With the horrific violence in Central African Republic still going on, UNICEF estimates that some 6000 children are forced to serve as child soldiers; 7 out of 10 children in CAR stop going to school and the conflict forced aid agencies to stop the malnutrition treatment programs. With only one pedriatic hospital in the country , located in Bangui, medical care has become almost impossible to access. Aid agencies also report that children have increasingly become victims of direct vicious attacks.
The children in these images made the trip to safety across the Oubagui river and now live in Boyabu refugee camp in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Out of almost 60,000 people who fled the Central African Republic across the Oubangui River to the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 29,000 live in refugee camps – about one-third of whom are under the age of 18.
Around Najma Souq in Doha, Qatar.
The coolest two guys I’ve seen. This was in Zongo, a town without electricity or running water on the shores of the Oubanqui river. The river marks the border between Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.
25th Dec, 2013. Christmas morning, when people all over the world celebrate and enjoy, Pungesti community was questioning the democracy in Romania (EU member and Schengen Area aspiring country) and wondered when they will be listened to by the politicians they previously trusted and voted for (that so aggressively campaigned against such destructive projects before the elections) hoping they will start defending their rights and care for the country’s future rather than for their own pockets.
As soon as I entered the village I understood what was the general feeling during the communist era in Romania. I was greeted by a police road block that checked every person’s id. I felt privileged my driver and I didn’t have to put on the effort of pulling out our id’s from our back pockets. Sure it had something to do with the fact that I have announce my presence a week in advance , and to add to the communist era feeling ,authorities weren’t keen on making a bad impression. Driving around the only paved road of this village where most of the people have long crossed their 60Th birthday, I was impressed with the police forces deployed there to defend the “mighty and generous” Chevron from the fury of a handful of angry senior citizens.
I was touched by the reaction of my driver as we were cruising along. He was a bit surprised by all the commotion around saying that ” he hasn’t seen such a high number of riot police gathered in one place since the 1989 Romanian revolution against the communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu”. Trying to have short conversations with the villagers , I was shocked at the fear installed in them by the intimidation techniques employed by the authorities. An old man, fetching water from a well down the road, was clearly scared to talk out loud. ” We were beaten and unlawfully fined by the police, we can not walk on the road in groups of more than 2-3 people, they even searched our houses in the middle of the night and threatened us” he whispered leaning in. A shop keeper, recognizing I am not a local and before I could say good morning, was quick on letting me know, upon me entering to buy a coffee, that he has no clue of what is happening in the village, he knows nothing of whom the protesters are or anything else I might be interested to know about the protests.
The people of Pungesti took matters into their own hands and started protesting against the oil giant Chevron and the shale gas fracking project so vehemently promoted by Romanian government. On 2nd Dec , 2013 and after months of protests, the first scuffle took place between protesters and riot police. The Vaslui district prefect ordered a road to be cleared after being blocked by peasants worried about their treasured land and water sources being polluted by the controversial fracking procedure that Chevron will use in their quest for profits from shale gass. On Dec 17th after the bruises (obtained during the previous encounter mainly from pushing and being dragged on the ground by police) healed , people took stand again against the police forces defending the corporation that was allowed to poison their future. This time the scuffle turned into a brawl with grandparents and environmental activists fighting riot police and managing to destroy the fence that surrounded Chevron’s installation. This opened the road for the head of Vaslui District Police (Pungesti village belongs to Vaslui District) to declare Pungesti a zone of “special security for public safety” (it is worth mentioning that the law states that such measure should be taken when on a relatively small area are concentrated illegal elements like extreme violence, drug trafficking, prostitution etc) . Ironically, the inhabitants of the village seemed to be under threat from the huge number of police forces deployed in the area that used threats and fines, arrests and all sort of wired accusations as intimidation methods to deter land owners, farmers and simple peasants from protesting.
Hunger strike is now considered the last resort as people are decided to continue the fight for their rights and freedom, for their land and precious water sources (which they harvest through old fashioned wells scattered around the village) not be polluted by the greed of a handful of corupted politicians (starting with the the district council president Dumitru Buzatu and ending with the Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta). People like Alexandru Popescu ( who took his protest to the capital city of Bucharest and now he is in his 22nd day of hunger strike) and few Pungesti residents have decided to continue their huger strike till their demands for a democratic, free and just Romania are met, Chevron stops their activities and corrupted politicians and policemen guilty of abuses against protesters are brought to justice. They hope that people will once again come together and fight for what they believe in, for a free and democratic Romania and for a healthy future for their children.
“..Etienne Charles exhibits both an authentic preservation of the music of his native culture of Trinidad as a composer and band leader, while broadening our scope of understanding through the collaborative sound of American jazz as it meets new colours, new textures, and new motifs across the world. It will certainly bring more of our public into the jazz audience” – Marcus Roberts
“An amazing Trumpet player, and Steel Drum player, and Cuatro player…young Trinidadian who has held onto his heritage” – Monty Alexander
“A daring improviser, Charles also delivers with heart-wrenching lyricism” – Jazz Times
“…had strength and a clear, almost classical sense of thematic organization.” – New York Times
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
Grand Canyon, 2013
Oceanside, CA – 2013
This is me…at times selfish, stranger to jealousy, an incurable dreamer (and to quote an wonderful person) with an old soul, forged through life but yet just as frail as any other person, knowing it all and knowing nothing, often confused and always looking for a good argument. With no political views other than politeness and common sense, and no religious views other than kindness and love. I am hated but I can not hate. I have no regrets , just few things that maybe I would have been better not doing . I am not racist but I do make use of the obvious stereotypes if they are funny enough. A joke is a joke, and if you can not take it ,that’s your problem. I try not to offend but I am straight forward. I am just as crazy as everybody else . I believe in second chances and I believe in you, all of you.
I don’t aspire to be a millionaire, but I wouldn’t hate it if I was one.
I can’t get my dog back (long story…) but I will get another dog one day, when I will settle in my dream house with a complete and functioning Bar on the first floor, built on a beach or in the middle of the forest not too far out from the city (I prefer the forest…), just far enough to have some peace and quiet (told you I dream big…). I might be getting a couple of cats as well.
I have learned that you can have all the riches of the world,you can achieve all your dreams and more, but all will be in vain if you have nobody to share it with, if you don’t have somebody that can and wants to sweeten it all.
As I said, human after all !
“I didn’t write this to get some attention or to seek approval. I wrote it because I firmly believe we all should share more of what and how we feel so we know we are not alone and to learn from one another. People don’t talk about themselves anymore because they fear judgement.”
She walks her tempting figure through the shadow of the moment waking lust in the souls of the mortals. Her beauty plays with the impossible and challenges the imagination of the weak. Her smell spreads a gust of desire and temptation and her cracking shell tingles the senses. In her life, this is just a passing moment. Once the shell breaks apart, it reveals nothing. All that existed once is gone ; there is no essence . Nothing…just the temptation of that moment in time when she walked her ghostly body to be admired and desired. Her superficiality disappears without trace in the ever-changing complexity of existence.