December 2004 Archives
December 24, 2004
A woman and her son walk along Kabul's main avenue. Once a bustling thoroughfare lined with merchants, the avenue was destroyed by four years of fighting. 1996 ©Didier Lefevre
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, and exclusion from health care in more that 75 countries.
MSF was founded in 1971 as the first non-governmental organization to both provide emergency medical assistance and bear witness publicly to the plight of people it assists. A private nonprofit association, MSF is an international network with sections in 19 countries.
MSF began working in Afghanistan in 1980, shortly after the Soviet invasion. Small medical teams undertook clandestine cross-border operations to reach people stranded in areas hardest-hit by the turmoil. MSF continued to open programs over the next 24 years: conducting surgery as fighting raged in Kabul during the mujahadeen wars; providing medical care to women and advocating on their behalf during the rise of the Taliban; and running clinics for people displaced by the fighting during the Taliban years and in the aftermath of the US-led military intervention.
On June 2, 2004, five MSF aid workers were assassinated while traveling in a clearly marked MSF vehicle. At the time, 80 MSF international volunteers and 1,400 Afghan staff were providing health care in 13 provinces. These teams faced an increasingly violent and chaotic environment, in which aid workers had become targets for military factions, and where the lines between military and humanitarian action had become increasingly blurred. Unable to ensure the security of its teams, MSF closed all of its medical programs in Afghanistan in July 2004.
December 11, 2004
No title, no date. Submitted by [no name provided]. Madrid, Spain.
Courtesy of Look at Me website.
I framed a snapshot I found in a flea market bin, and it holds a place of reverent enjoyment on my desk at home. In it, a solitary man in silhouette, commands a precarious one-man dirigible as he floats above a jam-packed sports stadium in what I take to be a town in Italy in the 1940's. I have no idea who took the photo, or who the reckless soul is suspended precariously in the air, but it gives me pleasure every time I look at it. Maybe it's the act of personal daring that connects me to this photo, or the wonderful composition that lets me see so much of the mysterious context and imagine the circumstances. But recently I've discovered that I'm not alone in the love of these anonymous one-of-a-kind almost-discarded photos.
A wonderful website celebrates more than 400 of these kinds of images, with contributors from all over the world. And a new book from one especially qualified collector fans the flames of the labor-intensive hunt for the nearly forgotten.
December 3, 2004
Refugee camp at Benako, Tanzania, 1994. © SebastiÃ£o Salgado
Thanks to the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and Fotovision.org, a video webcast is available of a conversation with Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism adjunct professor Ken Light and Photo Critic and Curator Fred Ritchin. This took place on October 27, 2004 in Wheeler Auditorium, UC Berkeley. Running Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes.
Lots of other great resources at this site, as well.