Tag Archives: Politics

Mix Tape from Kathmandu, Nepal

15 February 2010, Kathmandu, Nepal –

The following few photos are a sample of my first month in Nepal. The rate of festivals in Nepal, political, religious, public and private  events is somewhat overwhelming for the senses. This is a random selection of a few moments scattered throughout the month, from Hindu’s Shivaratri to Lhosar, the Lunar New Year celebrations held by the large Tibetan diaspora in Nepal a few days ago via  to Buffalo preparation that amazed me during my first week here. Features ‘Trash Town‘ and ‘Water Valley‘, are longer term endeavours on the challenges Nepal is facing on security, governance and environmental levels.

For more in-depth coverage, please visit WwW. STIGMATPHOTO.CoM

Sadhu on Shivaratri

Boudha, KTM, Nepal on Lunar New Year Day

Patan Durbar Square

Preparing Buffalo meet

Friends at Sundhara Tole

Sundhara Tea House

Trash Town

Water Valley

Water Valley

Kids at Mahabudha, Patan, Nepal

Rooftop View

Wedding Season in Nepal

Wedding Season in Nepal

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Filed under Diaspora, News, Social gathering, Tibet, Uncategorized

Retro on Rwanda

Commissioned by the Internationalist Foundation (IF), with whom I started to work since the debut in 2006, I am now working on a 3 year project to explore the relationship between Diasporas and Conflicts.  IF’s INFOCON project, “aims to promote a better understanding of how Civil Society Organizations representing Transnational Communities can work on preventing and resolving conflicts in Europe and worldwide.” The Project is financed by the EU and steered by the Internationalist Foundation and and involves several research institutes and CSOs from Belgium, the UK, Canada, Germany, France and the Netherlands. The selected regions of origin are to be studies are Turkey, Kosovo and the Great Lakes region in Africa.

Producing a visual documentary along the research lines as so far proved to be a fascinating and a delicate experience. As a platform, London has been fruitful to explore various angles of this project. Nooruz (Persian New Year) was celebrated a few weeks ago in Trafalgar Square. While not the main purpose of the festivities, the social gathering nevertheless reunited Kurds from many Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria.

Also,  Tuesday the 7th of April will mark 15th year since the Genocide took place in Rwanda. While remaining an understandably highly sensitive issue, a few events will take place in London and elsewhere to commemorate the atrocious anniversary. Survivors Fund (SURF) and Hope Survivors Foundation in collaboration with Amnesty International UK recently held an event for the 15th Anniversary commemoration of the Rwandan genocide. I have also been invited to attend an event organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda on Tuesday to further the work on this aspect of the project.

This is therefore an ongoing photographic project which will cover a larger spectrum and greater number of diasporic communities and actors.

H.E. Claver Gatete Ambassador of Rwanda to the UK, Ireland and the Nordic Countries

H.E. Claver Gatete Ambassador of Rwanda to the UK, Ireland and the Nordic Countries

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From Ravers to Riots: street vision of the G20 protests

***Update on last photo. Ian Tomlinson, the man who died at the G20 protest initially of an unrelated cause, was caught on tape being hit and pushed by the police for no apparent reason, minutes before he died.  A video footage released by the Guardian poses serious questions on police intervention techniques and motivations on Mr. Tomlinson. ***

The first of April hasn’t fooled the London Transport and Metropolitan Police nor the broader law enforcement teams in London.

Readied for mayhem on the streets of London, the enforcement agencies of the Capital City were prepared to intervene and contain the thousands of protesters that flocked to the streets, a day before the world leaders met at for the London Summit / G20 in the UK. Some violence has been reported, as expected:  RBS was stormed in the afternoon, windows broken, rubbish fires lit up in the streets, graffiti on walls, but also music, tam tam jam and the sustained smell of hops and herbs in the air.

Pick your protest: With several protests going on at the same time, raging against climate change, the economic crisis, poverty, war and many other societal sins, the pick was hard for citizens to demonstrate. However numerous the protests were, the police enforcement forces had been deployed all over the city.

I had the intention to navigate through a few protests, but never had the chance to do so. I started, and ended, in front of the Bank of England. The sun was out and it was a good day for a social gathering of this scale. After the march had reached the square adjacent to the financial institution, the rest of the day was mostly spent walking in circles, hitting, one at a time, a barrage of police officers and riot personnel that would block any issues to the marching groups.  At this point, people could still make their way out of the area at will.

Cowboy Cops: 5pm marked a turning point in the group control techniques. While the protesters were still agitated, not much damage or violence was being perpetrated. Again, this is relative, but compared to the hundreds of shop windows, cars, telephone booth and other public and private goods that the French had mutilated in 2006 during the CPE protest, I was rather surprised to see the main group of protesters yelling at the police and pushing them, while being right next to the unprotected, still immaculate HSBC Bank. This was indicative of the loose ideology, as it often is, that characterised the group cohesion on April 1st. The police kept the protesters, journalists, elders (yes, met a 72 year old couple) and everyone else entrapped for 2 hours not letting anyone out.  The ‘kettle’ technique, consisting of blocking all possible issues hermetically, has been obviously criticized and made the end of the day a nightmare for many. By 8.00PM, the police started letting people out: 1 per minute for an hour. I was able to leave with a more regular flow of people by 9.20PM.

Photos: While the so called ‘anarchist’ make the front pages, I decided to focus some of my attention to various portraits in the crowd and talk to people. Among the many encounters, I met two ‘punks’ (Photo #4) bored out of their minds on the margins of the protests, who were actually from Oxford and on their way to the British Museum to see the Shah ‘Abbas exhibit. How deceiving can the appearances be. Some of the later photos are slightly graphic. I had a few of those which would probably be well suited for spot news, but decided to cover a wider range of photojournalism on this day.

Personal Nota Bene: Thanks to the scale of the event, the availability of digital equipment of increasing performance and quality,  and maybe to the drive for ‘extreme’ experience,  it seemed that me that their were as many photo/video – graphers as protesters. Biased this opinion surely is but the level had dramatically increased in comparison to 2006, when I covered the riots in France against the CPE, and in Singapore for the IMF/World Bank meetings. Needless to say that the emancipation of social media tools bolsters this growth, which, in my view, can only benefit the profession: Need for new angles, new ideas and new ways of approaching the fast paced world of news.

G20 Protests, Bank of England, London, 1st of April 2009

G20 Protests, Bank of England, London, 1st of April 2009

G20 Protests, Bank of England, London, 1st of April 2009

G20 Protests, Bank of England, London, 1st of April 2009

G20 Protests, Bank of England, London, 1st of April 2009, Well organized protesters had brought some personal entertainment

G20 Protests, Bank of England, London, 1st of April 2009, Well organized protesters had brought some personal entertainment

G20 Protests, Bank of England, London, 1st of April 2009

G20 Protests, Bank of England, London, 1st of April 2009

The Police used the 'kettle technique' to contain the masses and 'jail' the demonstrators in the square in front of the Bank of England. Protesters, the press, myself as well as others, who had not taken their chance to leave the area before 4.30PM found themselves imprisoned there until 8PM. The MET then decided to let people out [...] at a rate of one person a minute for one hour, to better file them, take photos and interrogate participants. By 9PM, a 'normal' flow outwards had begun.

The Police used the 'kettle technique' to contain the masses and 'jail' the demonstrators in front of the Bank of England.

G20 Protests, Bank of England, London, 1st of April 2009,

G20 Protests, Bank of England, London, 1st of April 2009

G20 Protests, Bank of England, London, 1st of April 2009, while rather peaceful as a whole, some protesters had a try at the rather robust police equipment, and their less so robust patience

G20 Protests, Bank of England, London, 1st of April 2009, while rather peaceful as a whole, some protesters had a try at the rather robust police equipment, and their less so robust patience

G20 Protests, Bank of England, London, 1st of April 2009: badly hurt person. One person died at the manifestations. The cause of the death is not directly linked with the cash between the police and protesters.

G20 Protests, Bank of England, London, 1st of April 2009: badly hurt person. One person died at the manifestations. The cause of the death is not directly linked with the clash between the police and protesters***.

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Filed under Finance, London, News, Protest, Social gathering

Archives – IMF World Bank – Singapore 2006

This blog has provided me with the opportunity to revisit my ‘somewhat’ organized archives of the past 5 years working as a professional (aka paid) photojournalist.

This series is a comeback on the 61st Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (WB), held in Singapore from the 11ht to the 16th of September 2006. A record number of over 20,000 delegates and about 300 finance ministers attended. With the high rollers of international finance gathered in aseptic Singapore, many CSO members and listed protesters were banned from entering the country or were never delivered an entry visa. Many held protests and demonstrations in neighbouring Indonesia, in a sidelined CSO summit.

Photo caption: Coming to this finance festival with a certain amount of scepticism towards the while venture, this photo of Paul Wolfowitz was taken in a conference on fighting corruption, […] It is widely documented that He had made the fight against corruption a foremost objective while in post at the WB. Wolfowitz resigned from the WB after allegations of ‘patronage’ over a disproportionate salary increase accorded to Shaha Ali Riza, at the time involved in an extramarital  relationship with Wolfowitz.

Paul Wolfowitz

Paul Wolfowitz

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HE Masoud Barzani, President, Kurdistan Region, Iraq

President Barzani spoke at the London based think-thank Chatham House on March the 12th, 2009. His talk covered a wide array of topic related to the relatively stable Kurd region of Iraq. Besides the aspirations to independence of the region, a good number of questions from the audience were directed, not so surprisingly, towards the potential of oil extraction from Kirkuk (كه‌ركووك, كركوك). The Baba Gurgur oil field near Kirkuk currently produces 1 million barrel per day, accounting for an important part of Iraqi oil export.

HE Masoud Barzani was elected the first president of the Kurdistan Region by the Kurdistan National Assembly in June 2005 and has been leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party since 1979.

FT Readers waiting for HE President Barzani to arrive

Over my shoulder: FT Readers waiting for HE President Barzani to arrive

HE President Barzani

HE President Masoud Barzani

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Filed under Iraq, Kurdistan, Leader, London, News, Politics, President