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Aung San Suu Kyi

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Yesterday marked World Refugee Day, as the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, António Guterres, visited Jordan to highlight the 1.6 million registered people who have fled the ongoing conflict in Syria. The UN refugee agency, which was set up in 1950 to aid those still displaced after World War II, reports that there are some 10.5 million refugees worldwide. -- Lloyd Young ( 29 photos total)
Afghan refugee children, swim in muddy water created from a broken water pipe, on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, on June 17. Pakistan hosts over 1.6 million registered Afghans, the largest and most protracted refugee population in the world, according to the UN refugee agency. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)     

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Another year has come and gone and with it hundreds of thousands of images have recorded the world's evolving history; moments in individual lives; the weather and it's affects on the planet; acts of humanity and tragedies brought by man and by nature. The following is a compilation - not meant to be comprehensive in any way - of images from the first 4 months of 2012. Parts II and III to follow this week. -- Paula Nelson ( 64 photos total)
Fireworks light up the skyline and Big Ben just after midnight, January 1, 2012 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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From Aung San Suu Kyi’s Nobel lecture in Norway and the death of Rodney King in California to violent mining strikes in Spain and a New Democracy in Greece, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week.

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Today marks World Refugee Day, which the United Nations uses to raise awareness of the plight of the estimated 42 million displaced people worldwide. A UN report released this week showed that 800,000 people were forced to flee across borders last year -- more than any time since 2000. In a message to mark the day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, "Refugees leave because they have no choice. We must choose to help." -- Lloyd Young (30 photos total)
A Myanmar ethnic Rohingya child preparing for a midday prayer on April 23 inside a community school in Klang, a port town 30 kilometres west of Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is observing World Refugee Day along with other countries of the world, there are over 98,000 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR in Malaysia. (Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images)

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PHOTOGRAPHING THE POPE
PHOTOGRAPHING THE POPE: People took pictures of Pope Benedict XVI during his weekly audience in Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican City Wednesday. (Max Rossi/Reuters)

IN PARLIAMENT
IN PARLIAMENT: Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in purple, attended the Pyithu Hluttaw, the lower house of Parliament, Wednesday in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. She had formerly been under house arrest. (Nyein Chan Naing/European Pressphoto Agency)

FRONT AND CENTER
FRONT AND CENTER: Janos Ader took his oath as president of Hungary during a swearing-in ceremony in Hungarian Parliament in Budapest Wednesday. Parliament elected him to a five-year term by a vote of 262-40. (Laszlo Beliczay/MTI/Associated Press)

WHIPPING THEIR HAIR
WHIPPING THEIR HAIR: Eunuchs danced as they re-enacted a story from the Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’ during the annual Koovagam transgender festival south of Chennai, India, Wednesday. (Arun Sankar/Associated Press)

PAINT IN THE FACE
PAINT IN THE FACE: A police officer paused after being hit in the face with paint as officers advanced on Occupy protesters blocking an intersection during a May Day rally in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Burma is changing. On April 1, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi led the opposition National League for Democracy to victory in by-elections hailed as a landmark for the Southeast Asian nation. The win capped a raft of other shifts since the country’s military rulers ceded power to a quasi-civilian government last year. President U Thein Sein—a former general and one of this year’s TIME 100 honorees—has freed selected political prisoners, loosened the state’s grip on the media and signed peace agreements with ethnic rebels. But there are exceptions to the positive news from the country, notably the ongoing conflict in Kachin State.

As this series of photographs taken by Mexican photojournalist Narciso Contreras illustrates, the remote northern region is still at war. Following the collapse in June 2011 of a 17-year ceasefire between the Burmese army and ethnic Kachin rebels, violence has become an almost daily occurrence. In a recent report, Human Rights Watch claimed that the Burmese military has murdered, tortured and raped civilians. And, although they  also accuse the rebel Kachin Independence Army (KIA) of “serious abuses, including using child soldiers and antipersonnel landmines,” most of the crimes outlined in this latest report were allegedly committed by the Burmese military.

The report is based on testimony from more than 100 people living in two camps for  internally displaced people in Kachin State and across the border in China’s Yunnan province. It finds that Burmese soldiers have deliberately and indiscriminately attacked civilians, tortured children as young as 14, raped women, pillaged properties and razed homes. By the organization’s estimates, the violence has displaced some 75,000 and forced men as old as 70 into labor on the conflict’s front lines.

There have been some gestures at peace. Burmese President Sein has made repeated calls for the military to cease offensive actions in Kachin and use only defensive measures. His government has held seven rounds of talks with the KIA, most recently in the border town of Ruili. However, those talks ended without agreement last month. The government cannot control the Army, they go their own way,” said Laphai Naw Din, editor of the Thailand-based Kachin News Group.

Meanwhile, the clashes continue. Contreras’ pictures, alongside accounts by other journalists and NGO workers who have recently visited the area, show both sides preparing for a long fight. For the civilians and soldiers on the front lines, change can’t come soon enough.

Joe Jackson works at TIME’s Hong Kong bureau.

To see more recent work from Burma check out Aung San Suu Kyi’s Path to Victory by James Nachtwey

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Aung San Suu Kyi, once a prisoner, is now a parliamentarian. On April 1, the Nobel Laureate led the National League for Democracy to victory in by-elections hailed as a landmark for Burma. For five decades, the former British colony has languished under military rule, caught in the clutch of a small group of cadres. This was just the third poll since they seized power in 1962 and the first that might plausibly be called free or fair. Suu Kyi’s party swept it, claiming 43 of 44 seats.

For Suu Kyi, who spent much of the last 20 years under house arrest, the win was a stunning reversal. For her followers, it was a revelation. On the streets of Rangoon last week, the joy and relief were palpable. Supporters piled into pickup trucks, honked horns and cheered. A year ago, you could be arrested for clutching a portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi. Now, people wave her picture proudly.

James Nachtwey’s photographs from the campaign trail capture this rapturous moment, but hint, too, at challenges to come. Though voters handed a clear victory to the opposition NLD, just a small portion of parliamentary seats were at stake and reports of electoral infractions abound. The military maintains its grip on power. Poverty persists. After 50 years of authoritarian rule, it no doubt will take time for the country to find its footing. For Suu Kyi, and for Burma, there is a long road ahead.

James Nachtwey is a TIME contract photographer. Keep up with his work on his Facebook page.

Emily Rauhala is an Associate Editor at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @emilyrauhala

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The long and legendary supermodel era of the ’90s can be summed up in one gorgeous and distinct photograph: Herb Ritts’ now-iconic shot of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz and Stephanie Seymour huddled together in the nude.

But the 1989 sitting almost didn’t happen.

As Campbell recalls, Turlington was on a Calvin Klein contract and reportedly wasn’t allowed to participate. “We said, ‘How can you not be in this picture?’” Campbell says. “And she jumped in, and that was it!”

That black-and-white image is just one of nearly 80 photographs on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles as part of a new exhibition and book on the photographer. Herb Ritts: L.A. Style, on view through Aug. 12, focuses on the portraits and nudes from Ritts, who documented models, musicians, actresses and other celebrities for magazines such as Interview, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair throughout his career.

“He always had a vision about how he wanted every picture,” Campbell says. “He liked strength in his pictures, and he got you to do things that you never thought you could do. He was very encouraging and would talk to you about a picture first, and slowly get you there to where he wanted. And you’d be amazed that you even could do that. It was always a pleasure working with him. He was a complete gentleman, and I loved every picture he took of me.”

Herb Ritts—© Herb Ritts Foundation

Herb Ritts: L.A. Style is on view through Aug. 12 at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Campbell first met Ritts in the late ’80s when she was introduced by fellow model Tatitz. She would often stay with him when she visited Los Angeles, and the two later traveled together to South Africa, where Ritts captured the first photograph of the supermodel with former South African president Nelson Mandela. “He was just a really special human being, and someone that I know is dearly missed in fashion—you never see that kind of picture anymore,” Campbell says.

And while many people revere the image of the five supermodels as one of the most famous sittings in fashion photography, Campbell says they had no idea it would become so iconic. “It was just nice for us to be together,” she says. “We rarely get to do pictures together—even to this day—so it was like a catch-up time for us. We got there in the morning, had lunch and then he told us what we were going to do. It was easy—it was always easy with Herb.”

Herb Ritts: L.A. Style is on view through Aug. 12 at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the book by Paul Martineau is available here.

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