Who stole the innocence?~ it seems that every bit of news these days uncovers a new scandal, a terrible lie or a gross misconduct by a person of authority. It is as though virtue and authority are melting away in a puff of disillusionment. Our only hope lives in the children. Can we please leave them uncorrupted?
Image taken in Goma, Congo 2009
When faced with a hot issue in the world like guns and the recent school shooting, it is a good idea to look at the simple facts. What are guns? Why do we have them? How did it all begin?
The simple truth is that they are human fashioned killing machines. That is their sole purpose, a metal object designed to project at strong speed another metal object with the purpose of puncturing the body of another human or animal and to cause injury or death. That simple fact should halt all arguments about having them with children, near children or having them at all.
I listen the news about Syria and all the children that died in the least week to benefit a recent group of arms dealers who benefit each time there is conflict and who thrive from the misery of the less fortunate. They try to romanticize the issue and muddle it so we won’t comprehend, but it is very simple, isn’t it?
Power, greed, wealth and the personal need for self gratification without counting any cost.
Day 55 of 365~
Image taken in a back alley in Shanghai, China
They arrive to this earth relying on our coded ability to host them as they take human form. They are born tiny and helpless and it is up to us to support, care for and nurture them till they can care for themselves. They carry in them the promise and possibility of a better tomorrow. They are our most valuable assets. Why can’t we all put their wellbeing before that of wealth, power and greed?
Day 53 of 365~
Image taken of a child in the old streets of Kashgar, Xinjiang
a life she drifted into~
a rough start at life~
In Qibao, and old area of Shanghai, is a neighborhood(if you can call it that) of green lanes. Confronting realities wait there behind each door and in front of some where young women prepare to sell themselves for a living. As much as this practice is as old as civilization itself, it remains heartbreaking to witness people’s daughters going through this to survive. And most painful of all was seeing a little girl forced to grow up in that strange world of green lanes.
Syrian refugee in North Lebanon
As the west prepares to launch a missile attack on Syria in the coming days, the innocent children find themselves caught in the games of warring adults having no say as to where their life will be taking them next. More than 4000 Syrians are seeking refuge daily in Lebanon, where they make a staggering 35% of the Lebanese population today. A ticking bomb in a fragile zone, heart breaking and unfair in so many ways. If the children are the hope for our future, why are we endangering that chance?
a bucketful of possibilities~ Yunnan
Children, no matter where they were born, under which circumstances, hold the whole promise of a better future. In them are the seeds of what has not yet happened and through them the codes of originality and possibility for human development. They are our greatest asset, let’s treat them with care.
displaced destinies (a child at a migrant school in Shanghai)
Today two good friends and I went for an adventure in a remote Shanghai neighborhood where mostly migrant workers from the provinces live and where their children go to special schools. These are the workers responsible for lifting Shanghai from the ground up to soaring levels with its new high rises and luxury hotels that mushroom at an impressive speed around the jewel of China. The residences are extremely modest and the children struggle to learn as best they can under their current circumstances. On this day the teacher said that they would be celebrating children’s day (normally on June 2nd in China) and strangely enough they pointed out a few of the girls who they consider ‘beautiful’ and explained why they were dressed in party clothes and not the usual school uniform. The declaration of their beauty was done openly in front of all the other students, a concept I found incredibly alien and difficult to understand. “She is the most beautiful girl in the class” the teacher announced loudly, ” and this is why she will be presented on stage today”.
hanging in the balance~ mother and child in Yangshuo
Of all the significant issues in the world, nothing strikes as more crucial than that of the future of our children. It is them who will inherit our planet in its current state, and it is they who will have to cope with the changes that are onsetting. How do we handle the very fine balance of preparing them without weighing them down, inspiring them without hiding the reality and training them when we ourselves are not sure what to do?
It is always most powerful the first time. The first time we feel our hearts racing and fluttering, the first time we feel our breath shortening and escaping us, the first time we feel that a look can lift us off the ground and the first time we feel haunted day and night with thoughts of our love and with their presence inside of our skin at all moment of our waking and sleeping. It is powerful, passionate, wonderful, unreasonable and it scars us for life.
Egypt, 1996 is where I fell in love with photography. I had just gotten my first Pentax manual camera while living in New York (that is a whole other story), learned the basics very quickly, went to B&H photo when is still was downtown on 18th street and bought 35 rolls of film and slide film. Off I went to Egypt on the most memorable trip of my life. And like a first love this trip still lives in me and beckons me to go back and revisit it. We have to meet again.
a boy selling trinkets in Egypt, January 1996
girls baking and selling bread near Luxor, Egypt, 1996