They killed him. And then one of them turned and said, “The white guy’s photographing.” Everyone leapt away, and I said, “No, it’s fine, it’s fine. Why did you kill him? Who is he?”
I was thinking, “I’ll spit on his body, I’ll kick this corpse, I don’t care – I’m going to survive this.” Thankfully, I didn’t have to do that. They pulled his ID out of his pocket: he was from another tribe. Then two of the killers posed and said, “Take a picture of us.” So I took a picture and walked away. All the time I was expecting somebody to say, “Wait, that guy musn’t leave.” But I walked off, got into my car and got the hell out of there.
The United Nations’ news agency, IRIN, reports on desperate circumstances in the Mbéra refugee camp in eastern Mauritania which is home to 55,000 Malians. Just under one in five children “is malnourished, and 4.6 percent are severely malnourished - two to three times the national average, according to a just-released November survey by NGO Médecins sans Frontières (MSF).”
Children under five “are dying mainly from a combination of malnutrition and malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhoea, according to MSF head in Mauritania Karl Nawezi, who describes the situation as ‘alarming and unacceptable’”.
For the full story (which you’re unlikely to to read about on the front page of any western paper, much less see on the nightly news) go to: IRIN Africa | MAURITANIA: Refugees face “alarming” malnutrition, mortality rates
10 Conflicts to Watch in 2013 | Foreign Policy
By Louise Arbour, Crisis Group’s President and CEO
Every year, around the world, old conflicts worsen, new ones emerge and, occasionally, some situations improve. There is no shortage of storm clouds looming over 2013: Once again, hotspots old and new will present a challenge to the security of people across the globe.
FULL ARTICLE (Foreign Policy)
Photo: IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation/Flickr
More than 60,000 people have died in the Syrian uprising and civil war, the United Nations said on Wednesday, dramatically raising the death toll in a struggle that shows no sign of ending.
Dozens were killed in a Damascus suburb when a government air strike turned a petrol station into an inferno, incinerating drivers who had rushed there for a rare chance to fill their tanks, activists said.
“I counted at least 30 bodies. They were either burnt or dismembered,” said Abu Saeed, an activist who arrived at the area an hour after the raid occurred at 1:00 PM (1100 GMT) in Muleiha, a suburb on the eastern edge of the capital.
U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay said in Geneva that researchers cross-referencing seven sources over five months of analysis had listed 59,648 people killed in Syria between March 15, 2011 and November 30, 2012.
“The number of casualties is much higher than we expected and is truly shocking,” she said. “Given that there has been no let-up in the conflict since the end of November, we can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of 2013.”
READ ON: U.N. raises Syria death toll to 60,000
When the bomb went off, I saw a fireball in the air, then a shockwave came towards our office, knocked people to the ground and shattered all the windows. We had to evacuate, so I grabbed the camera on my desk and started running towards where the bomb had gone off… I became a photographer and not a person. It didn’t cross my mind to talk to them. The man was being held up by his wife. He was badly injured, and getting help from other people nearby, including an off-duty policeman. The others I could see were already dead. I don’t know first aid, so I thought the thing I can do, and what I do best, is to document this, show people what happened.
DAMASCUS, Syria — Six months after being driven out of central Damascus, rebel fighters are battling to gain control of it.
They have launched a concerted campaign against military bases and the international airport, within an arc of opposition strongholds that now encircle the capital.
Read more: Syria: The siege of Damascus
The crowd chased him and threw rocks at him; children and adults beat him with sticks. Finally, he was totally exhausted and fell to the ground quite near where I was standing. And I went on photographing.
To my shame, it never occurred to me to do anything. To start with, we were white. On our own. The other two photographers didn’t get out of the car. Suddenly I realised that Tom [Hopkinson, the editor of Picture Post] had walked into the crowd and stood over the guy. People were so amazed, they just stood back. The man was able to stagger up, around a corner and escape. It was an amazing thing to do. Tom undoubtedly saved the man’s life. And, frankly, it had not for a moment occurred to me to intervene.
It was my first time in a conflict situation, and I was quite unprepared. I was on my own inside a migrant worker’s hostel in South Africa. Suddenly all the men started picking up spears and sticks and clubs, and racing off. So I followed them. They were trying to get into one of the dormitory rooms, and there was someone inside pressing against the door. Eventually, the door was flung open and this guy with a scarf tied like a turban around his head came dashing out. He looked me straight in the eyes, and then took off.
All these other men started chasing him, and he hadn’t gone far when he was brought down. About 15 or 20 men were all around him, hitting and stabbing and clubbing. And I was right there, photographing it. On the one hand, I was horrified, and at the same time I was thinking: what should the exposure be?
When you’re working with a camera, you tend to disassociate yourself from what’s going on. You’re just an observer. We were there to record the facts. But there are moments when the facts are less important than somebody’s life.
I was flung to the floor by a policeman. I was lying there, dusting myself, ready to give the policeman a bit of my Scottish abuse, when I saw a man being wrestled to the ground for not doing what he was told. He hadn’t done anything wrong, but as he was lying on the ground, the policemen were abusing him and being really aggressive with him, hands round his neck, that kind of thing. I picked up my camera and he said, “Help me, help me. Please help me.” And I didn’t do anything. I took a picture – and he got dragged off.