Archive for September 11

Upstairs, Downstairs

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2012 by stevemccurry

Burma

For centuries, stairs have symbolized journeys, rites of passage,
transitions,
and stages of  life in art, literature, and music.

Tibet

My Soul. I summon to the winding ancient stair;
Set all your mind upon the steep ascent,
Upon the broken, crumbling battlement,
Upon the breathless starlit air,
‘Upon the star that marks the hidden pole;
Fix every wandering thought upon
That quarter where all thought is done:
Who can distinguish darkness from the soul
William Butler Yeats

Italy

Stairs are climbed step by step.
– Turkish Proverb

Kashmir

Children’s stories tell tales of boys and girls discovering treasures upstairs in the
attic and fearing what is downstairs in the basement.

Afghanistan

Faith is taking the first step even when
you don’t see the whole staircase.

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Burma

Morocco

India 

Man, unlike anything organic or inorganic in the universe,
grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts,
emerges ahead of his accomplishments.
– John Steinbeck

Italy

Jodhpur, India

My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be
through Earth’s loveliness.
– Michelangelo

Italy

Mt. Popa, Burma
The stairway climbs a 300-foot lava plug crowned by Buddhist temples.

Serbia

Mother to Son
Well, Son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor –
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now –
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
- Langston Hughes

New York, September 12, 2001 

Japan 

New York

Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where i sit.
there isn’t any
other stair
quite like
it.
i’m not at the bottom,
i’m not at the top;
so this is the stair
where
I always
stop.

Halfway up the stairs
Isn’t up
And it isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn’t really
Anywhere!
It’s somewhere else
Instead!
A.A. Milne

Italy

Haiku
Steep steps
Uneven treads
Life
- bmv

India 

Iraq 

India 

Afghanistan

In Memoriam

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 9, 2010 by stevemccurry

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I had just returned from Tibet the night before. I had not unpacked my luggage or camera bag. Shortly after nine o’clock when I heard of the attack, I went up on the roof of my apartment building and watched both towers billowing smoke.

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I photographed the second tower collapsing at 10:28 AM. After shooting from the top of my building, I walked down to Ground Zero at noon, and stayed until late that night when all my film was gone, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave.

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Later,  as I walked back home, I was struck at how life slowly seemed to come back to near normal the further you walked away from Ground Zero. It was strange listening to conversations of people who seemed to be unaware of the magnitude of this incredible event. I wanted to go up and shake people and say, “Don’t you realize that this is probably the most important day in your life?’”

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This is a photograph on the morning of September 12th, of search-and-rescue teams.

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View of the lobby of Two World Financial Centre

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I was amazed by the vast amount of office paper and dust all over lower Manhattan.

Rationale, Rationalization, and Illogic

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2010 by stevemccurry
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World Trade Center Collapse, September 11, 2001

Immediately after the atrocity at the World Trade Center on 9/11, we went into Afghanistan to find Osama Bin Laden, to root out Al Qaeda and  the Taliban which was protecting it, and to fight the “war on terror”.

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Nine years later, we are not only still there, but by almost anyone’s calculation, we are losing.  The Taliban has been able to strike in the capital numerous times, the general in charge of the troops has been relieved of his duty for intemperate comments about his superiors and the situation in general, and the signs of improvement are few and far between.

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The rationale for the mission has lurched from one rationale to another,  and officials in Washington and in Kabul all try to explain what we are trying to accomplish.   We have been told it is to keep the streets safe in America.  It has been said that we are there to give breathing room to the Afghan government to build up their own forces.  We hear that we are there to help build Afghan institutions so that the country can have a civil society.  How does that square with the facts now?

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According to the AP and ABC, CIA Director Leon Panetta said on Sunday there may be fewer than 50 al-Qaida fighters in Afghanistan. Panetta said, “I think the estimate on the number of Al Qaeda is actually relatively small. At most, we’re looking at 50 to 100, maybe less. It’s in that vicinity.”

President Barack Obama wants U.S. forces in Afghanistan to “disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda.” About U.S. 98,000 troops will be in Afghanistan by fall.

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“It’s a curious thing about Afghanistan: every time a politician makes the case for why we need to stay, he or she ends up making the case for why we should leave.  And he thinks he’s making a case for staying! It’s truly bizarre how many in Washington are describing the situation in Afghanistan accurately, but then fail to draw the most obvious conclusion based on what they’ve just said.” (Ariana Huffington)

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Panetta said less than a week ago:Our purpose, our whole mission there, is to make sure that Al Qaeda never finds another safehaven from which to attack this country. That’s the fundamental goal of why the United States is there.”

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If there are fewer than one hundred members of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and if eliminating Al Qaeda is truly the main objective, the costs are staggering in human lives and in scarce dollars that we can not afford.  The U.S. has paid more than 300 billion dollars and the costs keep skyrocketing.

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General Petreus says that we will win this war, but what does winning mean?  Kandahar is still a Taliban stronghold nine years after the start of the war.  Unfortunately, there are too many questions and too few answers.

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The “Q” word – quagmire – has been mentioned a lot recently.  How much time has to elapse before we know if we are in a quagmire?  If the definition is “a difficult, precarious, or entrapping position, a predicament”  we are already in one.

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We all want Afghans to live in a peaceful society, and to be able to raise their families in security and safety.  We want Afghan children to get a proper education which will give them a future.  We want women to live without the fear which they suffered under during the Taliban years.

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The problem is, that it is difficult to see how adding more troops will achieve that goal.  It seems to be doing the opposite since in the last nine years more boots on the ground have not produced security for Afghans.

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Unsung Heroes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2010 by stevemccurry
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Jaipur, India, May, 2008

World Health day is coming up in early April,  and it seems like a good time to shine a light on health workers of the world,  the unsung heroes who run toward disasters when everyone else is running away.

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Uganda, 2001

These are the people who deliver babies, comfort the dying, treat the sick, and put themselves in harm’s way.
Health workers risk their lives when they treat people with drug-resistant TB, Ebola, Marburg, and injured people in war zones. They refuse to give up even when it looks like all hope is lost.

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New York City, USA, 2005

 

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Thai Nguyen province, Vietnam, 2007

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Uganda, 2001


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Russia, 2009


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Kandahar, Afghanistan, 1985

 

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Helsinki, Finland, April, 2008

I have been privileged to observe many nurses, doctors, hospice caretakers, first aid teams, rehabilitation centers, and emergency personnel at work over the years.

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New York City, September 11, 2001

Here are a few of those heroes.

Remembering First Responders on 9/11

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 11, 2009 by stevemccurry

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