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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”