Posts tagged survivor
Posts tagged survivor
Giles Duley has been getting a lot of attention recently as the photographer who lost both his legs and an arm after stepping on a landmine in Kabul while documenting American troops in Afghanistan. Giles has been reluctant to speak about himself and his accident, but it’s the work that he’s been compiling for ten years that I really wanted to talk to him about.
VICE: Hi Giles. Can you tell me about your trip to visit the refugees on the Burma/Bangladesh border?
Giles Duley: That was exactly the kind of story that I love to work on—and I know that VICE does very similar sorts of things. Refugees were coming out of Burma and the Burmese said they were Bangladeshis while the Bangladeshis said they were Burmese. So nobody wanted them and they kept getting passed around. It was insane enough that people were starving to death and dying from basic illnesses, but even the UN wasn’t prepared to help them. It was bizarre—we were staying in Cox’s Bazar, which is the center of the Bangladeshi surfing scene, then you drive a couple of miles inland and suddenly you’re in these refugee camps.
Portrait by Jake Lewis.
The camps look a little like favelas from your photos.
Yeah. There’s an official camp, but they’re only allowed [to have] 25,000 people. So some of the asylum are forced to live below, where all the sewage from above runs down into their shacks.
Jesus. Your photos show the effects of some of the really nasty diseases caused by those conditions as well, right?
Yeah. The most basic of mistakes cost lives there. One kid had scratched her eye, which then got infected, and without antibiotics or access to local doctors, her face swelled up to the point of choking her to death. They’ve been left there some 20 years without any real help, so that’s the kind of story I want to tell. One of the village elders put the word out that I wanted to take photos, then the next day a whole mass of people brought all their injured and dying relatives. At first I thought, “Shit, they think I’m a doctor,” but then I realized they just wanted someone to tell their story. That’s when I learned that a photo can give people who are otherwise hopeless a real sense of empowerment.
You’ve spoken before about an ethical battle you’ve felt within yourself when taking challenging photos. Could you describe the inner process behind your photo of the young boy who was losing his fight to survive in Sudan?
I remember the first time I really felt it: ten years ago when I was in Angola photographing people in really shitty situations, and it hasn’t left me since. That case in Sudan was a 12-year-old boy who’d been shot in the stomach and arm. He was alone and it didn’t look like he would make it—he was just a terrified boy on his own. So yes, it’s incredibly hard to make that ultimate decision: Do you take a photograph? You tell yourself you’re there for the right reasons, and that’s important in telling the story. But, as a human being, if you didn’t feel some sort of remorse then there’d be something fundamentally wrong with you. It doesn’t seem to bother some photographers at all, though.
Mosha the elephant calf is a fan of practical jokes. Recovering at an elephant hospital after losing one of her legs to a landmine, she is constantly teasing the doctors and trainers that look after her.
Monongalia Arts Center
107 High Street
Morgantown, WV 26507
Jan. 11-26, 2013
Opening Public Reception
Friday, Jan. 11, 6-8 p.m.
PSALM student guides available from 6-7 p.m.
The Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown, W.Va. presents “A Nobel Cause: Portraits of Peace”. WVCBL/PSALM students (West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs/Proud Students Against Landmines and Cluster Bombs) painted portraits of International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) campaigners, including a painting of CISR Director Ken Rutherford.
Rutherford was a cofounder of Landmine Survivors Network, which was a leader in ICBL, and spoke as a survivor advocate in the 1990s. In October 2012, he gave a speech at West Virginia University on how medical students can alleviate the negative impact of landmines.
The exhibit also features photographs that depict a timeline celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Nobel Prize-winning ICBL.
To learn more about the Campaigns to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions, please visit:
International Campaign to Ban Landmines: www.icbl.org
United States Campaign to Ban Landmines: www.uscbl.org
West Virginia Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs: www.wvcbl.org
Kabibi Tabu, a 23-year old young woman who lost both legs and her six-month old baby in a landmine blast in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Raising Awareness: Princess Diana strokes landmine victim Sandra Tigica’s face in 1997
She was 13 and about to receive a prosthetic leg when Princess Diana visited her.
Poignant images of Sandra Tigica’s 1997 meeting with the Princess of Wales were beamed around the globe, highlighting the appalling problems in Angola, which had the world’s highest rate of death and disability caused by landmines.
Sandra’s left leg had been blown off by a landmine three years earlier as she fled from fighting in her country’s civil war.
Giles Duley gave up a life of glamour and celebrity as a fashion photographer to travel the world and document the stories of the forgotten and marginalized. While on assignment in Afghanistan he stepped on a landmine, a horrific event that left him a triple amputee. In this moving talk Duley tells us stories of peoples lost and found — including his.
Be the Change - Ken Rutherford (CISR)
Imagine for a moment that despite armistice, despite peace treaty, despite troops returning home, despite civilians resuming the rhythm of daily life, war’s devastation does not end — not for years, not for decades. It’s a reality. Around the world buried inches underground, the malignance of war remains behind in the form of landmines that kill or maim thousands each year. Landmine survivor Kenneth Rutherford, director of the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery at JMU, knows all too well the damage landmines cause and has dedicated his life to changing the reality of war.
Bui Manh Thang receiving care after trauma treatment and surgery following the accident.
Trieu Phong District, Quang Tri Province, 30 OCT 2012 – A 67-year-old man, father of a son and two daughters, and three grandchildren, on Monday afternoon suffered serious multiple injuries from unexploded ordnance (UXO) as the old man was attempting to dismantle it and sell it for scrap metal.
The explosion, around 05:00 p.m. yesterday, shocked residents of Nai Cuu Phuong Village, who rushed to the home of Bui Manh Thang and found him seriously wounded on the front porch of his house. Thang was transferred to Quang Tri Hospital for advanced trauma care. Surgeons had to amputate his right hand, and he also suffered severe injuries to his left hand, neck, jawbone, left knee and both feet.
According to Vo Phuong, a villager who lives near the house, Thang had been scavenging war scrap for years for additional income. Many times his grandchildren would be playing in the house while their parents were at work and their grandfather was dismantling UXO. This time, fortunately, the children were at school when the accident happened.
Pham Quy Thi joins a side meeting of Handicap International representatives and Vietnamese delegates to discuss a future victim assistance workshop in SE Asia.
Pham Quy Thi, a Quang Tri farmer, proud father of three children, and an amputee who lost his arm in a cluster bomb accident, had a busy week in September when he traveled to Oslo, Norway to attend the Third Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (3MSP) as a Ban Advocate.
In 1977, two years after peace had come to Vietnam, Thi was working in his rice field when he hit an unexploded cluster bomb, locally known as “bombie”. The explosion claimed his right hand and caused serious injuries to his abdomen. However, the tragic accident that turned a young man into a disabled person did not stop him from going on with a full life. Three years later Thi got married, and now he and his wife have three children, all of whom have finished college.