Africa…

I had a talk with my friend few minutes ago. She’s in Africa right now. It was when I suddenly remembered those three photos that completely changed my perception about Africa. Every time I see them I can’t help myself but think how useless I am. . . and wish I could help… I know these photos were taken two decades ago, but as hard it is to believe it’s still a very common picture in these countries…

Mike Wells, 1980, Uganda, World Press Photo of the Year

Child in Uganda holding hands with a missionary. The stark contrast between the two people serves as a reminder of the gulf in wealth between developed and developing countries. Mike Wells, the photographer, took this picture to show the extent of starvation in Africa. He took it for a magazine, and when they went 5 months without printing it, he decided to enter it into a competition. However, Wells has stated that he is against winning a compeition with a picture of a starving boy.

Kevin Carter, southern Sudan, 1994

In March 1993, photographer Kevin Carter made a trip to southern Sudan, where he took now iconic photo of a starving Sudanese child being stalked by a vulture. It is a horrific picture that gave people a true look at the dire condition in Sub-Saharan Africa. Carter said he waited about 20 minutes, hoping that the vulture would spread its wings. It didn’t. Carter snapped the haunting photograph and chased the vulture away. The parents of the girl were busy taking food from the same UN plane Carter took to Ayod.

The photograph was sold to The New York Times where it appeared for the first time on March 26, 1993 as ‘metaphor for Africa’s despair’. Practically overnight hundreds of people contacted the newspaper to ask whether the child had survived, leading the newspaper to run an unusual special editor’s note saying the girl had enough strength to walk away from the vulture, but that her ultimate fate was unknown. Journalists in the Sudan were told not to touch the famine victims, because of the risk of transmitting disease, but Carter came under criticism for not helping the girl.

Carter eventually won the Pulitzer Prize for this photo, but he couldn’t enjoy it. Two months after receiving his Pulitzer, Carter would be dead of carbon-monoxide poisoning in Johannesburg, a suicide at 33. His red pickup truck was parked near a small river where he used to play as a child; a green garden hose attached to the vehicle’s exhaust funneled the fumes inside. “I’m really, really sorry,” he explained in a note left on the passenger seat beneath a knapsack. “The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist.”

James Nachtwey, Somalia, 1992

A mother carries her dead child to the grave, after wrapping it in a shroud according to local custom. A bad drought coupled with the effects of civil war caused a terrible famine in Somalia which claimed the lives of between one and two million people over a period of two years, more than 200 a day in the worst affected areas. The international airlift of relief supplies which started in July was hampered by heavily armed gangs of clansmen who looted food storage centers and slowed down the distribution of the supplies by aid organizations.

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Burst of Joy

38 years ago the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph ‘Burst of Joy’ was taken by Associated Press photographer Slava “Sal” Veder, depicting a former prisoner of war being reunited with his family. The photograph came to symbolize the end of United States involvement in the Vietnam War.

2012 in Japan’11

(C) Aljazeera

On the picture you see officials checking residents of the area around the Fukushima nuclear power plant for signs of radiation poisoning.

Reuters says the usually bustling streets of Tokyo were empty tonight, with the few who did head into bars and restaurants glued to TV screens. Kasumi, 26, said:

Even in the bar we kept staring at the news. I looked at the tsunami swallowing houses and it seemed like a film. I live alone, so when I go home at night, I’m scared.

(c) Reuters

Others took to Facebook after some 800,000 phone lines were cut, putting extra pressure on the remaining communications infrastructure. A 23-year-old office worker from Tokyo posted:

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Photos of the Week

source: The Economist

The euro-zone rescue package does not mean common economic government. But the rules are clearly changing..

SINCE 1949, Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty has bound NATO members to a solemn vow: an armed attack on one of the alliance shall be treated as an attack against all. With international markets closed to Greece, and contagion threatening Portugal and Spain, European Union leaders agreed to a similar pledge after a pair of gruelling, late-night meetings on May 7th and 9th.

From now on, they in effect declared, markets betting against one member of the euro zone would meet a swift response from all 16. Emergency finance would be channelled to vulnerable governments from an array of fighting funds of up to €750 billion ($950 billion) variously loaned or guaranteed by EU countries, euro-zone members and the IMF (see article).

The European Union’s policymakers were forced to act with unaccustomed speed and unprecedented force. A promised huge rescue fund and central-bank help for indebted governments have eased the euro area’s crisis. The respite must be used wisely.. (see article)

Electoral defeat at home and the euro-zone rescue package have rocked Angela Merkel’s chancellorship. She now faces some tough decisions..

MAY 9th is not a day Angela Merkel will soon forget. First voters in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany’s most populous state, booted the chancellor’s allies out of office, meting out her worst political drubbing in more than five years in office. That evening European finance ministers meeting in Brussels armed a financial bomb to deter speculators threatening the stability of the euro (see article). It seemed to work, but may also demolish Germans’ long-term trust in the single currency. Both events will transform Mrs Merkel’s chancellorship. (see article)

Some interesting charts and photos related to the topic:

Eyjafjallajökull: NASA photo perspective

Ash and Lightning Above an Icelandic Volcano. NASA reports:

Explanation: Why did the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland create so much ash? Although the large ash plume was not unparalleled in its abundance, its location was particularly noticeable because it drifted across such well populated areas. The Eyjafjallajökull volcano in southern Iceland began erupting on March 20, with a second eruption starting under the center of small glacier on April 14. Neither eruption was unusually powerful. The second eruption, however, melted a large amount of glacial ice which then cooled and fragmented lava into gritty glass particles that were carried up with the rising volcanic plume. Pictured above two days ago, lightning bolts illuminate ash pouring out of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano.
Credit &
Copyright: Marco Fulle (Stromboli Online)

The Shooting War

From the bloody civil wars in Africa to the rag-tag insurgiences in Southeast Asia, 33 conflicts are raging around the world today, and it’s often innocent civilians who suffer the most.
Foreign Policy (FP) publishes an exclusive collection of work by the world’s most acclaimed conflict photographers.
See full report at FP.

BASRA, IRAQ. Antonin Kratochvil
Ngety, Congo. Marcus Bleasdale
BAGHDAD. Stephanie Sinclair
Tyre, Lebanon.Jeroen Oerlemans

photo of the day: ” O dwóch takich, co ukradli księżyc”

Lech Kaczyński, Jarek Kaczyński starring in The Two Who Stole the Moon (O dwóch takich, co ukradli księżyc). It is a 1962 Polish children’s film based on Kornel Makuszyński‘s 1928 story. 
RIP…
 
plot: The two twins, Jacek and Placek, start out as cruel and lazy boys whose main interest is eating—eating anything, including chalk and a sponge in school. One day they have the idea of stealing the moon — after all, it is made of gold.

"If we steal the moon, we would not have to work"
"But we do not work now, either…"
"But then we would not have to work at all".

After a few small adventures they manage to steal the moon. Immediately a gang of robbers notices them and captures them. They regain their freedom however, and one of the twins devises a plan to enter the "City of Gold". The plan works, but when the robbers try to collect the gold, they turn into gold themselves. The twins escape, run home and promise to help their parents with their work as farmers.