Selahattin Demirtaş: release order upon release order, but still in jail

Legally speaking, Selahattin Demirtaş should have been freed from prison three times already. Also legally speaking, he shouldn’t have been jailed in the first place.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said so and a Turkish court said so. Despite that, the former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is not a free man. Meanwhile, on Sept. 18, the ECHR will look at the case again. Demirtaş’s team of lawyers have high expectations for the hearing.

Continue reading on Ahval!

In Syria, lack of international recognition for Raqqa’s civilian administration hampering reconstruction

On 17 October 2019, it will be two years since the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) declared victory over Islamic State (ISIS) in Raqqa, which since 2014 had been the capital of the self-proclaimed ‘caliphate’. Tens of thousands of people who left the city before the final battle have now returned. But life is far from easy: most of the buildings are in ruins, there is no electricity and IS sleeper cells still pose a threat. Crucially, a lack of international recognition of the city’s civilian administration is hampering reconstruction.

The predominant colour in Raqqa is grey. Grey is the colour of destruction, the colour of bomb-blasted walls and of collapsed roofs that hang suspended like curtains. Anything that had colour in the destroyed buildings – carpets, furniture, personal belongings – are covered with a layer of grey rubble and dust.

Continue reading on Fanack!

Are you close to vomiting?

‘The Act of Killing’ is by far the most overwhelming film I have ever seen. It was recommended to me by the lecturers in my International Journalism Master’s as an example of a documentary film in which the unexpected form, re-enactment, is exceptionally well chosen. It is, but the film hit me mostly because of its content. All the violence was re-enacted, but revealed a shocking truth.

Continue reading on my Patreon page!

Moet u al bijna kotsen?

‘The Act of Killing’ is met afstand de meest overweldigende film die ik ooit heb gezien. Hij werd me getipt door docenten van mijn master-opleiding ‘International Journalism’ als voorbeeld van een film waarbij de onverwachte vorm, namelijk re-enactment, uitzonderlijk goed gekozen is. Dat is het, maar de film heeft me vooral inhoudelijk een oplawaai gegeven. Al het geweld was nagespeeld, maar legde een schokkende werkelijkheid bloot.

Lees verder op Frontaal Naakt!

In Turkey, attack on democracy continues with removal of Kurdish mayors

The mayors of Diyarbakir, Van and Mardin were elected with more than 50 per cent of the vote in local elections on 31 March 2019. Yet on 19 August, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) announced it had removed them from office and appointed local governors in their place. Several government officials, including Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, stated that the mayors needed to be replaced because they were misusing their positions to support terrorism, referring to the mayors’ alleged ties to the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Continue reading on Fanack!

Syrian photographer documents destruction by walking tightrope

His absolute independence is what saved him in all the years that he stayed in Raqqa, the Syrian city where photographer Aboud Hamam was born and raised and that he refused to leave, even during the years that Isis was in charge. Under the current rule, he finally let go of his pseudonym for years, Nur Firat. “I miss Nur Firat sometimes,” Hamam said during a recent interview in Raqqa. “He achieved a lot.”

Keep reading at Index on Censorship!

Raqqa recovers and wants recognition

A plastic plate with pink flowers is floating in the small water basin underneath the trees on the northern bank of the Euphrates. On its rim small glasses of fresh tea are standing. Five broken plastic chairs around it. In one of the trees a yellow garden hose is wrapped around a branch. Tiny holes have been punched in it so a soft, lukewarm rain descends upon the tea drinkers. Welcome to the paradise of photographer Aboud Hamam.

He comes here every day. The shade and the vapour make the summer heat bearable. The city can’t be seen from here, but its people can. Cars and trucks pass the newly repaired bridge and boys jump from it into the strong current of the river. On the southern pebbled beach a few cars are parked. In the water close to the bank women float in their colourful clothes and boys and girls splash about in their underwear. The men are watching and smoking, in the water no higher than their knees.

For Dutch weekly groene Amsterdammer I made a big story about the reconstruction of Raqqa, the former ‘capital’ of the ISIS ‘caliphate’. I translated the story and put it on my Patreon page! No paywall, you can read the story for free here, but why don’t you become my Patron too?

Raqqa krabbelt op – Terug naar kleur

Er drijft een rozegebloemd plastic bord in het waterbassin onder de bomen op de noordelijke oever van de Eufraat. Op de rand staan glaasjes met verse thee. Vijf kapotte plastic stoelen eromheen. In een van de bomen is een gele tuinslang om een tak gewikkeld. Er zijn gaatjes in geprikt zodat er een zacht, lauwig regentje over de theedrinkers neerdaalt. Welkom in het paradijs van fotograaf Aboud Hamam.

Hij komt hier elke dag. De schaduw en de regen maken de zomerhitte draaglijk. De stad is vanaf hier niet zichtbaar, maar zijn mensen wel. Er rijden auto’s en vrachtwagens over de gerepareerde brug en jongens springen er vanaf, de sterke stroming van de rivier in. Op de zuidelijke kiezeloever staan enkele auto’s geparkeerd. In het water langs de kant drijven vrouwen met hun kleurige kleren aan en spetteren jongens en meisjes in ondergoed. De mannen staan erbij te roken, hooguit tot hun knieën in het water.

Lees verder bij de Groene Amsterdammer! Deze grote reportage staat ook in de papieren Groene en die ligt nog tot woensdag 21 augustus in de winkel!