Lateral Thinkers in Germany

Photography and text by Cassiel Kanter

In Germany, people have been protesting against the corona measures of the federal government for more than a year. In terms of content, the spectrum ranges from citizens who want to point out the importance of the fundamental right of assembly to vaccination opponents, esoterics, general sceptics of the state and conspiracy theorists. Right-wing extremists and “Reichsbüger” can also be found at the demonstrations. The inner core of the “Querdenker” scene is monitored by the German domestic intelligence service, among other things because of overlaps with the extreme right-wing scene. The official goal of the in Germany called “Querdenker” is the unrestricted restoration of the currently partially restricted basic rights: “We insist on the first 20 articles of our constitution”, they say in a one-page manifesto. These are, in particular, the abolition of the restrictions on fundamental rights imposed by the “Corona Ordinance”. At moment, the situation in Germany is calming down, as more and more people are being vaccinated and the pandemic is hopefully moving towards its end.

Cassiel Kanter
Insta: cassielkanterphoto
twitter: MartinStopsel

All photos copyright ©Cassiel Kanter

Syria, 10 years of war and spring never came

By Flor Castaneda

It’s your turn, Doctor! These words written by some teenagers on the walls of a school under the euphoria that the Arab Springs unleashed, was the beginning of one of the greatest humanitarian crises in all of History.

 It is 10 years of a war in which foreign powers, terrorist groups and the government of Bashar Al-Ássad have systematically torn and destroyed the most valuable thing in millenary Syria, its people.  This war has already tainted half the term of Assad, who has been in power for 20 years.

 Until 2020, more than 387,118 people have died and 205,300 disappeared, 32 attacks with chemical weapons and more than 12 thousand dead children, this last decade sounds more like a genocide perpetrated by his own government.

 Surviving extremist groups such as ISIS, chemical attacks and growing poverty, has triggered that almost half of the country’s population has fled, 6.7 million are internally displaced and another 5.6 million are abroad, the latter  It has caused tensions in countries close to Syria such as Lebanon and Turkey and Islamophobia in Western countries.

 Beyond the coldness of the numbers, there is the harsh reality of those who could not leave Syria and survive among ruins waiting for the days of peace, of those who had to sell their possessions to save themselves, ending up stuck in nearby countries where they have to beg for money or food without receiving any kind of help as they do not have refugee status, of children walking the streets of Tripoli in Lebanon selling cookies and prostituting themselves to locals and travelers to earn a living, of women who give birth in the worst  conditions, of men who were not combatants but were wounded when trying to flee and cannot work to support their own.

 One thing is real and obvious, the Syrian people with the bleeding wound of a decade of war led by the only dictator who survived the Arab Spring, hope to return to their land and rebuild it.

 Syria sleeps scattered among tents while dying among ruins, famine and chemical weapons, Syria has a smile mixed with a lost look from longing for so much, from praying that perhaps one day the war will end.

Flor Castaneda
Insta: florc_84

All photos copyrighted ©Flor Castaneda

REVEL & REVOLT

Revel & Revolt is a new photo book by Beau Patrick Coulon, a co-edition with Burn Barrel Press and Defend New Orleans’ imprint: DNO books. Coulon presents his straightforward-yet-personal visual documentation of protests, parades, and the punk scene in New Orleans from 2013 to 2020. 

‘Revel & Revolt’ photobook could not be materialised in such a powerful visual documentation if it wasn’t for the incredible talent and the lived experience that Beau holds. The photo book allows you to view the subjects’ s moments of anger, sadness, bliss with an openness, direct and unaffected manner that only a photographer with a real understanding and connection with the world that they inhabit may have. Beau’s journey to photography has been an interesting one. He was born in Hollywood and he spent much of his childhood between California, Florida, and Oklahoma. At 13, he moved out of his mom’s apartment to live on the streets with punks he met on Hollywood Blvd while skipping school.

Coulon travelled across the country by freight train and lived among a network of derelict squats, punk houses, collectives, and DIY art spaces. He first arrived in New Orleans in the mid-90s and found work that ranged from seasonal farming, doing demolition, pouring concrete to framing. These experiences gave him an unparalleled view of life and an understanding of class struggles and nomadic living.

Coulon’s life is different today however his photographs speak of the past, transitional living and of history that reminds us all of struggle and fortitude, beauty and despair.


Beau Patrick Coulon
https://www.beaupatrickcoulon.com/

Revel & Revolt photobook info:

Revel & Revolt

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All photos copyrighted ©Beau Patrick Coulon

There is still time…

Flaviana Frascogna

This is an ongoing work on adolescents who spared the physical consequences of Covid-19 but not its psychological fallout. Younger people are living in a constant state of alarm that is changing their way of approaching life, due to both the restrictions applied to contain the contagion and the continuous exposure to the fear of death and of disease which could lead to a worsening of anxiety and depression.

The quarantine and the containment measures denied to young people the opportunity to socialize, except through technological channels that cannot replace the real world, neglecting the fragility that is typical of this age.

The project consists of a series of portraits and pictures of places and details of the adolescents’ world. I am asking each subject to answer two questions:

– What do you need?

– What are you afraid of?

I am collecting these answers with audio files in order to in order to associate them to the pictures.

Francesca, 22 years old

I am a very rational person and I have had so many difficulties during my growth to try to get rid of all the emotions I feel and that I always tend to hide. I believe that although in some people the virus doesn’t physically settle, it is as if we were all having it and this brought me moods. Often I feel like crying, I feel sad in some moments. I’m aware that these things derive from an anxiety that the virus created in me and that it isn’t something true. The need I have is to regain possession of those true emotions that I felt before and I was able to manifest that now I don’t feel to be part of me. I‘m afraid of getting used to this new reality that in some ways I could define “more comfortable” for me. It is important not to forget that a video call with a friend can never replace a walk and a four-eyed chat. The pace of life that we have assumed is poor in commitments, comparisons and I am afraid of being trapped in this reality. We must remember that this is an extraordinary situation and it scares me to think that I will not be able to face life anymore”.

Francesca, 22 years old
Ines, 19 years old

“The thing I fear most is perhaps the distrust and the state of insecurity in which we find ourselves. I don’t know what is really going on around us and I find myself suddenly disconnected from the rest of the world. We find ourselves in a situation in which we are no longer given the opportunity to think of anything other than the contagion of Covid-19. The thing I need most is the contact with people already known and new people. I need to know and explore the world and meet new people. This is what I miss most about life before Covid -19″.

Ines, 19 years old
Viola, 18 years old

“With the quarantine I solved a lot of problems I had with myself. I was afraid of loneliness, now not anymore. But I’m starting to be colder and more apathetic in good relationships with people. I don’t want to talk to anyone, to face serious conversations with people except with those few that I want to hear every day. I am afraid that these sensations could mark my future ”.

Viola, 18 years old
Saya, 16 years old

“I have never been a model student but the school marked my days. Now I feel lost. Following the online lessons I think my life is much more chaotic. I’m afraid of the quarantine. The thought of not being able to go out when I want makes me feel very bad.”

Saya, 16 years old
Dafne, 20 years old

“The thing I need is certainty. I have only anxieties and anguish. I don’t know what job I will be able to do when I finish my studies. I am always in the same place and my life has become very monotonous. I need to go to new places, to do different activities, to meet new people.”

Dafne, 20 years old
Fabrizio, 16 years old

“My biggest concern is knowing nothing about when we will return to normal life, to the life I knew. And if everything will be the same. I need to get out of the house, to see my friends, to go to school. In short, I need to live.”

Fabrizio, 16 years old

Flaviana Frascogna
http://www.flavianafrascogna.com/
https://www.instagram.com/flavianafrascogna/

Children: The forgotten future of Kashmir

Photos & text by Mubashir Hassan

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©Mubashir Hassan

Kashmir in the last 30 years has been reduced to a land of pain and misery with thousands dead, disappeared, raped, detained and tortured. When an anti-India insurgency began in 1989, the mighty forces that India employed here crushed the rebellion. Since then more than 90,000 people have died and 8,000are disappeared.

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©Mubashir Hassan

The ongoing conflict mounted scars not only on the adults but the new generation. The young children’s were badly affected with hundreds killed, thousands blinded, amputated bodies, and detained in Indian jails.

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©Mubashir Hassan

With more than half a million Indian troops stationed, Kashmir has the distinction of being the most heavily militarized zone in the world. The Indian forces enjoy special powers under laws such as the Armed Forces special Powers Act (AFSPA) that gives them immunity and impunity to arrest or kill anyone on mere suspicion, without the fear of facing legal action.

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©Mubashir Hassan

The turmoil has devastated an entire generation. People have gone through worst in these turbulent times. The story is all about the Children’s who are the Future of Kashmir and a yearning of new generation to live a life of peace and dignity.

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©Mubashir Hassan

The images shot by me are somehow my own childhood experiences, as I grew in such condition seeing things periodically right from the time when rebellion broke out in Kashmir.

Mubashir Hassan
Mubashir Hassan is a freelance photojournalist based in Kashmir valley, India. For the past six year, Mubashir has covered many stories on politics, conflict, human rights violations, as well as day to day life, art, culture and architecture. He is available for assignments.

On the project
‘Children: The forgotten future of Kashmir’ is an ongoing project by photojournalist Mubashir Hassan that focuses on the children living under the conflicted area of Kashmir valley. It documents the impact that the conflict has on their lives; from being physically maimed, psychologically traumatised and deprived of a future. ‘Children: The forgotten future of Kashmir’ is a personal project. It is an important story that needs to be seen and told. If you would like to support Mubashir, please be in touch with him. He is looking for commissions, representation and/or donations, which albeit small would make a huge difference for him. You can get in touch with Mubashir directly on:

Mubashir Hassan
T: +91-   9622663411
E: mubashirhassanpj@gmail.com
Insta: mubashirhassan_images

Jimmy’s Story

Photos & Text by Mattea McKinnon

Nestled in the countryside, just beyond the dust and chaos of Siem Reap’s tourist traps and frantic
roads, is the village Prima. Here, one man has committed his life to improving the future of his local
community members, neighbours and friends.

Despite its booming tourism, Siem Reap remains one of the poorest provinces in Cambodia, with 45% of the population living under the poverty line. There’s a clear divide between the flashy hotels and packed restaurants of the vibrant cities, to the bumpy roads and fruit stalls of the neighbouring villages.

And it’s there, down a chewed up dusty path, burnt orange in colour, surrounded by wooden huts and cows chomping lazily in the fields beside them, that you’ll find Jimmy Chan.

Born into poverty in 1987, Jimmy’s life started tough. Cambodia was still plagued by misery and war as it continued struggling to recover from the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. The radical communist
movement resulted in the killing of around two million people between 1972 and 1975. He grew up witnessing the damage done to his country and the hardship it caused for his family and
those around him in Prima. He saw how poor the quality of teaching was and noticed how quickly
children from rural areas like his were falling behind. ‘After the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia didn’t have any more educated people,’ he says. ‘All the academics were killed.’ Jimmy made it his goal to do something to improve this situation. He says, ‘My aim is to help to change this country step by step, through education.’ He decided to start teaching English to children growing up in circumstances very similar to his own in a bid to offer them a better future.

He says, despite being hungry to learn, that these children face a multitude of obstacles in their search for education, ‘They come from a very poor background and the village schools aren’t a good standard. They don’t have a lot of free time as many of them have housework, siblings and animals to tend to.’ Many of the families in his village and surrounding communities can’t afford the materials to send their children to school, so they are forced to take them out of education at an early age.

‘Most people here work as fishermen or farmers. Some people are earning just a dollar a day,’ Jimmy
explained, ‘I’m trying to give everyone a chance.’ And since 2011, that chance has been seized by more and more people. Today, Jimmy teaches free of charge to 150 students over 6 nights a week from his classroom setup in his Mother’s backyard. It’s cramped, sweaty and there aren’t quite enough chairs for all of the students. Nobody seems to mind, however, with some keen beans even sitting cross-legged on the floor at the front in a bid to soak in every word of his lesson.

His first class is full of little ones, with kids as young as three venturing across the fields on their trikes to learn. Even at that age, their eagerness and happiness to be there is clear; a stark contrast to many students in Western schools today. As the night draws in, hundreds of bugs creep from out of the shadows and buzz around the flickering florescent light bulb hanging from the ceiling. The children aren’t phased. They stay engaged on their teacher, nonchalantly pulling flying beetles out of their hair while they absorb the information.
Jimmy draws on his own experiences in the hopes of opening their eyes to the possibilities education can offer them. Like many of his students, he didn’t have the funds to attend a top international school in the city but this didn’t deter him from wanting to succeed and become a fluent English speaker.

‘During the day when I was younger, I cycled to Angkor Wat temple to practice my English
with foreigners. At night I went to the city to speak with the international tourists,’ he says.
And it’s clear that determination and work ethic are still a driving force within him today. ‘I work every day as a tuk-tuk driver and tour guide from morning until evening before class. I normally wake up at 5am every day but sometimes before 3am for the sunrise tours’.

Jimmy’s efforts are paying off, having obtained a bachelor degree in English as a Foreign Language
and Teaching, his school is now on its way to being a state recognised institution. His message is clear: you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it and study hard. 

Back in the classroom, the air is thick with a mixture of humidity, hope and determination. The students are given an opportunity to come to the front and practice speaking to the class. Their efforts cause ripples of laughter, but it doesn’t stop them. They’re happy and grateful to be there.

One of the boys, aged 13, is headed for a scholarship to a top international school in the city. His
English is exceptional, making it easy to ask him what he thinks of the school and it’s teacher.
‘Jimmy’s a great teacher,’ he says. ‘He’s an inspiration to us all.’ When questioned on whether he thinks he’ll be able to stay on this path and get to where he’s headed, his answer is entirely relatable and, for a moment, he could be any kid, from anywhere in the world. ‘I hope so but I need to study harder and spend less time playing volleyball and football with friends’.

This wouldn’t be the first success story to come out of Jimmy’s school, though. One of his former pupils, Tida, who studied with him for four years, is currently at a university in Phnom Penh, the countries capital. She received a scholarship to study there and is working towards becoming the successful businesswoman she always dreamed of being.

Many of Jimmy’s students have the same or similar career hopes. During the class, students talk about their aspirations, with jobs such as lawyers, doctors, teachers, architects and hotel managers among the most popular.  And as they head home at the end of the evening with another night of English lessons under their belts, they can be confident that they’re one step closer to their shot at that scholarship, degree or job.
With his work down for the night, Jimmy heads down the road a little way, towards a two-storey concrete building which stands out amongst the huts and fields of Prima, not only because of it’s size, but also it’s colour; it’s painted violet. ‘This is the new school,’ Jimmy explains. ‘After a long time dreaming, it eventually became a reality. This new building has better facilities and will offer the chance to study English, Maths, Khmer and life skills.’ It’s a result of funding and fundraising from the international friends he has made over the years. After all he’s done for his community through teaching and charity work, such as helping to install water filters and paying for street lamps to light the way home for his students, it seems only fitting he be supported in this way.

But he remains humble, saying, ‘I’m so grateful for all the help we’ve received.’His gratitude and warmth are typical of the Khmer people. Despite their circumstances, they demonstrate a powerful resilience and maintain a reputation for being positive and welcoming.

Jimmy is the epitome of this, manifesting hope and spreading a belief that, no matter how the cards are dealt, your situation can get better. He incorporates this message into every one of his classes through a simple statement, repeated in cheers by him and his students: “Education will change your life”. It’s a lesson we’d all do well to remember.

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Website:www.matteamckinnon
Instagram: @mission.human and @missionmagic
Email: matteamckinnonphoto@gmail.com

Covid-19 in Belgrade, Serbia

Una Skandro

Belgrade is the capital of Serbia, located in the Western Balkans. As everywhere in the world, it is prescribed to wear a mask. This, to me as a photographer, is an historical film moment. And so I decided to make a photo film story for him in which the main actor is a mask. The photos were taken after 45 days of quarantine. On my instagram page whose link I put in the email you can see the whole story about Covid -19 in Belgrade.

The biggest social injustice during the quarantine was that we were closed for four days every week for 24 hours. After 45 days of such a life, I can freely say that people were lost when their right to free movement was finally restored. On the other hand, everyone tried in their own way to adhere to social distances and protection measures. Freedom of movement was restored to us, but again we were all alone. – Una Skandro

Una Skandro
https://tismaskandro.wixsite.com/tismaskandro
#tismaskandrophotography
@SkandroTisma

Dear His Majesty

Avishkar Chhetri

After an arbitrary census was held in Bhutan (1989), the government of Bhutan displaced approximately 100,000 Southern Bhutanese (Lhotshampas) out of Bhutan. There are several explanations for the expulsion/displacement as well as the conflict between the Lhotshampa and the Northern government, which a series of protests in the late 80s were held within the country against the government’s repressive ‘One Nation One People’ policy; illegalising Nepali/Lhotshampa cultural practices under the social code of conduct: Driglam Namzha.
After the initial civil unrest in 1991, thousands of Lhotshampa Bhutanese arrived at the border of in Eastern Nepal from West Bengal, India by foot and trucks. By the mid-1990s these Bhutanese refugees had increased to the rough estimates of 100,000 individuals. As a response to the crisis after conflict with the continuously collapsing Nepali government, Bhutanese officials stated the Bhutanese refugees were, in fact, opportunistic economic-migrants rather than vulnerable refugees they self-claim to be. Thus the Bhutanese government has not repatriated the refugees.
Since their exodus, individuals have reports of torture, murder, arrests and rapes during the late 80s to early 90s in Bhutan. Furthermore, many of the individuals have remained as refugees within Eastern Nepal or India for over two decades to either look for repatriation or simply to find peaceful residency in their refuge. Whereas many refugees have resettled into third-nations to find a better life from their traumatic experiences.
As of today the Bhutanese government has not repatriate the displaced group in totality and continues to deny the legitimacy of their vulnerability and refugee status. As a consequence of lack of pictorial evidence, caused by the unavailability of video, photo or audio records, there is little evidence of the events that lead to the exodus other than personal accounts, and it remains a serious question of Bhutan’s dark past in isolation from the rest of the world.
All information here is based on the accounts of the government of Bhutan, the international communities, third-party witnesses, refugees and scholars. Any misinformation presented on this website will be removed as appropriate.

Avishkar Chhetri
http://theperipheralpeople.com/

Speak Out

Wamaitha Ng’ang’a

‘Speak Out’ is an ongoing photography project on women, survivors of domestic violence. Following the changes in in the UK of the 2013 legislation on domestic violence, where the definition of ‘domestic violence’  broadened to encompass different types of abuses, including financial, physical, psychological, sexual or emotional, the project ‘Speak Out’ highlights and raises awareness of those layers to many women in order for them to access a much needed help. Domestic abuse still remains a taboo across many cultures.  Through her photographic project. Wamaitha brings to light the voices of women who have taken a stand and broken the silence about their personal experiences of domestic abuse and its devastating effects – and the journey to move forward, not as victims but survivors.  Wamaitha will speak about the ‘Speak Out’ project on the 4th February 2019 in the next Photojournalism Hub Debate event.

Lenka ©Wamaitha Ng’ang’a 
“The question of ‘why doesn’t she leave the abusive relationship’ is not easy as it sounds. You become mentally dependent on that person” —– Lenka
Nadine ©Wamaitha Ng’ang’a
“When you are a victim of psychological domestic violence, there is nothing to show.” — Nadine

Wamaitha Ng’ang’a
www.wamaithanganga.com