reportage

Transmigrations was shot in Africa, following the route taken for one of the most epic journeys of human migration. From the dusty roads of the Atlantic coast to the ancient town of Agadez in Niger, this path crosses the emptiness of the Sahara Desert to the Mediterranean shores of Libya. A long, exhausting journey, that can take many months, peppered with dangers and setbacks which fail to dissuade thousands of young Africans from undertaking it. This migratory route passes through countries that over the past few years have seen a succession of wars, armed revolts and Al Quaeda infiltrations. In spite of these problems, the number of migrants setting off each month in search of work, urged by the unique, albeit remote, hope of reaching Europe has not faltered. Before the beginning of the war in 2011 over one million citizens of sub-Sahara Africa were present in Libya – a huge number, especially compared with the almost 70.000 migrants who landed on Italian shores from 2008-2009, the years of their greatest influx. It is estimated that 12% of all those who set sail from the African coast die during the crossing. 
Transmigrations tells the stories of these migrants and especially of the “stranded”, i.e., those who, having run out of money or lost the cash needed to continue their journey, are forced to work, often in slave-like conditions, hoping that their master will soon give them enough money to set off again. 

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LAND GRABBING OR LAND TO INVESTORS?

Land Grabbing is not new. Companies from wealthy countries have always sought low-cost land for agricultural production. Today, governments allocate funds to domestic companies that wish to invest in land overseas. Governments did not provide this type of financial support for much of the last century, but are doing so now in a manner that is reminiscent of colonial practices. In 2007, after the subprime crisis, capital moved to food commodity markets and prices increased. The price rally coincided with a decrease in exports from some food producing countries. Countries that historically have been vulnerable to these fluctuations sought new food security strategies. The Arab states were the first to move, followed closely by others seeking new and profitable business ventures. The financial risk to the companies involved in Land Grabbing is almost nonexistent. Governments, motivated by food security concerns, allocate the initial funds to be invested overseas. The EU provides funding to other companies that will produce materials overseas that make it possible to comply with EU “green policies” for biofuel production. The World Bank and the IMF also provide companies with funding, and insurance can be purchased against loss that may result from stability issues in the country where the funds are invested. These land use decisions are made far away from the land itself, and even further from the people whose lives and livelihoods are rooted in the land. It was only natural to investigate these issues in Ethiopia as it is a country where more than six million people survive on UN food aid, while it exports agricultural products cultivated on land leased to foreign investors. A paradox.

The gallery contains a selection of images taken at the beginning of the Libyan revolt on 17th February.

At the end of March 2011, together with a CNN troupe and two journalist colleagues I reached Misrata on board a Libyan fishing boat sailing from Malta. We were the first foreign correspondents to document the siege of the city, that by then had been going on for 80 days.

Other pictures and videos can be seen here: http://vimeo.com/24586379

The American Student Movement today

Following the People of Seattle and Occupy Wall Street the American Student Movement regrouped around a new focus. Issues of racism, human and civil rights in the work arena, immigration rights, resistance against police brutality, the atrocious conditions of the private jail system, and the environmental and climate change discourse take center stage. The Movement has a coral voice and strong names: Black Lives Matter, Stop Mass Incarceration, October 22 nd  Coalition to stop Police Brutality, Fight for $15, Dreamers, EarthMatters @ NYU .
The report follows the three-day protest in New York city on October 22 nd -24 th  2015 organized by Stop Mass Incarceration and October 22 nd  Coalition to stop Police Brutality, searches for the new voices of the student movement today, looking to locate its future leaders, and for a possible parallel with the elder members of the Movement of the ’60s who still commit to political militancy. Does the movement have a strong plan? Is it as powerful and consequential as it is purposeful? 
Former Black Panther member, writer, director, and professor Jamal Joseph; writer, political activist and former president of the Students for a Democratic Society Prof. Todd Gitlin; writer, critic, and musician Greg Tate; political activist and public speaker Carl Dix; journalist and writer Alberto Vourvoulias, and members of the University student body answer these questions.

Libyan uprising, 17th February revolution, Benghazi, Misrata, arab spring, Libyan civil war, Gaddafi, BBC, CNN, Frederik Pleitgen, Manu Brabo, Ricardo Garcia Villanova, James Foley, Anton Hammerl, Clare Morgana Gillis.

This series of images was taken on assignment as a BBC Media affiliate in the early days of the Libyan uprising. When the NATO coalition began to bomb Gaddafi's forces, hundreds of foreign correspondents made their way to Benghazi to report on the situation there.  The correspondents stayed primarily at three hotels: the Tibetsi, the Uzu, and the Nouran.  Despite attacks by Gaddafi loyalists at the Uzu and the Nouran, the correspondents, and the freelancers in particular, continued with their work.



With the outbreak of the war in Libya about one and a half million sub-sahara Africans who have been working there for the last few years decide to leave. Some retrace their footsteps across the desert or head for bordering countries, others board the so-called “boats of hope”. The Italian coasts are the nearest, and the boats arrive fast and furious, the thousands of refugees forcing the government to take emergency measures, such as temporary confiscation of tourist receptive structures to provide them with interim accommodation.  This is how the marine colony Pio XII of Bibione, Venice, built after the war to accommodate the Pirelli employees’ families, finds itself welcoming 50 Africans fleeing from the war and hoping to obtain any kind of humanitarian status that will mean they can stay in Italy.

 

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MONLAN SILK ROAD

Set in accordance with the lunar calendar, the Monlam is the great prayer festival of Tibetan Buddhism. Celebrations begin three days after the end of the year and continue for four days with sacred dances, blessings and processions. The main ceremony consists in the unrolling of the holy Thangka on the hillside across the Labrang monastery in the presence of the third most important lama, the Jiamuyang, who resides in the monastery. Labrang is the biggest centre for Tibetan prayer within China. It was built at the end of the 1600's in the city of Xiahe, 2920 metres a.s.l. During Monlam, tens of thousands of pilgrims pour into the city to take part in the processions and practise “ciack”, a traditional Tibetan form of prostration performed around the three km perimeter of the monastery. Participant’s arms and legs are completely stretched out, foreheads touch the ground, then they rise, first to their knees and then to their feet with their hands united, only to repeat the prostration again and again, reciting the holy mantra “Om mani padne hum”. Originating in India, Buddhism spread here around the third century A.D., reaching the arid areas in the north of the country through the ancient Silk Road. Founded more than two thousand years ago on the banks of the Yellow River, three hundred km to the north of Labrang lies the city of Lanzhou, a hub for trade from the north-east. Almost 1500 km north, is Dunhuang, a frontier garrison town of the Great Wall of China, the last oasis for travellers to the West. It is famous for the enormous dunes surrounding it and for the Mogao caves, which served as cells for Buddhist monks. In these fourth century A.D cells, in 1907, archaeologist Aurel Stein found the complete Sutra of the Diamond, dated 11 May 868, the oldest printed text in the world, currently kept in the British Library in London.