Archive for Hazaras

Outsiders

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2012 by stevemccurry

Refugee Camp, Peshawar, Pakistan


While every refugee’s story is different and their anguish personal,
they all share a common thread of uncommon courage:
the courage not only to survive,
but to persevere and rebuild their shattered lives.
– Antonio Guterres

Afghan refugee, Pakistan

I know how men in exile feed on dreams.
- Aeschylus

Refugee camp, Thailand

Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me.
― Carlos Fuentes

Kabul, Afghanistan

Italy

God dances with the outcast.
– Steven James

USA

The majority of Americans, who are comparatively well-off,
have developed an ability to have enclaves of people living in the greatest
misery almost without noticing them.
– Gunnar Myrdal  

France

Gypsy Boy, Marseille, France

Gypsy Family, India

The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Afghanistan

War’s toll is etched on the faces at a shelter for the mentally ill in Kabul.

Prison, Pul-e-Khumri

Afghanistan

Seek Love …
In the darkness of night and the winter’s snow,
In the naked and outcast, seek Love there!
– William Blake


USA

California, USA

In an expanding universe, time is on the side of the outcast.
Those who once inhabited the suburbs of human contempt find that
without changing their address they eventually live in the metropolis.
– Quentin Crisp

USA

Thailand

 Being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.
-  Mother Teresa

USA

 India 

Philippines

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 Burma

On members of the faithful:
They receive the wretched.  They take strangers into their houses. 
They comfort the sad.  They lend to the needy.  They clothe the naked.
They share their bread with the hungry.  They do not turn their face from the poor.
  This is the kind of brotherhood we teach.
Menno Simons (1496 – 1561) Founder of the Mennonites

Hazara man, Afghanistan

Hazaras have long been seen as outsiders in Afghan society,
routinely subject to discrimination, and set apart by both their features and their Shiite religion,
in a land where the majority practice the Sunni faith.

Hazara girl, Afghanistan

Only the Educated are Free

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2011 by stevemccurry
I’ve been working in Afghanistan for thirty years.  I covered the Russian invasion and withdrawal, the civil wars, the rise and fall of the Taliban.
AFGHN-10260-(1)  Mujahadeen Fighters, Nuristan, 1979
 
It seems that each time I return, control of a province or a city  has changed hands.  It was working in Afghanistan which taught me a lot about being a photographer.
BIO-10118Afghanistan, 1979
 
 
War and turmoil are a way of life in Afghanistan. One thing that is guaranteed, Afghanistan will endure anything and everything. The people who murmur Inshallah (God willing) don’t bet on tomorrow, but strive each day to survive and take care of their families.
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Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 2007
 A Hazara boy has transformed old car tires into buckets.
 After working in the Bamiyan province and seeing the dire stuation of the Hazara people,  I founded ImagineAsia to work in partnership with local community leaders and regional NGO’s to help provide educational resources for students at all levels, from elementary schools to high schools and universities.
We are happy and proud to welcome Freshta, a  young Afghan student from Bamiyan, Afghanistan, who has received a full scholarship from Goucher College in Maryland.  ImagineAsia worked with the Afghan Girls Financial Assistance Fund.  Our joint efforts were successful in  bringing her here to study pre-med.
Freshta, Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C.
January, 2011
 
  
 
Ali Aqa lives in Bamiyan Province near Band-e-Amir. His family is poor, his clothes used, but this 15-year-old  isn’t deterred:  He plans to be a lawyer. Childhood memories include Taliban occupation of his village in Bamiyan.
“They burned everything, even my school,” he says. “I pray to God no regime comes like that again.  After seeing my picture of him in the National Geographic article on the Hazaras, many people wrote to me who would like to help him.  ImagineAsia is working to ensure that he also receives a college education.
AFGHN-12818Ali Aqa, Bamiyan Province
“The Hazaras are producing the most enthusiastic, educated, forward-looking youth, who are seizing the opportunities provided by the new situation.”
- Michael Semple, Deputy to the European Union special representative to Afghanistan in 2004 – 2007.
 
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/02/afghanistan-hazara/mccurry-photography.html
“We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say that only the educated are free.”  –  Epictetus

Boy Found After Three-Year Search

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 12, 2010 by stevemccurry

In 2006 and 2007  I was on assignment for the National Geographic Magazine for a story on the Hazaras of Afghanistan.   I traveled west of Bamiyan City to a small village near the lakes at Band-e-Amir, Afghanistan’s first national park.

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Lake at Band-e-Amir 2002

I was visiting a school when I photographed this boy, Ali Aqa, who wants to grow up and be a lawyer.  When the story was published, many people around the world wanted to help him achieve his dream, but it has taken years to find him.

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Ali Aqa, 2007

His family is poor, his clothes used, but 15-year-old Ali Aqa isn’t deterred: He plans to be a lawyer. Childhood memories include Taliban occupation of his village in Bamiyan. “They burned everything, even my school,” he says. “I pray to God no regime comes like that again.” We have now located him with the help of the UNAMA (United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan) and school officials.  We are in the process of working with local educators to help him prepare to start his college education when he graduates from high school next year.

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Qala-e Sabzi, Bamiyan Province, Afghanistan, 2007.

There is nothing more gratifying than helping people whom I have photographed because most often, it is impossible to locate them again.

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Bamiyan City, Afghanistan 2002

 

Blood and Smoke in Hazarajat

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by stevemccurry

Danger for the Taliban’s Favorite Victims

As the Taliban fights to make a comeback in Afghanistan, no group is in more danger than the Hazaras.  The Taliban’s favorite victims, hundreds of Hazara families froze to death while fleeing  their villages during winter attacks by the Taliban.

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Hazaras work in a candy factory in Kabul, 2006

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Farmers work in front of empty Buddha niches where the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas that had stood for over a thousand years in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 2002

During its reign, the Taliban wreaked destruction and  on as many Hazara communities as they could. Scores of Hazara villages were totally destroyed and their people killed or left to search for shelter from the harsh environment of the Hindu Kush Mountains.

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Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 2006

Persecuted for centuries, the Hazaras, Shiite Muslims, and protectors of the Buddhist treasures in Bamiyan for a thousand years, have been persecuted, tortured, and slaughtered, but the ravages of the Taliban are only one chapter in the long history of discrimination and abuse.

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Hazara Girl, Kabul, 2002

A local official commented that their history has been characterized by “blood and smoke.”   He said that the pain is still in his heart because of the thousands that were slaughtered or died trying to escape.

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Hazara School Boys, Bamiyan, 2002

Although most Hazaras live in central Afghanistan, the land they refer to as Hazarajat, the Hazaras who migrated to Kabul looking for work make up a large underclass, which takes jobs that other groups refuse – as bearers, street sweepers and other common laborers, the jobs that are referred to as “Hazara occupations.”  They are seen and insulted as “donkeys.”

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Hazara man pulling cart past a burning house, Kabul, Afghanistan, 1985

AFGHN-12818

Bamiyan, Afghanistan. 2007

His family is poor, his clothes used. But 15-year-old Ali Aqa isn’t deterred: He plans to be a lawyer. Childhood memories include Taliban occupation of his village in Bamiyan. “They burned everything, even my school,” he says. “I pray to God no regime comes like that again.

This fascinating and resilient people hopes to have a place at the table of Afghanistan’s government, but whatever happens in the central government in Kabul, these brave and independent people will continue to struggle for survival and dignity.

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