to be caught up close – families stuck in the buffer zones, blaming elusive fascists,
as their men fight for the elusive Russians. The nightly grind of staring into the darkness of a frozen conflict, confined to the trench and radio transmitting enemy reports of your own movements; the sweeping apathy back home.

While Ukraine is slipping back into the corrupt era of Yanukovich, Eastern Ukraine is trapped in a disaster, which shows no signs of letting go. The anxious wait for reforms, true independence and peace continues.

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Ukraine: The Wait 08
Popasne, Luhansk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
27 Aug 2015

The night passes peacefully, with sporadic pot-shots fired from the opposing lines; the Ukrainians do not respond. Without appropriate night-vision gear, the watch is spent chewing through bags of seeds – siemki, and a constant flow of tea and, if available, coffee.

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Ukraine: The Wait 11
Popasne, Luhansk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
27 Aug 2015

Weapons sit idly, as the soldiers rest before the nightly grind.

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Ukraine: The Wait 06
Popasne, Luhansk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
26 Aug 2015

After months without rotation, the prospects of an entrenched warfare remain bleak. Stationary frontline attritions grind is more reminiscent of World War One, than a 21st century battlefield. Faced with increasing apathy from their own society in Ukraine, many soldiers turn to bottle, or worst - chair and a rope – even if the problem has not yet reached epidemic proportions.

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Ukraine: The Wait 03
Paviopil, Donetsk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
19 Mar 2015

Pavlopil and its 200 remaining inhabitants are stuck between Ukrainian and separatists frontlines. Devoid of jobs, schools or local amenities, the villagers attempt to co-exist. Days are spent farming and sitting in the front yards; it takes too long, and costs too much to get into neighbouring city of Mariupol.

“We share what we have – yes, you could say it’s real communism,” says one of those remaining.

Some families, however, did not have even the smallest luxury of a roof over their heads – their homes were destroyed in subsequent artillery duels.

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Ukraine: The Wait 18
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
17 Mar 2015

The separatists’ diversionary raid on a railway bridge leaves passenger trains stranded in Mariupol. After many months of idleness, the bridge was finally repaired.

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Ukraine: The Wait 05
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
16 Mar 2015

The strategic southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol continues to rely on its heavy-industries, even as shells randomly hit its eastern outskirts, or the near-constant fighting in Shyrokino - a village 30 kilometers east of Mariupol. Even as analysts and military intelligence predict a weekly separatist assault, it hasn’t happened in a year; the steel mills roll on.

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Ukraine: The Wait 10
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Benas Gerdziunas
14 Mar 2015

‘Psych’, a young volunteer fighter with one of Ukraine’s makeshift battalions ‘St. Mary’. After being reformed from the Shakhtorsk Battalion, the newly established battalion’s leaders are adopting a Christian Crusader façade.

“I’m an atheist,” he says, trying to conceal a pre-adolescent face under khaki balaclava.

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Ukraine: The Wait 20
Slovyansk, Donetsk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
10 Mar 2015

The psychiatric hospital in Semyonovka, Donetsk Region, saw heavy fighting at the start of the War in Donbass. Both sides accuse the other for its destruction and using civilians trapped in the crossfire as cover. According to Human Rights Watch, patients and staff were evacuated on May 26, 2014 “to other facilities in Zhdanovka, Gorlovka, and Donetsk.”

All of these territories are now under control of the Pro-Russian separatists. A man from Semyonovka- who preferred to remain anonymous, said as he scourged through the remains of his home: “Last time I heard, they were taken to Russia after the evacuation.”

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Ukraine: The Wait 04
Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast
By Benas Gerdziunas
09 Mar 2015

Two of Tanya’s seven children huddle by a television in Kramatorsk refugee centre. Having escaped war in the neighbouring city of Gorlovka - currently under separatist control, the family breathes easily. Boredom prevails, as the children – along with the teenagers, move from one screen to another, trying to entertain themselves.

“My husband will join us here soon,” says the mother Tanya, “everything is perfect.” Meanwhile, her eldest daughter stares at the flickering screen in front.

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Snorkeling
Siquijor Island
By Ralf Falbe
30 Jan 2015

Girl snorkeling at Siquijor Island in the Philippines.

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From Maidan to Donbass: '10 Days in F...
Sumy, Ukraine
By lordcob
26 Jan 2015

Text by : Johannes Sporrer

Italian photographer Jacob Balzani Lööv followed a self-defense unit in Kiev's Maidan for ten days up to the bloody events of 20 February 2014. He recently visited one of the protagonist of the revolutionary current that swept Ukraine at that time.

"I was in Kiev to meet some friends," says Balzani Lööv, who at the end of November 2013, found himself suddenly in the middle of Independence Square in Kiev. "I was surprised by how peaceful, determined and full of hope the protest was throughout the month of December, but that changed with time. People started to wear masks and to protect Maidan with clubs and shields, upgrading their defense to the violence of the police."

On the 10th of February 2014 during a protest to demand the release of some arrested activists, Balzani Lööv saw a masked, red-haired young woman and organized to meet her. Olesja Goriaynova, a then 19-years-old, was a journalism student from Sumy.

"I wanted to know if the attitude I loved in December in Maidan was still there," he recalls, "and Olesja told me that it was still there, but under wraps in the compounds where the defense units were living." After few days the photographer was granted access to the group, the 14 Sotnia.

These so-called self-defense units of the Maidan were founded to protect unarmed protesters from the increasing violence of the police.

"The central demand of the group was an independent Ukraine, without Yanukovych," says Balzani Lööv, "and a Ukraine without corruption, leaning towards Europe. Often its members were upset by the fact that newspapers were discussing only the geopolitical interests of the US and Russia, as if the Ukrainians had no say." He felt that the atmosphere in these days was tense. "It seemed quite possible that the police could have broke into the headquarters of the 14th Sotnias anytime and commit a massacre," he said.

To protect the group, Balzani Lööv promised that he would publish pictures showing unmasked members of the defense units only if the revolution would succeed or if there were to no longer be any threat.

Now, a year later, the immediate threat is over for the activists, but whether or not their revolution was actually successful, however, is far less clear. Balzani Lööv has met again with the activist Olesja Goryainova to ask her about the consequences of the protests. Olesja has moved back to her hometown, Sumy, some 300 kilometers east of Kiev. She is studying again, but she cannot fully return to her old life.

"Olesja now collects money and materials for the fighters in the anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine," says Balzani Lööv. She is also a member of the Young Nationalist Congress, an organization that aims to strengthen the "patriotic spirit" of the youth. Olesja doesn't regret the Maidan.

"We just couldn't go on living that way," she says, though with a hint of disappointment in her voice.

Yanukovych is gone, but the reforms desired by the Maidan protestors did not materialize. As before, there is a lot of corruption in the country, and the war in the East has overshadowed the original goals of the young revolutionaries. The profound changes they sought for, postponed.

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Diving Apo Island
Apo Island
By Ralf Falbe
23 Jan 2015

Diving the famous reef of Apo Island, Philippines.

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Crossroads - The Documentary
Cairo
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
17 Dec 2014

A 30-minute multimedia documentary film produced for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) that presents the stories of six migrants moving in mixed and complex flows to, from and through Egypt, displaying the broad spectrum of diverse migration realities. Migrants moving in North Africa are often vulnerable and experience considerable abuse and exploitation including increasing numbers of migrants being trafficked.
Filmed, edited and photographs by Albert González Farran, IOM.
Music by Chris Zabriskie, Kevin MacLeod and Jason Shaw (Creative Commons license).

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Multimedia: Editor's Picks
World Wide
By Transterra Editor
21 Nov 2013

Multimedia work from our contributors that focus on extraordinary subjects from around the world.

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Music Therapy for Autistic Children i...
kathmandu, Nepal
By Rajneesh Bhandari
01 Apr 2013

There is still no official data regarding the numbers of autistic people in Nepal. Unfortunately, it is estimated that the number of autistic children is increasing daily.

Of Nepal’s population of 30 million, a rough estimate shows that 300 thousand people are living with autism, and around 60 to 90 thousand of them are within the spectrum of severe autism.

Autistic children need therapy to improve their understanding and responses. Various treatments such as art therapy, music therapy and occupational therapy have been shown to improve the lives of autistic children.

In this video, Kedar Ghandari, a music therapist, discusses his use of music therapy to help autistic children in Nepal.

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Women Who Have Lost in Armenia
Tavush, Armenia
By Nazik Armenakyan
08 Mar 2013

Although the ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan was signed in 1994, peace didn't come with it. Ceasefire violations along the border are nearly an everyday reality in Armenia.

Unemployment and poverty, which affects more than one third of Armenia's male population in border cities and villages, has forced them to still risk their lives serving in the military as contractors after they fulfilled their mandatory service.

This multimedia piece features women who have lost their husbands and sons during ceasefire violations. These widows are now forced continue living their daily lives andtake care of their families alone.

On June 18, 2008, two residents of the Armenian village of Chinari (Tavoush) were killed by an Azerbaijani sniper. Twenty year-old Levon Petrosyan died from his wounds. When fifty year-old Rafik Saghoyan went to help Levon, he too was struck down.

On April 27, 2012 three Armenian soldiers were killed during clashes with an Azerbaijani military unit that had infiltrated the border of Tavoush Province. The soldiers who died defending the border were Arshak Nersisyan, Davit Abgaryan and Aram Yesayan.

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Stateless (Part 2)
Geneva, Chicago, Kampala, New York
By DocuProf
01 Sep 2012

Refugees from Rwanda have been waiting for a change in their country since the Genocide of 1994.
Many more have arrived over the intervening years fleeing persecution and a progressively falling standard of living in the countryside.
The Rwandan government and the UNHCR have been pressuring governments in 12 countries to push the refugees back home.
In many instances, the Rwandan government uses spies and bribes are paid to disrupt and confuse the refugees, making it hard for them to organize.

Stateless gives the overview of the failure of the UNHCR and Rwanda to give a lasting and safe home for the refugees. It also points out failures of the UNHCR in the institution of it's own mandates regarding article 51 on refugees and the "Cessation Clause".
Because of a small group of refugees and dedicated Human Rights defenders, Rwanda and the UNHCR were thwarted in instituting the forced return of refugees in all but 3 of the 12 countries that have been pressured to accept the terms of the UN clause on refugees.
Featuring Paul Rusesabagina of Hotel Rwanda fame, Theogene Rudesingwa, former Rwandan Ambassador to the US (now in exile)
Much of the film was shot by the refugees themselves.

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Stateless (Part 1)
Chicago, Kampala, New York, Brussels, Lusaka
By DocuProf
01 Aug 2012

Refugees from Rwanda have been waiting for a change in their country since the Genocide of 1994.
Many more have arrived over the intervening years fleeing persecution and a progressively falling standard of living in the countryside.
The Rwandan government and the UNHCR have been pressuring governments in 12 countries to push the refugees back home.
In many instances, the Rwandan government uses spies and bribes are paid to disrupt and confuse the refugees, making it hard for them to organize.

Stateless gives the overview of the failure of the UNHCR and Rwanda to give a lasting and safe home for the refugees. It also points out failures of the UNHCR in the institution of it's own mandates regarding article 51 on refugees and the "Cessation Clause".
Because of a small group of refugees and dedicated Human Rights defenders, Rwanda and the UNHCR were thwarted in instituting the forced return of refugees in all but 3 of the 12 countries that have been pressured to accept the terms of the UN clause on refugees.
Featuring Paul Rusesabagina (of Hotel Rwanda fame) and Theogene Rudesingwa, former Rwandan Ambassador to the United States (now in exile).
Much of the film was shot by the refugees themselves.

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Esplin120711_2385.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
11 Jul 2012

The rate of ocean acidification is expected to accelerate in the near future. Since the industrial revolution, ocean acidification has increased by 30%. Scientists believe that this rate is faster than anything previously experienced over the last 55 million years.

The problem is that even a mild change in PH levels has significant impact on animals with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons. They literally dissolve. Affected animals include krill and plankton as well as coral. This means that the bottom of the food web could potentially become extinct, and in turn so could fish, according to Zoologist Kent Carpenter: "If corals themselves are at risk of extinction and do in fact go extinct, that will most probably lead to a cascade effect where we will lose thousands and thousands of other species that depend on coral reefs.”

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By Mark_Esplin
10 Jul 2012

A fisherman wades through the shallows carrying a handful of possessions after a mornings fishing trip.

Attempts to educate fishermen have been made by the environmental community, and attitudes are slowly changing. The Coral Triangle Initiative announced that it saw a decrease in the use of destructive fishing methods in 2012. Although, they stated that other threats such as Population increase, pollution and sedimentation have increased considerably.

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By Mark_Esplin
10 Jul 2012

A fisherman on Palawan Island in the Philippines prepares for a fishing voyage out to sea.

Scientists have predicted that by 2100, global temperature rise could result in the extinction of coral in the Coral Triangle. This would lead to an 80% reduction in regional food production.

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By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

Fishers tend to target bigger fish, which act as predators in the food web. Biologists have observed a change in the Philippines' species composition, and an increase of fishing for small oceanic fish – anchovies, etc. This is a good indication of overfishing, and of gradual stock collapse, as fishers can no longer catch larger fish to support themselves.

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By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

The Philippines Government admits that all targeted species in the Philippines are showing signs of overfishing. Officials also recognise that the current approach to fishing is unsustainable. “Overall, the harvest rate of Philippine fisheries is approximately 30 percent higher than the maximum sustainable yield, which will likely trigger stock collapses in the absence of increased management.” (Department of Environment and Natural Resources)

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By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

The majority of people within the Coral Triangle are living in poverty. This increases the social and economic importance of reefs, and reduces their ability to adapt to depleting fish supplies.

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By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

The threats to the Coral Triangle are numerous, and often vary from site to site. As such there is not a single answer to the problems faced by these ecosystems. Nevertheless, wide ranges of solutions are being adopted in an attempt to curb this degradation. These include: Marine Protected areas (MPA), gear restrictions, and catch regulations.

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By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

A decline in reef biodiversity does not only affect local communities and subsistence fishermen’s food security, though they are likely the hardest hit. According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), natural capital contributes significantly to manufacturing and service economies, that in-turn helps stabilise a nations food security. In their report ‘TEEB – The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for National and International Policy Makers’ the UNEP suggest one systemic cause for a lack of local will power to preserve natural resources. “Benefits depend on local stewardship, local knowledge and, in some cases, foregoing opportunities for economic development – yet people on the ground often receive little or no payment for the services they help to generate. This can make it more economically attractive to exploit the resource rather than preserve assets of global worth.”

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Esplin120709_2386.jpg
By Mark_Esplin
09 Jul 2012

Government figures state that 67% of animal protein in the Philippines is comprised of fish and fish products. This makes fish the nations most important food source, next to rice.