Documentary Photography

Documentary photography is a vital tool to communicate an injustice, a social problem, or other current issues.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

What is Genocide?

Many people in our world still ask:

"What is Genocide?"

Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial, or religious group such as:

* Killing members of the group.
* Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.
* Deliberately inflicting conditions calculated to bring about it's physical        
* Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.
* Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Genocide does not only involve direct violence. It can involve creating conditions -such as starvation- that will kill people. It is usually committed by a government or a group of individuals with political power.
Article II
  of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Hereros 1904 - 1905
Armenians 1915 - 1918
Holocaust 1939 - 1945
Cambodia 1975 - 1979
Bosnia 1992 - 1995
Rwanda 1994
Darfur 2003 - TODAY

 Why did the world say "NEVER AGAIN" after the Holocaust then 4 more genocides????                    

       For Life.        
Are humans beings so ignorant, and selfish, that because it is not happening to them we ignore it. This is a shame to the entire Human Race. Governments call it Civil War between tribes, and take no responsibility. So many labels.......and when it is finally recognized as Genocide, the damage has been done, and it's irreversible. The women and children suffer for generations, physically, and emotionally. Rape is a weapon of war, or genocide. Inhumane torture, unimaginable to most people in America.

The Eastern Congo has not been considered genocide, but,  crimes against humanity.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) defines
crimes against humanity as:
  • murder
  • extermination
  • enslavement
  • forcible transfer of population
  • imprisonment in violation of international law
  • torture
  • rape
  • persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity
  • forced disappearances
  • apartheid
  • inhumane acts which intentionally cause great suffering or serious injury when they are:
    "committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack." 
The same torture and horrific crimes of rape as a weapon of war are being used. Roughly 3.8 million people die in a series of conflicts between the country’s corrupt, ineffectual government and armed rebels, as citizens are exploited and national resources are plundered from various outside forces. Since December, 15, 508 newly displaced people have been registered at dozens of camps, bringing the total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the 47 UNHCR-run sites in the region to 116,000.
At least 200,000 cases of sexual violence have been recorded in eastern DRC since 1996, according to the UN. Across the country, an estimated 2.1 million people have been displaced by conflict, including about 538,880 in South Kivu Province and 1,130,000 in North Kivu. 

Women in the Congo

Darfur is our current genocide, by most countries, the United States agrees it is a genocide. The Arab Muslims want to rid the country of the Black Muslims.  President Omar al Bashir of Sudan denies his army is killing people or that he is involved with the Janjaweed.  His land is filled with oil, value to some countries denying genocide. He lies, steal's from his people as they are starving and 2.5 million have fled to IDP's Camps in Chad. He's wanted  for war crimes against humanity, pillaging villages, raping, women, girls and boys. We the people, can put enough pressure, by writing letters, signing petitions and speaking, tell your neighbors and friends to get involved.  Stop the violence.  This is a very dangerous man, and he must be locked up forever, or given a sex change and sent back to his own country as a woman. I like that one very much.

Tibet has been suffering from crimes against humanity.  Not considered genocide, Monks tortured, women raped with electric cattle prods. These peaceful, nonviolent people, have been brutalized because they would not denounce the Dalai Lama.

                                            Honoring the 14th Dalai Lama                    

                                                                  17th Karmapa Lama

                                                            Monasteries destroyed

China's government, big country, lots of economic value to the world. So we just turn away and pretend it's not happening. Wake up Governments, do something to STOP the VIOLENCE. Why did you lie to us when you said "NEVER AGAIN"? The most powerful people in the world can stop this, but, they sit at big tables, talking, having expensive dinners, and wine. Then they comprise, they make a deal, no solution. They are a part of the problem not the solution. We NEED a solution, we WANT a solution, there MUST be a solution. With any problem there IS a solution, it's called take ACTION.
So WE the people need to take the action to pressure our Governments. Write letters, call congress men and women, senators, and not with violence, but non violence. Ghandi changed a country, with non violence. He died for it, but he died in peace. I would prefer to die in peace, than violence. As a global community WE can make change happen. It's up to us, the people.
Our voices are the solution!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Changing the title

This blog was going called Congo in conflict. But I have seen so many women, men and countries come together in the past 2 weeks to help Haiti. Tonight I attended a fund raiser organized by Partner's in Health founded by Dr. Paul Farmer, he flew to Haiti, immediately after the Earthquake but his wife Didi who is Haitian stayed here and organized a fund raiser at a local restaurant called Heaven, owned by Alisha and Josh Ruxin. It was well attended, the American Ambassador, spoke so graciously, with compassion and genuine concern for the people of Haiti.
There is a small community of Haitians in Rwanda mostly at PHI. It was so wonderful to see so many friends old and new come together to help another country. Rwanda is a very small country in Africa, with many issues of poverty and education. But in times of devastation it is there to help others in need. So I thought the name Countries Unite is an appropriate name.
Founded by Dr. Paul Farmer: The PIH hospital in Haiti provides free treatment to patients. PIH helps patients living in poverty to obtain effective drugs to treat tuberculosis and AIDS. Dr. farmer and his wife Didi currently reside in Rwanda, although Dr. Farmer is now in Haiti.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jane " Rest in Peace"

Tuesday was different.  My good friend Freddy 36 years old, his daughter Kellia 8 years old, family, loved ones and friends attended the Memorial Service for his beautiful wife Jane 33 years old who died Jan. 5, 2010 of Leukemia.   Jane had been ill in and out of the hospital since last Spring but was not diagnosed with Leukemia until Dec. 30, 2009.  Her burial was Friday Jan. 9, 2010.  I was flying to Rwanda that day. I did attend the  Memorial Service and photographed for the family.  The church was packed inside and out, she was loved by many and will be missed greatly.

My personal experience with Jane is one that I will never forget. Freddy and Jane invited me to stay with them at their home in Ruhengeri (Musanze) in 2008. I stayed at their home for 5 days.  They turned me on to real home cooked Rwandan food, it was delicious.  Jane would ask me "When do you want to bathe?" I would respond "Oh maybe half an hour." I did not realize she wanted to know so she could heat the water for a hot bath.  We laughed, played, and had a lot of fun together.   We took photos, and one of the reasons I love being a photographer is I was able to capture beautiful portraits of Jane and Kellia.  The evenings were cooler, Jane loaned me a shawl, when I left she wanted me to keep the shawl to stay warm on cool nights.  I feel draped in her love, wearing her shawl, which I have wore many times since, and brought back to Rwanda. Her sharing and love will always be, as that is who Jane is. She loved her daughter Kellia and was a wonderful mother. She loved and is devoted to her Freddy, and I know her family and friends will miss her, but always remember her love, loyalty and devotion to her family, friends, old ones and even a stranger.  She gave me a room in her home, fed me, warmed my bath water, and kept me warm.  She is the kind of woman I aspire to be.  May you rest in Peace, you will never be forgotten.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rwanda Helps with Haiti's Disaster

I arrived in Kigali, Rwanda on Saturday Jan. 9, 2010 in the evening with all my luggage. Returning to this beautiful country, progression in the cities, with poverty and oppression still in the rural areas.

After two days here, a horrific earthquake turns Port au Prince, Haiti, into rubble, with thousands of dead bodies and missing loved ones. My prayers and thoughts are with these people that have needed political change and support for many years. I would have gone to Haiti, to help in any way I could, if I wasn't here.

I'm sure my good friend, and island mother, Caroll Sirhakis is heartbroken, as Haiti was her love and second home. I hope her friends and loved ones survived. My thoughts are with you Caroll.

Rwanda a small country in Africa with much poverty donated $100,000 USD to help Haiti. That says a lot about this country, that will reach out to help others in need. There will be a fund raiser this Friday night for Haiti. I will attend and have a couple of images printed for the auction.