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Ten years ago, the International Labor Organization (ILO) established June 12 as World Day Against Child Labor. The ILO, an agency of the United Nations, says on its website: "Hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are engaged in work that deprives them of adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms, violating their rights." The World Day Against Child Labor was launched as a way to highlight the plight of these children and support governments and social organizations in their campaigns against child labor. [37 photos]

The rough hands of an Afghan child, at the Sadat Ltd. Brick factory, where some children work from 8am to 5 pm daily, seen on May 14, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Child labor is common at the brick factories where the parents work as laborers, desperate to make more money enlisting their children to help doing the easy jobs. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

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WAITING PEACEFULLY
WAITING PEACEFULLY: Holocaust survivor Meir Friedman waited to give his personal testimony to Israeli border police officers during a ceremony marking the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day in Martyrs Forest near Jerusalem Thursday. (Oded Balilty/Associated Press)


WAGING WAR? Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, center, waved from the back of a truck as he visited North Kordofan, Sudan, Thursday. He has vowed to topple the government of South Sudan as fighting continued along the countries’ poorly defined, oil-rich border. (Abd Raouf/Associated Press)

SUSPENDED ANIMATION
SUSPENDED ANIMATION: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, left, ‘headed’ the ball during a match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge Stadium in London Wednesday. (Adrian Dennis/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

TRANSFER MISSION
TRANSFER MISSION: The space shuttle Discovery was suspended at Washington Dulles International Airport Thursday. NASA turned over the spacecraft to the Smithsonian Institution, making the shuttle the first in its orbiter fleet to be transferred to a U.S. museum. (Bill Ingalls/NASA/Reuters)

CAUTIOUS
CAUTIOUS: A police officer passed a metal detector across the coffin of Hussein Ahmed at a checkpoint as the body arrived for burial amid a sandstorm in Najaf, Iraq, Thursday. Mr. Ahmed was killed in Baghdad in a wave of morning bombings across several cities that left at least 30 people dead. (Alaa al-Marjani/Associated Press)

COURT COVER
COURT COVER: Attendants covered a court from rain during a match between France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Spain’s Fernando Verdasco at the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament in Monaco Thursday. Fourth-seeded Mr. Tsonga beat Mr. Verdasco 7-6 (7), 6-2. (Valery Hache/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

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World Water Day is observed on March 22 every year. The day to recognize the importance of earth's most precious natural resource was proposed 20 years ago at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. While we often take water for granted, many cannot. And water plays a role in almost everything we do. We drink it, wash in it, play in it, generate power with it, irrigate crops with it, travel and transport goods on it, fight fires with it, and worship with it. Gathered here are images of water from the last year in all its uses, in scarcity and in abundance. -- Lane Turner (48 photos total)
A child bathes from a public tap in his neighborhood in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on March 6, 2012. A UNICEF report says unhygienic conditions cause an estimated 1. 2 million child deaths before the age of five from diarrhea worldwide every year. The report says in urban areas access to improved water and sanitation is not keeping pace with population growth. (Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press)

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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

Scott Dalton

So Close, So Far: Daily Life and Cartel Violence in Ciudad Jurez

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Averaging over 3,000 murders a year, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has become one of the most dangerous cities on earth, a place sometimes called ‘Baghdad on the Border’, or ‘Murder City’.  Located on the US-Mexico border, just across from El Paso, TX, Ciudad Juarez is the epicenter of a struggle between drug cartels that has pushed all of Mexico toward lawlessness. The city has become a bed of tension, its citizens weary and nervous of the gunfire that may erupt at any moment. Yet daily life in Juarez maintains a paradoxical serenity, at once contradictory to and somehow acquiescent in the crisis that is overwhelming the city.

As a photographer I am interested in the often-fragile relationship between people and the places they live, in how individuals, environment, and history combine to create a region with its own culture. In my project ‘So Close, So Far: Daily Life and Cartel Violence in Ciudad Juarez’, I am exploring these ideas through images of daily life in a place where the drug war calls the very concept of “daily life” into question.  Combining environmental portraits and documentary reportage, I hope to document this tragic and historic time in the life of this city, when cartel violence forges an uncertain new reality.

Porfirio Diaz, a former president of Mexico, is famously quoted as saying, ‘Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States’. This proximity has had a profound influence on the history of Ciudad Juarez. Renowned in the past for bandits, smugglers, and revolutionaries, it is now the stage upon which drug cartels are enacting a bloody struggle for control of the lucrative drug routes leading north into the US. With over 30,000 cartel related deaths in all of Mexico since 2006, the country has an uncertain future. In Ciudad Juarez the government has been reduced to picking up bodies and tallying the dead, impunity has spread, life has become cheap, and murder is easy. Yet somehow life goes on.

 

Bio

Scott Dalton is a photographer based in Houston, TX and a graduate of UT Austin in Photojournalism. He was based for 14 yrs in Latin America, mainly in Bogotà, Colombia where he photographed the drug war. He has photographed in conflict zones in Colombia, Nepal, and Gaza; and he has also covered major stories and events throughout Latin America. He spent a year with a paramilitary gang in Medellin directing the award winning film ‘La Sierra’. And he has even been kidnapped by Colombian rebels while on assignment for the LA Times in 2003.

He now works on long-term personal projects shot on medium format film. Currently his focus is the border town of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Before that he spent four years photographing a region in Colombia that influenced the writings of Gabriel Garcìa Màrquez. His photos have appeared in National Geographic, Harper’s, Time, The New Yorker, GEO and many other outlets. In 2009 he was nominated for the Santa Fe Prize and was Top 50 in Critical Mass.

 

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Scott Dalton

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In 2003, Ian Welch was on his first combat tour in Iraq. As his battalion waited to storm the Diyala Bridge and seize Baghdad, an artillery shell struck the vehicle behind him, killing two soldiers and knocking Mr. Welch unconscious. When he came to, he was disoriented. His vision was blurred. Blood dripped from his ears. He helped gather the remains of the dead before heading out to take the bridge. He returned to Iraq twice more on combat tours.

Mr. Welch was later diagnosed with chronic PTSD and traumatic brain injury. He now lives in Dallas, Texas, with his girlfriend and government-paid caregiver, Katie Brickman. Every day, he faces the long-term effects of PTSD: bouts of amnesia, insomnia, anxiety, dizziness and vomiting.

Photographer Brandon Thibodeaux spent two months chronicling Mr. Welch’s struggles and with Wall Street Journal photo editors Matthew Craig (Executive Producer) and Kate Lord (Associate Producer), created the video below. This is Mr. Thibodeaux’s account. To read the story and see the complete interactive, click here.

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I’ve come to think of Ian’s way of dealing with PTSD as a protective moat–a barrier he crosses only for doctor’s appointments, haircuts and other necessary outings.

When I was first assigned the story, I was planning on still photographs. But in the end we decided that the complexity of the story required much more, and I needed a different approach. I quickly learned that I needed ample time, as well as video and audio equipment to best tell Ian’s story.

Ian is someone who rarely steps outside of his structured life, so it was essential to gain his trust. In the end, Katie, his girlfriend, was key. She acts as his protector, making sure to blunt potential triggers to his PTSD. Katie studied photography and knew of the work of Tim Hetherington and other war photographers. She convinced Ian The Wall Street Journal project could be therapeutic.

Before I was assigned the story, I knew of PTSD as a combat disorder. After spending days with Ian and Katie, I learned of its long and tenacious grip on everyday life.

I felt it only fair to reveal my own vulnerabilities since Ian exposed so many of his. As a teenager, I underwent chemotherapy for a rare case of lymphoma cancer. While I didn’t face enemy fire or lose friends in a battle, it gave us a patch of common ground. I faced attacks from my own body. And when he described his anxiety and mood swings, it stoked memories of friends I had met at the hospital. I often wondered why I was allowed to survive and they were not. Even Katie’s role with Ian was reminiscent of how my parents must have managed, juggling appointments and providing support.

Once he allowed me access to his home, Ian, Katie, and I spent a lot of time together. It was important to become a part of his routine. Many days were quiet with little to photograph. Since Ian and Katie stayed up late, it made sense for me to stay overnight sometimes.

To understand his deeper, more personal thoughts, I asked Ian to read his journals, and to describe what he recalled from the injury on April 7, 2003. I felt horrible asking to hear such difficult memories. One night, as we finally felt comfortable enough to go over his combat experience, I had to help him walk back into the house. Katie didn’t know how to react when she saw how weak he was. It was a powerful reminder of how difficult it was for him to revisit the most painful parts of his past.

When the project was over, Ian was inundated by phone calls from loved ones. Katie couldn’t thank us enough for spending so much time with Ian and for capturing such an honest portrayal. Ian also talked about the project a lot and was more open to discussing his PTSD. I hope his story and video helps him hear those inner thoughts with better perspective. And I hope his story reaches and comforts others like him.

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SWEATING BEADS
SWEATING BEADS: Beads of perspiration dropped from the face of Spain’s Rafael Nadal during a match against the Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday. Mr. Nadal won. (Darren Whiteside/Reuters)

CHALLENGING PUTIN
CHALLENGING PUTIN: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin instructed a boy during a judo demonstration in Kemerovo, Russia, Tuesday. (Reuters)

MOVING HOUSE
MOVING HOUSE: Workers lifted a Habitat house over a fence from a South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice facility in Columbia, S.C., Monday. Youths at the facility worked with volunteers to build the home for a woman whose son suffers from cerebral palsy. (Gerry Melendez/the State/Associated Press)

A MOCKERY OF JUSTICE
A MOCKERY OF JUSTICE: A demonstrator motioned to a doll bearing the likeness of former dictator Gen. Francisco Franco as he held up a banner of Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon at Madrid’s Supreme Court Tuesday. The judge is being tried for probing alleged atrocities around Spain’s 1936-39 civil war, which brought Mr. Franco to power. (Susana Vera/Reuters)

TEARFUL TESTIMONY
TEARFUL TESTIMONY: Audrey Mabrey wiped tears away as she testified Tuesday in Tampa., Fla., against her husband, Christopher Hanney, who allegedly set her on fire. (Kathleen Flynn/Tampa Bay Times/Zuma Press)

FATHER AND SON
FATHER AND SON: A boy rested next to his father at a hospital after they were wounded in a car bombing in the Sadr City area of Baghdad Tuesday. A series of car bombs exploded in Shiite areas, killing at least nine people and injuring dozens, an interior ministry official said. (Ahmad al-Rubaye/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

TANGLED UP
TANGLED UP: Iceland’s Robert Gunnarsson lay on the ground during a game against Spain at the European Handball Championship in Novi Sad, Serbia, Tuesday. (Laszlo Balogh/Reuters)

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