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Yuri Kozyrev

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Original author: 
Vaughn Wallace

On Wednesday, the Open Society Foundations will mark their 20th group exhibition of “Moving Walls” at their new location in midtown Manhattan. Initially conceived 15 years ago as a way to highlight the foundation’s issues and to support documentary photography, the exhibition highlights and adds value to important (and often under-reported) social issues.

Initially, the Foundations’ goals were focused on Eastern Europe and Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But now, the Moving Walls exhibition encompasses work from around the globe. This year, the exhibition features the work of 5 photographers from China, Russia and Ukraine to Sierra Leone and the countries of the Arab Spring.

On Revolution Road,” a project by TIME contract photographer Yuri Kozyrev, features work from the uprisings and unrest in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen. Shot on assignment for TIME, Kozyrev’s work demonstrates both the collective nature of world politics as well as the individual characteristics inherent to each nation’s unique issues. “In the end, the differences between the aftermaths of the region’s revolutions may be more important than their similarities,” he said.

Katharina Hesse‘s project, “Borderland: North Korean Refugees,” tells the individual narratives of North Korean refugees along the Chinese border. Because they’re classified by the Chinese government as ‘economic migrants’, the refugees are ineligible for official UN refugee status. “After experiencing a world like this, it just didn’t feel ‘right’ to take pictures and move on to the next job,” Hesse wrote. She has been shooting the project for nine years.

Juveniles Waiting for Justice” is a project by Fernando Moleres shot in the Pademba Road prison in Freetown, Sierra Leone. There, some 1,300 prisoners languished in squalor, lacking proper hygiene and provisions while awaiting trial. “My Sierra Leone prison photography has been published in the European press,” Moleres said, “but I feel that the story has not exposed a broad audience to this tragedy.”

Ian Teh‘s project, “Traces: Landscapes in Transition on the Yellow River Basin,” explores the existential impact the Yellow River has on the more than 150 million people it directly sustains. “My photographs play with the tension between the Yellow River’s place in Chinese culture and history and China’s emergence as a major economic power,” he said. “By using the landscape, I attempt to show what happens when an area that was largely rural becomes increasingly urban and industrial.”

VII photographer Donald Weber‘s “Interrogations” takes a surreal view on the Russian judicial system. Photographing people inside police interrogation rooms, Weber captures “a place where justice and mercy and hope and despair are manufactured, bought, bartered and sold.” Says Weber: “With each image, I was looking to make a very simple photograph of an actual police interrogation, but also a complex portrait of the relationship between truth and power.”

Moving Walls in on view at the Open Society Foundations at 224 West 57th Street, New York City, from May 8 – December 13, 2013. 

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Original author: 
Mikko Takkunen

Features and Essays

Robin Hammond

Robin Hammond / Panos Pictures / National Geographic

Robin Hammond: Zimbabwe: Breaking the Silence (The National Geographic Magazine) Oppression, Fear, and Courage in Zimbabwe | From the National Geographic magazine May issue.

Pete Muller: Questioning Zimbabwe’s Underdogs (NYT)

Sebastião Salgado: Genesis (NYT)

Michael Yamashita: China’s Ancient Lifeline (NGM) The 1,400-year-old Grand Canal is a monumental project that bound north and south China together. It’s still in use today.

FrancoPagetti / VII

Franco Pagetti / VII

Franco Pagetti: The Veils of Aleppo (LightBox)

Stanley Greene: The Dead and The Alive (NOOR) Syria

Giles Duley: Syrian Refugees (Guardian)

Nish L. Nalbandian: Portraits of Syrian Rebels (LA Times Framework blog)

Yusuf Sayman: Rebel Fighters Inside Aleppo (The Daily Beast)

Louie Palu

Louie Palu / Zuma Press / The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Louie Palu: Documenting Murder in Mexico (Mother Jones) The brutality of the drug war, on both sides of the border.

Dominic Bracco II: A Salvation Army of One (NYT Magazine) The Rev. Robert Coogan working in Saltillo, Mexico.

Shiho Fukada / Panos Pictures

Shiho Fukada / Panos Pictures / The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Shiho Fukada: Japan’s Rootless and Restless Workers (NYT Lens)

Jenn Ackerman: Minnesota, Frozen in Place and Time (NYT Lens)

Aaron Vincent Elkaim: The Last Great Race on Earth (Photo Booth) Iditarod, a thousand-and-forty-nine-mile race across Alaska

Fritz Hoffmann: On Beyond 100 (NGM) Photographer Fritz Hoffmann introduces us to people who have mastered the secret of long life.

Ami Vitale: Back at the Ranch (Panos Pictures)

David Guttenfelder / AP

David Guttenfelder / AP

David Guttenfelder: North Korea (Denver Post) While threats of a missile launch have renewed tensions with North Korea, photojournalist David Guttenfelder has returned to continue documenting life there.

Yuri Kozyrev: Pull Out From Afghanistan (NOOR)

Phil Moore: Mogadishu Boosts Security (Al Jazeera) Safety improves in Somalia’s once war-torn capital despite recent attack and ongoing threats of violence.

Zed Nelson: The Family (Institute) Zed Nelson’s project started in the summer of 1991, just turned 21

Gabriele Galimberti: My Couch Is Your Couch (Institute) Couchsurfers around the world

Steeve Iuncker / Agence VU

Steeve Iuncker / Agence VU

Steeve Iuncker: Yakutsk (LightBox) The Coldest City on Earth

James Whitlow Delano: Buried in Japan (TIME) Japan’s Aomori Prefecture might be at the same latitude as New York, but its climate can seem a lot more harsh.

Maja Daniels: In the mists of Älvdalen, Sweden (Financial Times Magazine) A world away from cosmopolitan Stockholm lies a strange forested land with an ancient language and a singular sense of quiet desolation

Antonio Olmos: Murder Most Ordinary (Guardian) Photographer Antonio Olmos spent two years visiting the site of every murder that took place within the M25 in London.

Ben Roberts: Higher Lands (Document Scotland) Growing up in the Scottish Highlands

Marco Kessler: Belarus: An Uncertain Winter (Vimeo) Belarus, once an integral frontier of the USSR, remains steeped in the Communist legacy, which ruled the daily lives of the nation for over 70 years.

Alexis Lambrou: Teaching for Life (NYT Lens) Young Brooklyn high school teacher, whose life revolves around her students and colleagues at a Brooklyn public high school.

Arthur Nazaryan: Ballet Competitions (NYT Lens) 12-year-old Russian immigrant’s efforts to become a ballerina

Amanda Rivkin: Post-Racial America Road Trip (VII Mentor)

Tommaso Protti: The Youth of Amid (Reportage by Getty Images Emerging Talent) Turkey

Adam Patterson: Another Lost Child (CNN Photo blog)

Patrick van Dam: Dreams of new homes abandoned in Greece (CNN Photo blog)

Articles

Eugene Richards

Eugene Richards

The Hero in the Cowboy Hat: Carlos Arredondo’s Story by Eugene Richards (LightBox)

A Photographer’s View of the Carnage: “When I Look at the Photos, I Cry” (LightBox)

Herald photographer details night Boston will never forget (Boston Herald)

News Media Weigh Use of Photos of Carnage (NYT)

A Blurry Double Standard? A Photo from the Boston Marathon Bombing (PhotoShelter)

Tragedy and the Role of Professional Photojournalists (Chicago Tribune Assignment Chicago blog)

On That Iconic Photo from the Boston Marathon Bombings (BagNewsNotes)

Runner, spectator get photos of marathon suspects (AP Big Story blog)

Photo Essay Of Boston Bomber Was Shot By Former BU Student (NPPA)

Courtesy HBO

Courtesy HBO

Peter van Agtmael: Revisiting Memory and Preserving Legacy: Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros (LightBox)

Tim Hetherington, Indelible on Film (NYT Lens)

A War Photographer Who Was More Than Just an Adrenaline Junkie (Mother Jones)

Killed documentary maker Tim Hetherington remembered in film (BBC) video

Which Way is the Frontline?: a documentary tribute to Tim Hetherington (BJP)

Tim Hetherington’s Photograph’s at the Yossi Milo Gallery (Photo Booth)

Honoring Chris Hondros (Getty Images blog)

Manu Brabo / AP

Manu Brabo / AP

The 2013 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Associated Press Coverage of Syria (LightBox)

The Pulitzer Prizes Winners (Pulitzer)

Photographs of Syria Sweep Pulitzer Prizes (NYT Lens)

Javier Manzano / AFP

Javier Manzano / AFP

A Pulitzer picture first day on the job (AFP Correspondent blog) Photograph taken by Javier Manzano in the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo on October 18, won the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography.

Witness to Newtown’s tragedy (Reuters TV) On December 14, 2012 a gunman opened fire on Sandy Hook Elementary School, leaving 26 dead, including 20 young children. Reuters photographers share their experience covering the story that devastated Newtown, Connecticut and the rest of the country.

David Guttenfelder / AP

David Guttenfelder / AP

Photographer chronicles life in North Korea (NBC)  In spite of the angry rhetoric, life in North Korea goes on as normal – or at least what passes as normal in this isolated state. AP photographer David Guttenfelder has been chronicling life in North Korea for years.

Those photos of young Kim Jong Un performing in ‘Grease’ are probably of his brother (The Washington Post)

I almost died in Syria (Salon)

Olivier Voisin’s last images (Paris Match L’instant)

Taking RISC: Program Trains Reporters How To Save Lives in War Zones (ABC News)

RISC: Training reporters how to save lives (BJP)

French photographer Pierre Borghi escapes four months after kidnapping in Afghanistan (New York Daily News)

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded Fellowships 2013 (Guggenheim Foundation)

Feisal Omar: “Are you al-Shabaab or soldiers?” (Reuters Photographers blog) Covering Somalia

Featured photojournalist: Christopher Furlong (Guardian)

Anastasia Rudenko (Verve Photo)

Thomas Cristofoletti (Verve Photo)

Challenging an Old Narrative in Latin American Photojournalism (NYT Lens)

Donna De Cesare’s Photo of Violence in El Salvador (NYT Lens)

How the 1962 monsoons inspired Steve McCurry (Phaidon) Forthcoming book, Steve McCurry Untold: The Stories Behind The Photographs, tells how coverage of the Indian rainy season in Life magazine set the Magnum photographer off on a life of photography and far flung travel.

Sebastiao Salgado’s Genesis (BBC)

Sebastião Salgado documents world’s wildernesses in new Genesis exhibition (Guardian)

Sebastião Salgado: Genesis – review (Guardian)

André Kertész: Truth and Distortion, Atlas Gallery, London – review (FT)

Explore Nic Dunlop’s new book Brave New Burma (Panos Pictures blog)

Muhammed Muheisen / AP

Muhammed Muheisen / AP

Wire Photographer Spotlight: Daily Life by Muhammed Muheisen (LightBox)

A Year Later, Instagram Hasn’t Made a Dime. Was it Worth $1 Billion? (TIME)

Making Art With Tom Waits (NYT Magazine)

The National Geographic Trove (Photo Booth)

Genius in colour: Why William Eggleston is the world’s greatest photographer (The Independent)

Bert Stern’s Beautiful Photography and Less-Beautiful Personal Life, on Screen (The Atlantic) A new documentary shows two sides of the man who took some of the most iconic celebrity photographs of the 20th century: creative genius and womanizer.

“Arnold Newman: At Work” explores photographer through his archive (Harry Ransom Center Cultural Compass blog)

Native Americans: Portraits From a Century Ago (The Atlantic)

Meeting Florida’s Seminoles Through Rediscovered Photos (NPR)

Photographer David Moore’s dingy, deteriorating Derby is the real deal (Guardian) Chronicler of 80′s working-class England peers behind closed doors to capture a community indelibly marked by Margaret Thatcher.

Graham Nash’s best photograph (Guardian) Joni Mitchell listening to her new album

Unsung hero of photography Thurston Hopkins turns 100 (Guardian)

This was England: the photographs of Chris Killip (Guardian) Chris Killip’s study of the communities that bore the brunt of industrial decline in the North East have earned him a nomination for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.

Deutsche Börse Photography prize show: mashups and moon walkers (Guardian)

Deutsche Börse photography prize 2013 (Guardian) video | Sean O’Hagan meets the nominees for the annual Deutsche Börse photography prize. They’re all on show at the Photographers’ Gallery in London until June 30.

Estate of Jacques Lowe

Estate of Jacques Lowe

When an Archive is Lost: Jacques Lowe’s Rare (And Recently Restored) Look at JFK’s Camelot (LightBox)

The Heart of a Beast: Charlotte Dumas’ Poignant Animal Photography (LightBox)

Teenage Precinct Shoppers by Nigel Shafran: A Look Back to 1990 (LightBox)

The World’s Oldest Photography Museum Goes Digital (Smithsonian)

Pecha Kucha: The art of speed-talking about photography (BJP)

Martin Parr ‘Life’s A Beach’ Exhibit And Book Capture Fun In The Sun From Brazil To Japan (The Huffington Post)

The unseen Lee Miller: Lost images of the supermodel-turned-war photographer go on show (The Independent)

The Surreal World of Nina Leen (Photo Booth)

Rescuing a Photo Prince Vita Luckus From Obscurity (NYT Lens)

How photographers joined the self-publishing revolution (Guardian)

Elaborate Drive-By Photo Studio Takes Pedestrians by Surprise (Wired)

Interviews and Talks

John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe / Getty Images

John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe / Getty Images

John Tlumacki (LightBox) Tragedy in Boston: One Photographer’s Eyewitness Account | LightBox spoke with Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki, who photographed the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Tlumacki, who has photographed more than 20 marathons in his 30 years at the Globe, describes the sheer chaos of the scene.

John Tlumacki (Poynter) Globe’s Tlumacki: ‘I am dealing with trauma & trying to keep busy’ following Boston tragedy

Sebastião Salgado (Natural History Museum YouTube) Genesis

Sebastião Salgado (Guardian) A God’s eye view of the planet – interview

Sebastião Salgado (NYT) In Love With My Planet

Sebastião Salgado (Taschen) Two men, one mission: Salgado talks with Benedikt Taschen about the photographic project that changed his life.

Sebastian Junger (Indiewire) On the Value and Cost of War Reporting and Making a Film About His Late ‘Restrepo’ Co-Director Tim Hetherington

Sebastian Junger (NPR) ‘Which Way’ To Turn After Hetherington’s Death

Sebastian Junger (WNYC) The Life and Times of Tim Hetherington

Michelle McNally (Le Journal de la Photographie) The New York Times Director of Photography

James Estrin (Le Journal de la Photographie) NYT photographer and Lens blog editor

Patrick Witty (Zorye Kolektiv)  International Picture Editor at TIME

David Campbell to reveal WPPh multimedia research (Canon Professional Network)

Robin Hammond (NGM) The Moment: Caught in Zimbabwe

Jeff Jacobson (PDN) On Beauty, Ambiguity and Mortality

Yuri Kozyrev (Zorye Kolektiv)

Emilio Morenatti (Zorye Kolektiv)

Anastasia Taylor-Lind (Repor Madrid TV)

Thurston Hopkins (Guardian) On his 100th birthday this week, one of the great photojournalists of the 20th century, Thurston Hopkins, talks about his career as a photographer at Picture Post

Pari Dukovic (Wonderland magazine)

Mike Brodie (LA Times Framework blog)

Danielle Levitt (Dazed Digital) Danielle Levitt’s Favourite Tribes

Mikko Takkunen is an associate photo editor at TIME.com.

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If 2011 was a year of simple, powerful narratives — of revolution and sweeping change — 2012 was when things got a lot more complicated.

The aftermath of the Arab Spring’s upheavals saw uneasy transitions toward democracy. The exhilaration of freedom dissolved in the face of new struggles and contests for power: in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere, the streets are once again filled with protesters angry over the advent of religious radicalism, the return of authoritarianism and the unemployment and tough economic conditions that remain. In Syria, peaceful demonstrations in 2011 morphed into a bitter, bloody civil war that has claimed over 40,000 lives and rages on. Hostilities between Israel and its adversaries in the occupied territories were once more renewed as the peace process collapsed and the road map to a two-state solution looked to have been crumpled up and tossed away. And in the U.S., a seemingly endless, costly election cycle served only to restore the status quo: the re-elected President Obama faces many of the same challenges and obstacles he did before Nov. 6.

Throughout 2012, TIME’s unparalleled photojournalists were there. We stood within the tumult of Tahrir Square and shared moments of quiet with the world’s most powerful President. We documented both the ravages of war on Syria’s blasted cities and the devastation nature wrought on our own backyard in the Northeast. At a time when so much hangs in the balance, bearing witness can be the most essential act — and that’s what we do.

Ishaan Tharoor

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In the last week of June, at an airfield outside Moscow, Russia laid out a smorgasbord of military hardware—including everything from tanks to anti-aircraft batteries—and invited some of the most militaristic nations in the world do some pleasant summer shopping. Meat was grilled in barbecue pits, comely models stood around in mini-skirts, ’80s music and obnoxious techno pounded through the speakers, and once a day, a choreographer from the Bolshoi Theater staged a “tank ballet” of twirling war machines that was grandiloquently titled, “Unconquerable and Legendary.”

Welcome to the deceptively titled Forum for Technologies in Machine Building, the biennial Russian arms bazaar that President Vladimir Putin inaugurated in 2010. Delegations from Iran, Bahrain, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, among many others, attended the expo this year, and spent their time ogling cruise missiles, climbing into armored jeeps and trying out the most famous—and most deadly—Russian weapon of them all: the Kalashnikov assault rifle, which is thought to hold the stomach-turning honor of having killed more people than any other weapon in the history of man.

On the afternoon of June 28, TIME followed around the delegation to the arms bazaar from Syria, who, like many of the participants, would not legally be able to buy their weapons in the West (the TIME magazine story is available to subscribers here). For the past 16 months, Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have brutally tried to crush a homegrown rebellion, which has already cost around 15,000 lives, including thousands of women and children. The U.S. and Europe have responded by banning weapons sales to Syria, and along with their allies in the Arab world, they have pushed for an international arms embargo against Assad’s government. But Russia, the world’s second largest arms dealer after the U.S., has used its veto power in the U.N. to block these sanctions. With around $4 billion in weapons contracts to fulfill for its Syrian clients, Russia has continued supplying arms to Damascus, which gets nearly all of its weapons from Russia.

It was impossible to tell what, if anything, the Syrians came to the Moscow arms bazaar to purchase. Such deals would be signed behind closed doors, and both sides declined to comment. Colonel Isam Ibrahim As’saadi, the military attache at the Syrian embassy in Moscow, chaperoned the three officials in town from Damascus, and they would only say that they came to Moscow especially to attend the fair. The items that seemed to interest them most that day were armored military vehicles, trucks equipped with roof-mounted rocket launchers and brand new Kalashnikov assault rifles. Andrei Vishnyakov, the head of marketing for Izhmash, the company that created the AK-47, spent more than an hour selling them on the virtues of the firm’s new sniper rifles and machine guns. Before handing the head of the Syrian delegation a silencer-equipped AK-104, Vishnyakov said: “This weapon is perfect for close-quarters combat, house to house.” The Syrian official then lifted the gun’s sight to his eye and pointed it across the crowded pavilion, no doubt wondering how useful it could be back home.

Simon Shuster is TIME’s Moscow reporter.

Yuri Kozyrev is a contract photographer for TIME and was named the 2011 Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International competition.

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A huge, colorful mural of the men Egyptian youth activists know as “felool”—regime remnants—adorns a building’s wall on Mohamed Mahmoud Street in downtown Cairo. Branching off of the now iconic Tahrir Square, Mohamed Mahmoud leads to the dreaded Interior Ministry. A number of bloody clashes between protesters and Egyptian security forces have taken place here in the year and a half since a popular uprising ended the 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak and launched the Arab world’s largest country into a tumultuous transition. To Egypt’s budding generation of revolutionary street artists, these walls are prime real estate for political expression.

Omar Fathi, the 26-year-old art student, who painted the mural with a set of cheap plastic paints last February, conceived of the idea after a deadly soccer riot had led to another series of clashes between police and protesters, leaving more than 80 people dead. Like much of his art, it was an image borne of frustration. Many of the youth protesters had blamed the ruling military and the police forces under its command for the deadly soccer riot and the ensuing violence as anger spread to the streets. To Fathi, it was further evidence of the state’s failure to govern and protect—something he had grown accustomed to under Mubarak, but that he and other youth activists and members of his “Revolution Artists’ Union” say has only continued under military rule. “Basically it represents the situation we are in, nothing has changed since the fall of the regime,” he says. “It’s the same leadership—the face has changed, but the rest is still the same.”

The mural depicts a split face—on the right, the scowling visage of ousted President Hosni Mubarak; and on the left, the man he once appointed to run his military, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. As the head of Egypt’s powerful military council, Tantawi has been Egypt’s de facto ruler since Mubarak stepped down in February 2011.

Shortly after Fathi painted his masterpiece, someone—he suspects from the military —painted over it. To spite them, he painted it again. When it was painted over a second time, he re-painted it a third, this time adding the faces of two presidential candidates, Amr Moussa, and Ahmed Shafik. Both men had served in Mubarak’s regime. And the run-off to the presidential election this month pit Ahmed Shafik against a candidate from the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood, in a tense face-off that some activists characterized as a battle between the old order and the new; the military regime versus the revolution. In the end, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsy won. But Tantawi and his military council have ensured that Morsy only wields certain presidential powers; the military controls the rest. And Fathi says he’ll keep painting. “Our contribution [to the revolution] is to portray the demands of the revolution through art. This has been our role since the eighteen days [of the uprising],” he says. “We serve the revolution through art, and we will keep illustrating our demands.”

Sharaf al-Hourani is a news assistant for TIME Magazine in Cairo
.

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Egypt recently carried out its first democratic presidential election in the country’s history. But five days after the vote, the question of who won remains a matter of contention. The contest pitted a former military man who had served in the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak against a leader of the regime’s longtime foes, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Most observers believe the most votes went to Mohamed Morsy, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). The party claims a 1.2 million vote lead over Ahmed Shafik, the former military man and Mubarak prime minister. Shafik, however, says he has 500,000 more votes than Morsy. And with the official results still pending, the tension is rising as Egyptians wait to find out which candidate—if any—is telling the truth.

The presence of Egypt’s decidedly undemocratic military in its fledgling democratic process has only added to the atmosphere of uncertainty. Shortly after the polls closed on Sunday night, the junta, which has ruled Egypt since Mubarak stepped down, issued a decree that served to dramatically limit the powers of the incoming president. Just a few days before, the country’s constitutional court had moved to dissolve Egypt’s first democratically elected parliament—which had been dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. And analysts say this latest decree seems tailor made to limit the impact of a Brotherhood win at the polls.

The Islamists have reacted to the pressure with a show of popular force; taking to Cairo’s Tahrir Square every night since, as the country awaits the electoral outcome. So far, the demonstrations have been largely symbolic. But they could turn violent if Shafik is declared the winner—an outcome that the Islamists have already said would be the product of electoral fraud.

Abigail Hauslohner is TIME’s Cairo correspondent.

Yuri Kozyrev is a contract photographer for TIME and was named the 2011 Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International competition.

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Afghanistan’s presidential palace is a bucolic refuge protected from the chaos of war by thick walls and layers of security—security so stringent that photographer Yuri Kozyrev and I were prevented from bringing in pens, and in my case, even lipstick. A decade’s worth of bombings, assassination attempts, terror attacks and riots have kept President Hamid Karzai a virtual prisoner. Last week, Yuri and I were invited to spend a day with Karzai in his palace. He keeps an exhausting schedule, zipping between meetings in different buildings with a ground-eating stride that forces his aids into an uneasy trot alongside, as they try to brief him on the latest news. When we arrived, Karzai had just learned of the assassination of one of the members of his High Peace Council, the group assigned to conduct peace negotiations with the Taliban. It was a terrible blow. Still, he kept to his schedule: presiding over his security council update, hosting a lunch for visiting tribal elders from the north, and meeting with a U.S. Congressional delegation led by Nancy Pelosi. He even squeezed in a moment to share his grief with other members of the Peace Council. The only time he paused for a break was when he went to the palace’s small mosque to pray.

The world outside the palace is equally frenetic. Kabul has been shaped by war; its monuments bombed, its green spaces littered with the detritus of battle and its citizens maimed by mines. Even though fear is rife that war will return, Kabulis are busy. The university is in full swing, and local factories now provide the Afghan Army with boots and uniforms. Cafes and shisha bars have sprung up, and, somewhat improbably, a 12-lane bowling alley has become the most popular pastime for the young middle class. It’s a Kabul that Karzai has never seen. The last time he walked through his capital, he tells us, was seven years ago. In two years Karzai will step down. Maybe then he will be able to take another walk.

Read more about Hamid Karzai in this week’s issue of TIME.

Aryn Baker is the Middle East Bureau Chief for TIME.

Yuri Kozyrev is a contract photographer for TIME and was named the 2011 Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International competition.

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The last time TIME contract photographer Yuri Kozyrev and I were in Libya together, we were covering the fall of Tripoli to Libyan rebel forces, near the end of an eight-month civil war. We had covered the revolution since February 2011, moving along desert frontlines, into war-ravaged homes, and finally, up to the gates of Muammar Gaddafi’s abandoned villas in Tripoli. Our coverage last Fall took us from intelligence headquarters to the scenes of massacres and on to new front lines. It was chaos—full of discovery and excitement for the rebels and newly liberated civilians—but chaos, nonetheless. No one knew when Gaddafi would be found, or what the future would bring when they found him.

And it wasn’t until four months after Gaddafi was captured and killed—four months after the official end of the war—that we returned to Libya. This time, we didn’t sneak across any borders, nor did we duck from any bullets. We flew into a calm and functioning Benghazi airport, surrounded by flower bushes.

Libya is not as we left it. Driving across the country, we visited old friends and new acquaintances. We discovered that the Esbaks, a family of revolutionaries who I met last February in the Green Mountains of Libya’s east, had lost their youngest son since I last saw them—killed by a mortar shell on the eastern frontline. We discovered they had a new set of politics as well: after decades of dictatorship, they were already fed up with the transitional government and they wanted to see Libya divided into states.

In every town we stopped in, we met rebels we used to know—men who could now be called militia members. They had retained their weapons and their autonomy. The people who defeated the old system may be the biggest threat to stability in the new one. In Misrata, a militia leader named Mohamed Shami took us to the city’s largest prison. There, the men who used to be winners are now the captives. Their overlords are the rebels they once fought and repressed. One of the prisoners we met is Sayyed Muammar Gaddafi Dam, the late dictator’s cousin. We watched as Shami, the militia commander, posed for a picture with the frightened Gaddafi at his side.

There is no justice in the new Libya—but the former rebels are quick to note: there wasn’t much justice in the old Libya either. The prisoners are awaiting trials. Some have been waiting a year. But in the mean time, the conditions aren’t so bad, the militias say—at least torture isn’t as rampant as it was under Gaddafi.

At times our journey was certainly eerie. We stopped in all the places where we had been shot at covering the war. Human remains are still submerged in the sand at one of the first rebel camps that Gaddafi bombed from the air, outside the oil refinery at Ras Lanuf. We stood in the place where our journalist friends and colleagues had been killed in Misrata; and we interviewed former loyalists on the road in Sirte where a rocket-propelled grenade had missed my car and struck someone else. Our jaws dropped when we walked through Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziyah compound in Tripoli. It had been smashed and burned to oblivion, as if the entire country had vented 42 years of rage on a single spot. Perhaps noticing our shock, a 12-year-old boy leaned out of a car window and asked me: “Did you ever expect to see this?” His introduction led us to a conversation with his family, and Yuri photographed the boy and his brother, as they explored what was once the dictator’s, now theirs.

We got the feeling, as we moved from town to town, that the country was in the midst of a great, collective exhale: that Libyan journalists and politicians were just starting to find their footing on new and unfamiliar turf; that families were lifting their heads from beneath the rubble to take a look around; that, despite all the guns in the hands of lawless militias, people were at least shooting at each other less often.

We drove across the country humming along to Libyan revolutionary hip-hop, and stopping to talk with picnicking families, religious leaders, refugees, village sheikhs, and oil workers. Some people wanted revenge; others had already taken it. A lot of people were angry that the money wasn’t flowing fast enough and that they were compelled to rebuild their war-ravaged homes and businesses with money from their own pockets.

But we didn’t find the same despair that had filled the eyes of the young men we encountered in blood-spattered field hospitals just months before. Museums have been erected to commemorate the battles fought and the martyrs lost. Schools are back in session—even the shell-shocked ones. Hundreds of former rebels are training to join the new national army. Old friends are now talking about tourism and business. We heard women discussing women’s rights and lecturing men on politics—a newfound agency that they’ve capitalized on since the revolution. Where the weak transitional government is failing, ordinary citizens are helping one another rebuild. Young people are getting creative. And the most marvelous thing we found as we traveled was optimism; optimism of the wild, determined sort. Libya is set to hold its first democratic election in June. No one knows how many bumps lie in the road up ahead. But despite all those challenges, and the years of heartbreak behind them, the Libyans we met on our road trip seemed hopeful.

Read more in this week’s issue of TIME: Hope Among the Ruins

Abigail Hauslohner is TIME’s Cairo correspondent.

Yuri Kozyrev is a contract photographer for TIME and was named the 2011 Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International competition.

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