Tags / 2014
June 20 is World Refugee Day.
In 2014, global refugee numbers were higher than they have ever been since World War II. In 2015, the problem has only gotten worse.
There are currently over 50 million refugees in the world and more than %50 of them are children. Approximately half of the world's refugees are from just three countries: Afghanistan, Syria, and Somalia.
The response to this massive international crisis has been limited, with most refugee aid programs desperately underfunded. Amnesty International has called the lack of robust international response "A Conspiracy of Neglect." With little help on the way, the future of the world's displaced remains uncertain.
December 24, 2014
Yazidis from the area of Sounoun return to their homes after being trapped on Mount Sinjar since the beginning of August 2014. The Peshmerga has liberated much of the area, home to around 140,000 Yazidis, and are patrolling the area to protect the civilians.
Khodida Elias - Yazidi man
A Peshmerga fighter
Ahmad Fares - Yazidi man
Salem Kheder - Yazidi man
December 22, 2014
“The Oil Installations Guards” in the Libyan Army have deployed artillery and military vehicles in the port of Sidra, east of Tripoli, to defend Libya's largest oil depot. Libyan Army soldiers and fighters loyal to former general Khalifa Haftar have been engaged in heavy clashes with the “Dawn of Libya” militia which launched a military offensive at the beginning of last week, to control the oil rich area which includes Sidra, Ras Lanuf and Briqa in the north of the country.
(00:58) Waniss Bukhmada, The Commander of the Saiiqa Special Forces, (man, Arabic):
"The World should take a strong position regarding what is happening now in Libya.. The World should be clear and explicit with the Libyan people that is asking for freedom, security and stability. The Libyan people is not satisfied with what is happening.
FSA fighter Reciting anti Bashar Asad poem before battle against ISIS
Market place in Der Ez Zur shot by a cellphone on a bike .
November 8, 2014
EU Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini visits the Gaza Strip after recently being appointed to her post. She arrived in Gaza from the Israeli-Palestinian border crossing of Erez. She passed through Al Shejayya, one of the most affected areas by the 2014 war, on her way to the Al Bahrain UN school. In the school she delivered a speech addressing the Gazans and supporting them in the name of the European countries. “All Europe is in your side” she told the Gazan journalists. She then left the school and continued to the Palestinian council of Ministers and to meet with local government officials. She then departed Gaza via the Erez crossing.
A variety of shots about Federica Mogherini in the school
A variety of shots about Federica Moghrenini with Palestinian ministers in the Ministers council.
October 22, 2014
Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip
21-year-old Jamil Attia Za’anin is one of thousands of Gazans who’s home was destroyed in the 2014 summer war with Israel. However, Jamil’s case is particularly bad as he suffers from a neurological disorder that has left him severely mentally disabled. Jamil now lives in a shack with his family with no access to proper healthcare. In fact, his disability itself is symptomatic of the living conditions in Gaza, as it is a result of substandard healthcare in the coastal enclave.
Jamil now spends his days chained in front of his temporary home because there is nowhere for him to go and his family fears he may run away. His younger brother Mohammad is also mentally disabled, albeit to less severe degree. The family’s situation is particularly desperate as their father Attaya is too old to work. Left with no working age males in the family, they are forced to rely on food handouts from the United Nations. The family now spends their days salvaging the rubble from their destroyed home, struggling to find enough money to eat, and trying to keep their two disabled boys safe and healthy.
October 22, 2014
Jamil Attia Za'anin with his mother Donia Za'anin. Jamil, 21, developed a spinal condition 16 years ago when he was just a child. Poor healthcare infrastructure in Gaza meant that doctors could not properly treat Jamil, so the disease spread to his brain, leaving him handicapped. Jamil lives with his ten family members in a shack in the town of Beit Hanoun in the north of the Gaza Strip. He has a younger brother Mohammed, 19, who is also handicapped and the family's situation was made even worse after their house was destroyed in the recent war with Israel.
October 16, 2014
Gazans are salvaging construction materials from the rubble of buildings that were destroyed by Israeli military action in the 2014 summer war. Over 45,000 houses were destroyed in the war and the ongoing Israeli blockade is preventing Gazans from importing cement for rebuilding purposes. Instead, Gazans are left to find creative ways to rebuild their communities, including recycling rubble.
Burj Al Basha, in the heart of Gaza city, was completely demolished during the last Israeli war against Gaza. The building was one of the main landmarks in Gaza city. Its bombardment left huge amounts of rubble to the extent that it closed off two of the main streets in the city. Tens of workers using heavy equipment are trying to clear a path for the traffic. During the process workers try to recycle iron bars from the rubble to be used for future construction projects. They are also recycling pieces of concrete for street paving projects.
Abu Ali Daloul is one of the main traders of recycled iron bars in Gaza. He bought tons of the iron bars removed from the rubble of the recent war. He fixes the bars and prepares them to be used again for construction purposes.
The concrete rubble are transported to stone breaking workshops in order to be turned into pebbles for use on road paving projects. Abu Lebda is a stone breading workshop which recycles concrete rubble and provides brick manufacturers with pebbles to make bricks with
Malaka concrete bricks factory brings the pebbles from Abu Lebda's stone breaking workshop and puts the amounts in its stores hoping the cement to pass through the crossings to be able to produce bricks suffecient to rebuild Gaza.
Despite the strenuous efforts Gazans are undertaking to create new methods to rebuild their shattered communities, cement is still the biggest challenge for them as the blockade on the coastal enclave remains.
Shots of a machine breaking concrete in Burj Al Basha site.
Shots of a bulldozer removing the rubble.
Shots of workers collecting and rehabilitating iron bars.
Shots of Abu Ali Daloul's store for recycled construction iron bars
Shots of Abu Lebdda concrete stone breaking manufactory recycling the rubble
Shots of Malaka's concrete bricks factory
Waleed, a worker in Burj al-Basha (man, Arabic):
"We are in Gaza at the gates of Burj al-Basha (al-Basha tower) that was shelled by Israel. We modify iron so we can reuse it. We do this so we can rebuild Burj al-Basha (al-Basha tower). As you know, the iron factories are not working, so we have to work with the rubble. We take the iron that came from the rubble of Burj al-Basha (al-Basha tower) and we work on it so we can reuse it to rebuild the area."
Mohamad, a worker in Burj al-Basha site (man, Arabic):
"We are now in front of Burj al-Basha (al-Basha tower) , it is a factory for modifying iron. There are about 25 workers here in addition to a modifying expert. Our job is to remove the rubble from the buildings that were destroyed by Israel. We separate the iron from the concrete. We modify the iron and store it in a storage room to be reused in the future. And we also put the concrete in special storage units to be reused later, it can be used for construction or as asphalt for the roads. We work on re-appropriating iron from the buildings that were destroyed so we can use it in construction work or other things.
(04:06) Abu Ali Daloul, Iron trader in Gaza: We did not think of taking this as a profession before and we never thought about it. However, because of the destruction that happened, we had to resort to what we call 'self-sufficiency'. If the roads are closed and we are sieged, we need to build the country and we need this material. At first we started separating the iron, some of the iron is junk, some is appropriate for manufacturing. It can be used for construction, but mostly it is used for manufacturing, it can be used for shielding windows, making nails and other similar aspects. The rest of the iron which is in good condition goes to construction. The closest site to us was Burj al-Basha, and Burj al-zafer, and also in 8th street, there used to be a building near Ali Bin Abi Taleb Mosque. Its rubble blocked the road, so we had to remove them quickly because it was affecting the traffic. At the moment, all the iron that we have is from Burj al-Basha. We were able to take out of Burj al-Basha about 45 tons the first time we tried salvaging. Most of the iron we extracted is already sold, but the problem of the lack of concrete is what is postponing the construction process. No matter what, we will build our country, which our iron, our products, our work and effort.
Abu Mohamad Abu lebdda, owner of a concrete breaking factory:
After the war, and after Israel had destroyed the houses and blocked paths, we did not have concrete entering Gaza. So we had to recycle the rubble, to produce concrete, and to make bricks to be used in construction. We also reuse the metal after adjusting it. As you can see, the workers here, separate the rubble from the wood, the clothes, plastic and of the remaining found under the rubble. We clean it then crush it using machines, and we produce gravel, the soft one for building bricks and the rough one is used as concrete.
As I already stated, there are two types of gravel, the rough one we call "lentil", used as concrete, and the soft one we call it "sesame seeds", used to build bricks.
We build these bricks from the gravel made by the rubble recycling factories in Gaza. This type of brick is used for building roofs. We need good quality, so the brick has to pass through a test, we take it and examine it near the Islamic University. This brick passed the test and was made according to the required quality. We increase the cement [the small amount of cement available, which is mixed with the rubble] a bit, and it gives us a great quality.
September 10, 2014
Palestinians desperate to leave the Gaza strip apply for passports in the hope of emigrating. Applications to passport offices and emigration agencies have increased dramatically since the 2014 Gaza war, as many Gazans feel their situation is hopeless.
1: 00.00-00.47 : People applying for passports and other documents at the Gate of Ministry of Interior and Neighboring Private offices.
2: 00.48-01.31: Interview with owner of al-Aqsa office, Salim Hanyya, who talks about the demands of youth about immigration and passports.
3: 01.32-02.06 : PFPL interview insert at the PFPL Gaza office
4: 02.07-07.12 : Interview with Dr. Tholfaqar Swarjo, a PFPL political office member.
5: 07.13-07-20 : Samah Kassab interview insertions at an NGO’s office.
6: 07.21-10.30 : Interview with Samah who talks about his wish to immigrate.
7: 10.31-11.49 : Samah interview insertions
8: 11.50-16.01 : Tamer Hamam interview. Talks about his attempts to immigrate and the reasons behind this step, on a street in Gaza.
9: 16.02-16.15 : Tamer’s interview inserts on a street in Gaza.
SOUNDBITE 1: Salim Hanyya, owner of al-Aqsa office (man, Arabic):
"Here we issue passports, and the number of people who come and request for passports is not small, not less than 50 people per day. A lot of the young men who were affected by the war, they had their homes destroyed and so prefer to leave to another country. It is not a small number, the amount of people who want to leave. Everyday we meet with no less than 20-30 people."
SOUNDBITE 2: Dr. Tholfaqar Swarjo, PFPL political office member (man, Arabic)
"They made it happen and allowed them to go to Rome, as if they were giving them the green light for legal and illegal emigration. In the last few weeks we spotted what we can call a case of various types of emigration, legal and illegal. At first it was the case of a dozen people, however now it is mass emigration and well-educated people are leaving the country, claiming that they want to continue their studies abroad or they are traveling for touristic purposes. We know they will never return to Gaza. And there is the illegal emigration, through underground tunnel with the help of institutions that are taking advantage of the situation to benefit financially. This creates a political problem and benefits the Israelis who have been trying to force Palestinians to emigrate for a very long time, to relieve the demographic stress in Gaza and the West Bank.
We are studying this issue and there are special committees that are investigating the problem, and focusing on the smuggling groups. This is also a security issue and can be used in a negative way especially by Israel against the Palestinians.”
Interviewer: Why did this issue appear at this time?
“There is something we call the “outside effect”, since the Palestinian decision is in the hands of regional countries. In addition to the three attacks that happened against Gaza, their goal was to break down the spirit of the Palestinians, to bring the resistance down, and to encourage Palestinians to emigrate. There are also interior factors such as the difficult economic situation, which is hard on all the Palestinians. Even employees in the governmental sector, a lot of employees do not receive their salaries consistently, and that created a huge problem. There is also a huge segment of youth who have no one caring about their interests. They are victims of the conflict between the government of Gaza and the government of Ramallah in the past and now they are victims of the split rulership in Gaza. Having a huge number of emigrants can cause a demographic instability and will have a huge effect on the future of Gaza.
The emigration of great minds is encouraging other people to leave the country. This issue will make the Palestinians weak when face all the conspiracies that are made against them.
The most important thing is to point a finger towards those responsible for this problem. We have talked about subjective and objective factors, but in the end the main cause is the absence of a leading government, or what we call here “the shadow government”, the complete absence of a nationally agreed government, and the lack of people who are able to control the situation. Whatever is going on concerning emigration, can only happen under the nose of the government. It is impossible to go to underground tunnels or, even if they want to, travel in the sea without catching the attention of the government. This means that the government knows about what is going on and they are choosing to ignore it. So each government should be aware of its responsibilities and they should cooperate together according to the agreement of al-Shatee, and to put the interest of the Palestinians above all.”
SOUNDBITE 3: Samah Kassab, Gazan trying to emigrate, (woman, Arabic):
The war was very difficult on all of us, and Israel had attacked Gaza and the rest of Palestine before, but this time was more intense. Until now I feel that we are not completely out of the state of shock. It is true that I was not affected personally, my house was not destroyed and no harm came to my children or my family, but still everything that we were seeing was happening very close to us. Every missile we heard, I kept thinking it was going to hit my house. We saw a lot of dead people, and lots of injured.
I got in a state of depression that I have not been able to get out of yet. I cannot work. I walk in the streets of Gaza and see destruction everywhere. We live by the sea, so we used to hear every bomb. My children put their hands over their ears as they slept. All I wanted was for the war to be over without any loss of life, so I can just leave the country. I just wanted to leave and save my kids and myself. I did not want to stay and I did not want to lose anyone I care about.
All I wanted was for the war to end so I can start with the immigration process.
The problem is that emigration is very difficult for us. The border with Egypt is closed. Traveling from place to place is very hard for us. The only way that might be possible is to get Italy by sea, which is very dangerous and risky. I will have to risk my life and my children's life. I am very confused and I do not whether I should leave or stay but mostly I think I will leave, simply because the war might start again at any second.
Until this moment I am not able to regain my optimism. I am a very simple person and all I want is a safe place, which is all I am looking for. Plus, we as Palestinians do not trust our leaders, there is no clear agenda, and there is no clear political program. We were not included in the plan of our resistance, we did not participate in making this plan, it is a good thing that we resisted the occupation, but at the end we are humans, we love life and we want to live.”
SOUNDBITE 4: Tamer Hamam, Gazan trying to emigrate (man, Arabic)
“I made a decision to immigrate and I actually started the process. I applied to several countries, and asked around about the countries that might grant me a visa. I am not thinking about applying as a refugee, I am thinking about official immigration. I am applying to Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and I will wait and see which one works. No matter where you are in the world, in Palestine or in the safest country in the world, if you lose a relative, or your job or your home, you might be able to overcome it. What I lost is something I cannot get back: hope. I lost hope. Nothing can help you if you lose hope, even if you have money or a nice house.
Everything in this country forces you to lose hope, the political situation, the economic situation, and the security situation. There is not hope because we do not know what is going to happen, ask the strongest leader here about what is going to happen two years from now, he wouldn’t know, or about what might happen, he could not give you an answer.
The idea of immigrating was always on my mind, but I used to say no, tomorrow will be better and I should stay. However, this war has destroyed every hope we had left. It is a disaster to live without hope, and what is more depressing is the fact that you are not able to achieve any of your dreams and no one you know was able to achieve any of their dreams. No matter where you are, you will not achieve everything you want, but at least you will achieve a few things that will make you feel better about yourself. You cannot accomplish anything, none of the people around you accomplished anything, and everything around you pushes you back. As a photographer, my dream was to become international and to develop my talent, but here, the only thing you chase is daily living. You do not have the time or the luxury to think about creativity. There is no safety socially or economically. If you were lucky enough to get a job, you will remain afraid of them firing you because the company is bankrupt, or a war started and they can no longer operate.
There is no social safety because a civil war might occur anytime and people will turn against each other, because they belong to different parties. You have your brother who belongs to one party and your cousin belongs to another one, and due to that the social bonds between people are lost.
And the most disturbing thing is the issues keep occurring here. Every week you have a different crisis. Once there is a gas crisis, then an electricity crisis, and another time a wages crisis.
What we are suffering from is a slow death, which, in my opinion, is a lot harder than an instant death on the battlefield.”
August 28, 2014
Palestinian children orphaned in the 2014 Gaza war begin new lives in the care of extended family and orphanages. While the physical wounds many of them sustained during the 50 day war are healing, their psychological wounds are just beginning to show. Gaza's dismal, blockaded, and underfunded mental health system cannot cope with massive amount of children in need of psychosocial care. Most children will receive no specialized treatment for their deep psychological wounds.
Many children orphaned in the war are now beginning new lives in the care of extended family members. However, as Islam forbids adoption, those who do not have extended family to go to are now under the care of orphanages and will remain so until they are adults.
These photos profile three young girls who lost their parents in the 2014 Gaza conflict and are now looking for a new start as their caretakers help rebuild their shattered lives.
After what was possibly the most destructive war in Gaza in recent history, residents of the besieged coastal enclave finally have a chance to assess the damage done to their homes and properties. For the thousands left homeless by the hostilities, life is now a painstaking process of rebuilding the little that remains of their possessions.
Following a warning from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), over 600 people evacuated their homes in the north of Gaza and have taken refuge in a UN School. Many fled few possessions and the school is now concerned that they will run out of water and supplies. "I don't know how much longer we will be able to go on in this situation," commented Abdil Sawan, the UN representative within the school.
The UN now estimates that 17,000 people have now left their homes.
A male supporter of Germany (C) reacts during the World Cup final match against Argentina at the Goethe-Institut Sao Paulo, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 13th Jul, 2014. Germany defeated Argentina after extra time at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
A female supporter of Germany (C) reacts during the World Cup final match against Argentina at the Goethe-Institut Sao Paulo, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 13th Jul, 2014. Germany defeated Argentina after extra time at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
June 25, 2014
Libyans vote at a polling station in al-Horiya Elementary School in downtown Benghazi.
Libyans are voting in the country's second parliamentary elections since the fall of the Muammar Ghadaffi in 2011.
More than 1,600 candidates are competing in these elections, 131 of whom are women.
Just few days before the start of the Football World Cup in Brazil, a little-known tournament had already been completed, and the champion was a nation that stretches across portions of France and Italy that ceased to exist 150 years ago: Contea de Nissa.
The CONIFA World Cup is an alternative international football tournament featuring 12 teams representing internationally unrecognized nations and peoples. Competitors include teams from places like Abkhazia, Darfur, Kurdistan, and elsewhere. The tournament was held in the Swedish city of Ostersund, which is located on land that is part of the the historic region of Sapmi, or Lapland, the ancestral lands of the indigenous Sami people of Scandinavia. For CONIFA founder Pers-Anders Lund, the tournament is about giving representation to the world's ubiquitous underrepresented nations.
“There is no prize in cash, players that normally just represent local clubs are now competing for their whole region, for their blood and flesh, they are bringing home pride and dignity for their people," explained Lund. "There are 80 millions Tamils and 40 millions Kurds who don't have a national team to support in Brazil.”
Brazil, Salvador da Bahia
French National Soccer Team player Karim Benzema before the match, France vs Switzerland, FIFA World Cup, June 20, 2014.
Brazil, Salvador da Bahia, 20.06.2014, Fifa World Cup 2014, France vs. Switzerland, Military Police in the Arena Fonte Nova before the match.
Brazil, Salvador da Bahia
Portuguese National Soccer Team player Cristiano Ronaldo sings the Portuguese National Anthem before the match, Portugal vs Germany, FIFA World Cup, June 16, 2014.
Fifa World Cup 2014 in Brazil, Salvador da Bahia, Arena Fonte Nova, Germany vs. Portugal, German National Team Coach Jogi Löw watches the match.
May 31, 2014
Video shows night shots of the Souq al-Hamidiyya historic market in the old city of Damascus. Shoppers are asked their opinions on the Syrian Presidential Election.
Ali Hijazi, Coffee Shop Worker:
"Concerning the social situation, it seems normal, the streets are crowded and it is improving rapidly. Shops and cafes are receiving customers, people are out at all times, nine, ten, even after eleven and twelve you can still find people outside. Everything is improving, and now it is summer, so people go out more. Tourism has decreased, but still the situation is improving."
Abu Ibrahim, Visitor from Qamishli:
"I am from Qamishli, I came to Damascus and brought my son to visit a doctor. We have been hearing from biased TV channels that the situation in Damascus at night is scary and there is bombing and shelling. However, here we are and we haven’t seen any of that, the situation is very calm and normal."
"First of all I want to salute Damascus and our President, and I want to note that all people are happy and out on the streets at night. There is nothing to worry about and I sincerely hope the situation will improve more because there is nothing as amazing as Damascus. May God protect our president."
"Everything is fine, we are outside, it is 9:30 at night now and there is nothing to worry about. If any uncomfortable situation was sensed we wouldn’t have gone out at night."
Another man had already been killed by a teargas canister shot during previous protests. In reaction, young people from the Chepesi party rioted for days against the police, yelling slogans and calling them Katil (criminals, murderers).
The Popular Republican Pary (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, or CHP) is the longest standing party in Turkey. It represents the strongest left-wing political force in the country.
Many young boys and men take to the streets. On one side, they throw stones and molotovs, on the other plastic bullets, teargas and Toma.
After the Gezi Park riots, many movements emerged to oppose the AKP and its leader, Prime Minister Recip Teyyip Erdogan, who has enforced various restrictions on freedom of speech and the press.
The protestors include both young and old people, the former in the front whilst the latter remain in the back to play a supporting role in clashes with the armed forces.
In suburbs prone to such clashes, once often encounters strong local support.
Since the beginning of the clashes, 9 people have died and more than 8163 have been injured. This does not include the number of arrests; it also makes the violence one of the most tragic events in recent Turkish history.
The number of Turkish security forces deployed in the neighborhood has steadily increased since the first wave of violence. During the clashes, police never entered the heart of the suburb, but are now slowly making deeper forays into the neighborhood.
After weeks of protests following the Soma mine disaster, police resorted to using real ammunition during the most violent clashes. Previously, only rubber bullets were used; the use of live ammunition has since then led to causalities.
Neighborhood life only stops in the greatest moments of tension, when vendors close their shops in order to protect themselves and their belongings. Many watch the events from a distance.
Home to several active parties, social tensions in the neighborhood also have political roots. These parties include the DHKP-C (Revolutionary People's Liberation Party–Front), considered an illegal terrorist organization by Erdogan's administration, the BDP (Party for Peace and Democracy) a legal party that supports the Kurdish cause, and the SODAP (Socialist Solidarity Platform).
22 May 2014. News of the shooting death of 30-year old Ugur Kurt was confirmed. He was killed by police in an Alevi mosque, or Cemevi, in the Okmaydani suburb of Istanbul.
Okmaydani is an far-left leaning neighbourhood where Turkish and Kurdish parties coexist. Due to its proximity to Taksim Square, it has been a major force in the protests surrounding the Gezi Park demonstrations.
Young boys and men take to the streets. On one side, they throw stones and molotovs. They are met with plastic bullets, teargas and armored police vehicles with water cannons.
A small demonstration of the DHKP/C (Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front) waves red flags through the neighborhood and shouting slogans in order to attract people into the streets.
The only signs left of the tension in Okmeydani from the previous days are poles wrecked by the protestors and some statements written on the walls in memory of Berkin Elvan, Urgu Kurt and Ayhan Yilmaz
The response after the arrests was lively.
The streets fill with teargas and barricades.
Once the police leave, people armed with guns and rifles come out to shoot security cameras. They want to prove who is in control of that part of the neighborhood.
For many on the political left in Turkey, conditions in the country are rapidly becoming a reason for social upheaval. The extreme poverty of some suburbs, the deaths of 300 miners in Soma, the marginalization of minorities, the war on the Syrian border, police oppression of protestors and restrictions on the press are exacerbating tensions in an already politically divided society.