Thursday, January 19, 2017

Yazda reopened.

Good news, Yazda, the NGO located in Dohuk, supporting the Yazidi people in the Sinjar region has reopened after a series of positive meetings with the Kurdistan Regional Government “KRG”. It means they can restart the projects in the region.
Jamil Shawmar talking to Vicken Cheterian at the Yazda Head office in Dohuk, Iraq

#photography #documentary #photojournalism #reportage #webster #nikonpro #iraq #keystone #yazidi #refugee #sinjar #peshmerga #yazda

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Halabja, Kurdistan Iraq- 28 years after the Genocide.

Dana Omar Ali was only 6 years old  (Born 1982) in 1988. He lived in Halabja, a city in Iraq, close to the boarder of Iran. Saddam Hussein was the totalitarian Dictator who ruled the country. In 1988, he ordered a chemical attack on Halabja. Dana Omar Ali survived. He became  a university educated teacher. Since the attack, he had developed a small 'cough' but did not think it was anything serious. 4 years ago (as of June 2016), his lung capacity collapsed and he is now destined to stay in bed and needs a breathing machine to survive. UPDATE: Dana Omar died on May 1st. 2017.
Dana Omar Ali at his home in Halabja (June 2016)
This is a fairly common story in the city where over 5000 people were killed and over 7000 people injured. Many of the survivors today have developed problems, like Dana Omar Ali, after the attack.

Kamel Abdel Kader was born 1973 and was 15 years old during the  chemical attack. He survived continued to live relatively normally. He got ill 8 years ago and is now, just like Dana Omar Ali, living with a breathing machine.
Kamel Abdel Kaderat his home in Halabja (June 2016) 
Friends, including the Mayor of Halabja, Khder Kareem, (second from the left) are visiting Kamel Abdel Kader.
Today, Halabja is a small city of about 117000 mostly Kurdish people. ‘The chemical attack happened towards the end of the Iran Iraq war- the Kurds in the Halabja region was supported by Iran. On March 16th 1988, after two days of ordinary artillery attacks, Iraqi planes dropped gas canisters on the town. The town and surrounding district were attacked with bombs, artillery fire, and chemical weapons, the last of which proved most devastating. At least 5,000 people died as an immediate result of the chemical attack and it is estimated that a further 7,000 people were injured or suffered long term illness. Most of the victims of the attack on the town of Halabja were Kurdish civilians’. (Wikipedia). 
Girl on bike in the Jewish quarter in the city of Halabja, Iraq in June 2016.
Two women walking in the Jewish quarter in the city of Halabja, Iraq in June 2016 
Street Marked in Halabja, June 2016.

No one knows exactly what was used, but it is believed that nerve agents Tabun, Sarin, VX as well as Mustard gas was used. Some argues that cyanid also was used.
The memorial cemetery in Halabja where victims of Saddam Husseins chemical attack of 1988 are buried. Baath's party members are not allowed to enter.
The memorial cemetary in Habaja is located in the outskirts of the town.
The memorial cemetery in Halbja, Iraq, a sculpture symbolises the victims of the attack in 1988. Some young people use the place to relax.
I visited Halabja in June 2016 with journalist Vicken Cheterian. 

#photography #documentary #photojournalism #reportage #webster #nikonpro #iraq #keystone #halabja #refugee #chemical #genocide

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bed for Janviere update

I was meant to be returning from Rwanda today after having delivered the bed to Janviere. The good news is that the bed is in Rwanda! The bad news is that we have had some administrative issues that have caused a delay. I am of course determined to make it to Rwanda in order to meet with Janviere again as well as giving her the new bed and am hoping everything is sorted so that this can now happen next month. I am looking forward to soon post the conclusion on this project- and- hopefully introduce stage two... Please stay in touch for the updates next week.
Many people helped by donating through 100days in Switzerland and the help will reach beyond the bed- more to come on that soon! The bed was a donation from Hospital MC Group, we have had help from Dutch medical component company Polyganics in order to ship the bed from Europe to Rwanda. Noord Nederlands Klussenbedrift made the box to pack it in. Photo Rudy Mareel
#genocide #neveragain #photography #documentary #photojournalism #reportage #webster #nikonpro #ronorp #keystone #photobastei #100days #ronorp #polyganics #NoordNederlandsKlussenbedrift

Friday, January 06, 2017

Yazda closed down

Sad news from Human Right Watch and writer Belkis Wille: "Yazda, a prominent nongovernmental organization supporting the Yezidi religious minority said it was shut down by security officers from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)". Yazda was a great help in the work we did in Norther Iraq/ Kurdistan last June. For many Yazidi, their support was clearly vital and it is sad to see this as not less but more help is desperately needed. Particularly now in the midst of winter. 
Jamil Shawmar at the Yazda Head office in Dohuk, Iraq.
Mahmoud, former soldier, helped liberating the Yazidi down from the mount Sinjar by creating a corridor into Syria. Now,  he is with Yassda. Dogure village.

#photography #documentary #photojournalism #reportage #webster #nikonpro #iraq #keystone #yazidi #refugee #sinjar #peshmerga