News / Arts & Entertainment

Photos Highlight Syrian Refugees in Jordan, Displaced Persons in S. Sudan

Photos Highlight Syrian Refugees in Jordan, Displaced Persons in South Sudani
X
July 13, 2013 12:23 AM
Renowned photographer Sebastian Rich has spent much of his career traveling around the world documenting the plight of people in war and conflict. In Washington, an exhibit of his work called "Broken Lives" highlights Syrian refugees in Jordan and civilians caught in the fighting in South Sudan. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Deborah Block
Renowned photographer Sebastian Rich has spent much of his career traveling around the world documenting the plight of people in war and conflict.  In Washington, an exhibit of his work called "Broken Lives" highlights Syrian refugees in Jordan and civilians caught in the fighting in South Sudan. 

Rich calls himself “a photojournalist in the right place at the wrong time.”  He has photographed and filmed every major conflict during the past 40 years.  He’s been wounded, kidnapped and held hostage.  But that has not stopped him from getting involved in the stories of the people he photographs.

“The pride, the hope, and the dignity that’s left, because when a refugee becomes a refugee usually they have absolutely nothing, only the shirts on their back when they cross the no-man’s land into the host country," he said. "But what struck me, what they do have left is their pride and dignity.”

Rich is known for his haunting images, especially of children, like a Syrian boy who was just crossing into Jordan.

He says he wants to remind people that anyone can become a refugee.

“In Syria, for instance, these refugees are coming from the city," he said. "They’re not farmers.  They’re politicians, lawyers, doctors, policeman, soldiers, coming to be a refugee for the first time.”

He took the photos for the U.N. refugee agency.  The organization’s U.S. representative, Shelly Pitterman, says the pictures reflect the plight of refugees everywhere.

“You see the trauma in some, the sadness, the loss, the fear that refugees around the world experience," he said.  "But at the same time, you see an element of hope.”

That hope, Rich says, is reflected in a South Sudan refugee camp, where villagers fled to escape fighting between the government and rebel forces.  He says one Syrian refugee, who came to Jordan with nothing, would not let her situation destroy her life.

“And within a few months, she had set up an unbelievably wedding dress hire business in a tin shack," he said. "Where she got the dresses from, I have no idea, but she hires out these ballgowns for weddings, and she does manicures and pedicures in a refugee camp.  That’s fantastic.”

Rich says he appreciates the refugees who let him photograph them, even in their darkest moments, like one Sudanese woman whose son died soon after they reached the refugee camp.  

“The camera is incredibly close to her face," he said. "And even after all the years of sticking my rather intrusive lens into people’s quintessential moments of terror, I wanted to back off, but she wouldn’t let me, and she said through the translator, 'I want my story told, I want my son to be remembered.'”

Rich also got the chance to do something he’d never done before - photograph refugees who have settled in the United States, like a seven-year-old girl from Sudan who is in a class learning about the American flag.

“I went to photograph her and she just held up a little bit of paper with her coloring in of the U.S. flag, and she’s got her shawl over her head, and for me, that was just a wonderful picture,” he said.

The U.N. refugee agency hopes Rich's pictures will bring awareness to the plight of all refugees, especially those in Syria and South Sudan.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Trumpeter, percussionist and bandleader Etienne Charles was born in Trinidad and blends island rhythms with modern jazz. He and his stellar band perform a rich gumbo of jazz, calypso, reggae, and rock-steady that Charles calls “Creole Soul” on "The Hamilton Live."