For their project, Syria’s Displaced: Regional Implications, Alisa Roth and Hugh Eakin traveled the perimeter of Syria, to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Northern Iraq. They talked to refugees, government officials, NGOs and others about the current situation and possible outcomes for the future.
Tomaso Clavarino, an Italian freelance journalist and photographer, is reporting from Rwanda during the year of the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide. His reporting project, “We Are the Past,” is focused on the survivors of the genocide and especially on those who have suffered amputations and mutilations during the brutal massacre.
As U.S. prepares to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, journalist Jeffrey Stern looks at how the departure is likely to affect the lives of ordinary people. Will the changes introduced over the last decade be lasting? Will civil society thrive? Stern’s project explores the legacy of America’s long war in Afghanistan by chronicling how it ends. He shows how Afghanistan’s vulnerable groups—women, minorities, youth, businesses dependent on the foreign presence—are preparing for an Afghanistan after the withdrawal.
View Jeffrey’s project: Afghanistan: On Its Own
Photojournalist Louie Palu discusses his work along the U.S.-Mexico border. He shares how he became interested in the area, the difficulties that came with reporting there, and what surprised him most. His project, “Drawing the Line: The U.S.-Mexico Border” examines security and immigration issues along the border.
Join us on Wednesday, June 18, for a conversation with award-winning journalist Mellissa Fung on education for women and girls in Afghanistan.
Today, millions of Afghan girls are going to school, compared to none in 2001 under the Taliban — a tremendous accomplishment for a country torn apart by war. Women are also making advances in higher education, politics, and society generally. In 2013, Fung traveled to Afghanistan to explore new threats to education initiatives with the pending departure of U.S. forces from the country.
In her Pulitzer Center-supported project “Facing Fears: Afghanistan on the Brink,” Fung found that Afghans are facing the pullout with increasing trepidation. Will the Taliban sense a vacuum of power and try to turn the country back a dozen years? What will happen to all the hard work done for girls’ education if the security situation deteriorates? What kind of future awaits Afghanistan’s daughters after 2014?
For Fung, the project and her return to Afghanistan came five years after she spent 28 days as a hostage of the Taliban.
Please reserve your seat today: firstname.lastname@example.org—specify in subject line: “June 18 Talks @ Pulitzer.”
Wednesday, June 18
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 615
Washington, DC 20036
Closest Metro: Dupont Circle
The event will be livestreamed using Google Hangout on Air. Watch above (refresh the page if you do not see a video) or on YouTube. Tweet your questions to @pulitzercenter.
This talk is part of a special series of talks @ pulitzer on issues affecting women and children. The series kicked off in April 2014 with two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Larry C. Price and his work on child labor in the gold mining industry. Other events in the series will feature the work of Pulitzer Center journalists Katherine Zoepf on Saudi women entering the workforce, Steve Sapienza on sex workers in Cambodia who are battling stigma and HIV, and Amy Toensing on widows in India who are both unwanted and unprotected.
Norullah is an office cleaner at Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission. After the country’s presidential and provincial councils election on April 5, in which more than seven million people voted, the commission became busier (and messier) with ballot counting, and Norullah’s work has increased accordingly.
He is glad for the work, and it shows when he talks: Norullah has a smile that conveys a plain honesty in his face, which is apparent when he first looks at you. It shows wisdom too; though he is young, Norullah looks much older than his years, evidence of the hardships he has faced. Still, he has hope, though it is qualified: While he insists Afghanistan is now safe and will remain so in the future, he asked that his face not be shown in the above photograph, because he is concerned for his security when he travels to Afghanistan’s eastern provinces. He sees an imminent threat, but his hope remains strong.
The following are the words of Norullah, as told to Moh. Sayed Madadi.
I was born in Kabul. I remember it was so dangerous, life was so hard. I remember my father was sick and he was in Wazir Akbar Khan hospital. My mother and I went to see him, and we walked home from the hospital under gunfire and bullets. I cannot believe today how people survived those days, how we made it safely home that day, and how all the bullets somehow failed to hit us.
I was a little child and couldn’t go to school when the fighting in Kabul got bad. We were displaced, and we went to the Shir-Shahi refugee camp in Jalalabad. There was so much hardship, so much. I tried so hard, I sold water. When I was seven, I took a cask and sold water to make something for the family, to bring them bread so we could survive.
My father was a school teacher, so he went to Kabul to teach. Travel was dangerous so he rarely came to visit us in Jalalabad. We spent three years there, and when we came back to Kabul, things had not changed a lot. And it proved costly for our family to come back to the capital: One day we were out gathering wood, and my father stepped on a mine, losing his legs.
“Snake,” featured by the Poetry Foundation online.
"Snake," a 15-minute documentary by Pulitzer Center grantees Seamus Murphy and Eliza Griswold, showcases the photography and video behind their Afghanistan landay project. Landays are two-line poems that reveal much about the usually hidden inner lives of Afghan women. The landays are a traditional art form, but they have been updated to reflect a country at war; they refer to drone attacks, the Internet and texting.
Late on the night of May 11, 2012, two boats converged on a river in a remote village near the Honduran coast. People in one boat, which contained an American Drug Enforcement Administration agent and two Honduran police officers, opened fire on the other vessel.
Accounts of the scene, which left four Honduran civilians dead, vary from Ahuas to Washington: the D.E.A. maintains that there was an “exchange of fire” while Honduran villagers say their neighbors were unarmed.
In addition to investigating the May 11 incident, freelance journalist Mattathias Schwartz’s piece for theNew Yorker ”A Mission Gone Wrong,” is a detailed and thoughtful analysis of the United States “war on drugs” and what effects that war, its protocol and its rhetoric have on the Central American people who live along trafficking routes. He spoke about the issues that drove the article with Washington, D.C. students last week in three of Beverly Clavon’s health classes at Duke Ellington School of the Arts and with global studies and Spanish students at Woodrow Wilson High School.
“What is the ‘war on drugs?’” we asked one group.
“A losing war,” a student replied.
With Mattathias’s help, students in Ms. Clavon’s classes mapped out what she called the “drug line,” tracing the long and tangled trails from the drug user back to the farmer. Much of the students’ knowledge about sourcing of illegal drugs seemed to come from movies and television shows like “Harold and Kumar” and “Breaking Bad.”
"I thought cocaine was developed here in homes like meth,” one student said afterward. “I’m glad I know now."
The discussion also addressed some mis-perceptions about places, policy and drug sourcing. Mattathias and Ms. Clavon launched a conversation about the danger of vilifying or generalizing about places and people.
“They [coca farmers in South America] are doing this process to make money to feed their babies,” Ms. Clavon said. “They are not drug lords. They’re in a supply and demand. They’re simply farmers who are providing a service.”
One student asked Mattathias whose side he was on. Mattathias explained that as a journalist he was working “the case, not the cause.”
"It was good to learn about stuff that we don’t usually hear about, like where drugs come from," said a student afterward.
Written by Education Coordinator Amanda Ottaway. Photographs by Multimedia Coordinator Meghan Dhaliwal.
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This chapter of “Condemned,” an extensive photography project by Robin Hammond, documents the long-term mental health impacts of the conflicts in Liberia and Sierra Leone—illustrating that signing of peace agreements does not ensure an end to suffering. Hammond discusses his reporting in Liberia which covers the lives of former child soldiers and the war’s legacy of mental health issues.
View Robin’s whole project: “Condemned: Mental Health in Liberia and Sierra Leone”
Two hundred fifty thousand: the estimated number of Liberians killed in an unthinkably horrific 14-year civil war.
One: the number of psychiatrists in Liberia when the war ended nearly a decade ago.
To say the west African country was left ill-equipped to heal the mental health wounds left by the conflict would be an understatement. But in 2004, that’s exactly where the country of about 4-million people found itself.
Reporter Jim Burress presents an audio slideshow of how the country is working to build a mental health infrastructure and the problems it faces in doing so.