Mali has been long been known for both its rich ancient Islamic history, and its modern vibrant culture. But over the past two years, many of these features were almost permanently destroyed, when jihadi militants took over the cities of the north, like Gao and Timbuktu. Imposing their own despotic version of religious law, with brutal punishments and public executions, the jihadis threatened to decimate the relics of Mali’s ancient past, and suppress the lively spirit of its joyous communities. Women bore the brunt of this crackdown: they were forced to cover their brightly lit clothes with dark hijabs and face-covering burkas, and banned from work, school, or regular access to medical care. Behavior deemed “immoral” resulted in imprisonment and beatings.
The Beating of the Heart
In March 2011, Webster City’s main employer, Electrolux, shut down and moved to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The company and its predecessors had made washing machines in the small Iowa town of 8,000 under various brand names since 1937, and then it was gone. Nearly all of a workforce that once topped 2,000 was laid off. It’s not the first community to end up in a tough spot, and it won’t be the last – though to a large degree, these workers were forgotten.
Marcha Al Mar
The ocean is man’s last true relationship with the wild. Fishermen and the waters they work cannot be separated. And to save one, you must save the other.
Stalking a Killer: Ebola and the Hunt for its Source
In 2014 the world witnesses the largest outbreak of the lethal Ebola virus. Before surfacing in Guinea, and later spreading to Liberia and Sierra Leone, the virus was largely relegated to the remote forest regions of Central Africa where sporadic outbreaks were typically short lived and claimed a relatively small number of lives. It is thought that the scope of previous outbreaks was largely contained by virtue of the extremely remote and isolated nature of the environments in which they occurred. Hunters and other people who interact regularly with the forest and wildlife that lives there were typically the first victims. While no one yet knows where exactly the virus originates, researchers know that it lurks somewhere in the forest.
2016 Iowa Caucuses
Another four years have passed and once again the circus of presidential candidates and accompanying media descended on the state of Iowa for the first real vote of the campaign. The New York Times sent me to Iowa for the month of January…here’s a selection of my favorites.
A Mixe Flower
Gloria, 13, belongs to the Mixe Community of Maluco, a small village in the north of the “Itsmo de Tehuantepec”, Oaxaca Mexico. She lives with her mother and 8 of her 10 siblings who are between 4 and 20 years old. Gloria became mother at the age of 12, a consequence of the constant sexual abuse of her father who has also attacked two of her sisters, aged 8 and 16.
Brotherland: War in Ukraine
Since protests in Kyiv drove President Viktor Yanukovych from power in February 2014, Eastern Ukraine has been convulsed by a rebel insurgency, inflamed by Russia, that has evolved into a full-fledged war centered in the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk – an industrial region known as Donbass.
Angelica Ortiz collapsed on the asphalt outside the morgue’s single door. The sun dried her tears. She lifted herself up to glance through the small glass window as if to check if he was still there. Inside her ten-year-old son lay on a cold steel gurney. She fell back down to her knees. Her husband still didn’t know. She was alone but for a small crowd of journalists who stopped to take her picture. Renato Lacayo, a Honduran journalist, stood back and watched them.
Bergen Research Foundation
A short film introducing Bergen forskningsstiftelse, Bergen Research Foundation, founded in 2004 by means of a NOK 250 million donation (approx. USD 30 million) from Trond Mohn. Prior to this Mr Mohn had for many years donated large sums to a variety of sporting and humanitarian causes – but this was his first major contribution to the field of research. The foundation gives grants toward research and research supporting activities at the University of Bergen and Haukeland University Hospital. It also gives grants to support research at the University of Bergen and Haukeland University Hospital at the interface between basic research and clinical research. The video showcases three researchers that explore the fields of Informatics, Climate Change and Cancer Research.
The Spring Thaw
This series of diptychs were taken in May 2015 and June 2015 during this past year’s abnormally fast spring thaw and are part of a larger work in progress about the impacts of climate change across Alaska.
The years-long drought in California has led to a steady uptick in the number, size and ferocity in wildfires in the state. Wildfires are a natural phenomenon, but drought, climate change and decades of fire suppression led to more than 6,000 wildfires burning more than 300,000 acres in 2015 alone.
Life and Death in the Northern Pass
“There are two ways of thinking about living here; either you go on every day and when it’s your turn to die you die, or you live every day in fear.” – Daniel Gonzalez, 26, a resident of Ciudad Juarez who later moved to El Paso, Texas.
Juárez Women's Prison
Over the past three years there has been a 400 percent increase in the number of women imprisoned for federal crimes in Mexico. Ciudad Juárez is the most dangerous city in Mexico, plagued by drug war violence, not to mention poverty and unemployment, which has only escalated after the financial collapse. The rise of women’s involvement in narcotics related crime in Juárez has also escalated, directly linked to poverty and lack of employment opportunities.
The Dignity of Revolution
As winter settled over Ukraine in late 2013, Kyiv exploded into crisis. President Viktor Yanukovych announced that he would abandon a promised trade and partnership agreement with the European Union in favor of support from Russia. Thousands of people took to the streets in protest over a culture of official corruption which they feared would only deepen amid closer ties to Russia.
I Can't Tell You How Much I Love You
Five years after the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 250,000 people, Haiti continues to struggle. Despite the tremendous resources and ideas brought to bear, intended once and for all to set right Haiti’s development and governance challenges, many of the issues that have plagued the country for decades, including corruption, violence, dependence on foreign assistance, and poor infrastructure, remain deeply entrenched. Hopes raised high have fallen, replaced in the minds of many Haitians by bitter resentment that they have once again been exploited and forgotten.
On July 17, 2014 Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile as it passed over eastern Ukraine en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board. Immediate suspicion, backed up by on-the-ground evidence and analysis from Western intelligence agencies and international investigators, implicated the pro-Russian rebels currently fighting a war in the region, who seemingly received the weapon directly from Russia.
The Monster Under the Water
Jason Melerine was born to the water. His father fished, his grandfather fished, his great-grandfather fished. At age 11, Melerine drew pictures of the boat he would someday own. The day he turned 16, he quit school to go crabbing. Now 28, he can barely read and write. Fishing off Delacroix Island, a sliver of land alongside the Louisiana coast, is all he knows.
Latin America is the only region in the world where teenage pregnancies increase, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in a report published on October 30, 2013. This is due to poverty, gender inequality, discrimination, lack of access to services, and the social notion about girls and women.
Living City: A Billion Gallons a Day
It is considered the gold standard of urban water systems. It covers parts of eight New York counties and a sliver of Connecticut. It includes 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes, which can be used to feed the water supply. It has the capacity to hold approximately 580 billion gallons of water. And 9.4 million people depend on it when they turn on their taps.
Into Existence: South Sudan at Independence
On July 9th, 2011, the swamps and plains of southern Sudan became the world’s 193rd country. For decades, across this vast and largely vacant landscape, unspeakable violence and devastation prevailed. More than two million people perished as southern rebels waged a 23-year rebellion against the northern government aimed at empowering the resource-rich but deeply marginalized south. In 2005, the war came to an ostensible end with an agreement that allowed for the prospect of southern independence in 2011, the same year in which the ceasefire expired.
Turning Tides: Congo’s War Against the M23
In the fall of 2013, the war between Congolese forces and rebels known as M23 culminated in a fierce battle on plains of volcanic rock in Congo’s east. For more than a year, M23—a formidable rebellion with ties to Rwanda and Uganda—had scored successive victories over the Congolese army, including the capture of Goma, the region’s most vital city. In late 2013, with enhanced support from the United Nations and the international community, the Congolese army resolved to crush the rebellion and launched one of the largest military campaigns in its recent history.
The Vietnam Circus Federation was founded by Ta Duy Hien (1889-1966) on January 16, 1956. It began as a private company to provide opportunities for artists to work in the circus, training them through circus school and bringing them together in one big family. After Vietnam gained independence from French colonial rule in 1954, Hien handed his circus over to the new Vietnamese government but remained as its director.
Drought in the American West
The American West is entering it’s fourth year of a historic drought. Climate change is playing a role, but there’s simply not enough water to support the increasing population and large-scale agriculture in what is essentially a desert.