Viewing entries tagged
Religion

Islamism on the Kenyan Coast

Islamism on the Kenyan Coast

It has been nearly two weeks since the bloody attacks on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, where militants aligned with Somali Islamists, al-Shabaab, emptied guns and tossed grenades on unsuspecting shoppers. Last night, in Mombasa, a car lay on the side of a road, riddled with bullets and with four bloody corpses inside.

I first met Sheikh Ibrahim Ishmael two days before his killing, in the office of Abubaker Shariff Ahmed—nick-named "Makaburi"—a well-spoken, if not radical, debater who is ...

Segregation

Segregation 

 It was with more than a little trepidation that I took this assignment in Belfast. Not because of “The Troubles” (and I still can’t get over the understatement in this term), but for photographing something that looks so familiar, something so much like where I grew up, and what I took for granted. 

 Since I began making a living out of photography back in January, much of my work has been centred around  events , and all of it in Africa - from Libya, through the Sudans, to Kenya and Somalia. They have been stories of  conflict , of  voting , of  famine and drought . And if I was working on quieter stories, it was still “exotic”; a different scenery, and different peoples, for the largely western audience that views (and buys) my work. 

 Here in Northern Ireland, the terraced houses reminded me of Sheffield. The faces looked the same as those who I grew up with. I wouldn’t have that “safety net” of the exotic on this assignment. 

 I was working with a journalist who I first met in  Libya , as we  crossed the border from Egypt . The story was for a weekend supplement of  Le Monde , and would have roots in a civil war that took place in my own country as I was growing up, but which I realised I knew less about than many other conflicts in other corners of the globe. 

 What shocked me the most were the “Peace Walls”. We talk about—and deplore—the  Israeli wall that separates the  Palestinian Territories  from Israel, segregating two peoples. But these exist in Belfast today. Under the shadow of it, gardens are covered in netting and mesh, resembling small prisons, to protect them from bricks and other missiles thrown over from the opposite side. I had seen the same thing in Hebron. 

 And these are not relics of the past, now that peace talks have brought about a relative calm. People here say that the walls are still needed, to keep two opposing communities apart. Integration is a long way off yet. 

 » Read  Belfast, en paix mais toujours divisée  —  Le Monde des religions  
» See the  tearsheet  in my  portfolio

Segregation

It was with more than a little trepidation that I took this assignment in Belfast. Not because of “The Troubles” (and I still can’t get over the understatement in this term), but for photographing something that looks so familiar, something so much like where I grew up, and what I took for granted.

Since I began making a living out of photography back in January, much of my work has been centred around events, and all of it in Africa - from Libya, through the Sudans, to Kenya and Somalia. They have been stories of conflict, of voting, of famine and drought. And if I was working on quieter stories, it was still “exotic”; a different scenery, and different peoples, for the largely western audience that views (and buys) my work.

Here in Northern Ireland, the terraced houses reminded me of Sheffield. The faces looked the same as those who I grew up with. I wouldn’t have that “safety net” of the exotic on this assignment.

I was working with a journalist who I first met in Libya, as we crossed the border from Egypt. The story was for a weekend supplement of Le Monde, and would have roots in a civil war that took place in my own country as I was growing up, but which I realised I knew less about than many other conflicts in other corners of the globe.

What shocked me the most were the “Peace Walls”. We talk about—and deplore—the Israeli wall that separates the Palestinian Territories from Israel, segregating two peoples. But these exist in Belfast today. Under the shadow of it, gardens are covered in netting and mesh, resembling small prisons, to protect them from bricks and other missiles thrown over from the opposite side. I had seen the same thing in Hebron.

And these are not relics of the past, now that peace talks have brought about a relative calm. People here say that the walls are still needed, to keep two opposing communities apart. Integration is a long way off yet.

» Read Belfast, en paix mais toujours diviséeLe Monde des religions
» See the tearsheet in my portfolio

Sufi Celebrations in Sudan

It is rare to see gatherings such as this in Sudan. But as much of the western world was celebrating St. Valentine’s day, Sudan’s sufis were this year celebrating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.

In Khartoum, in Omdurman and in Bahri—the three cities centred on the confluence of the two Niles—tents were erected and, for Sudan, a carnival atmosphere ensued.

Amid the sellers of traditional sweets, people listened to tales of the Prophet’s life from various Sufi sheikhs, they prayed en-masse, and the dervishes entered trance-like states.

Working on a piece with Simon Martelli for AFP, we were told:

“Some of them feel like their minds are out of their bodies. At this time, they do not feel anything outside. An old man who cannot normally stand for 15 minutes; here he will dance for three of four hours.”

A welcome break from the typical pace of Sudanese life.