A PHOTO ESSAY OF RESILIENCE

I was in Baghdad in 2002; as all my Iraqi colleagues and friends, I spent months glued to the news trying to read what was going to happen. At some point it became evident that sooner or later the war was going to break out. I recall being astonished when I saw people attempting to continue their daily lives as normally as possible. Iraqis started to store basic supplies at home in anticipation of the war: water, flour, sugar, fuel – but you could still see them working, walking in the streets, eating outside. That made you think, “What else can you do when you have no choice?”

There are lives running parallel to the conflict, something not often seen on the news. There are children playing and laughing, men getting together for a chat, women expressing their femininity... these little joys and the beauty of life continue despite tragedy which besets innocent people. That is what I try to reflect in my pictures. The following images were taken in Darfur 2005-2007, Afghanistan 2010-2011 and the refugee camps of Dadaab and Kakuma in Northern Kenya 2011-2012. In Afghanistan, Darfur, and Somalia war has been raging since the turn of the century. A sad combination of inherent poverty and conflict has resulted in a massive loss of life, and unimaginable suffering of their people. The humanitarian crises in those places continues with diminishing political and media attention, leaving vulnerable populations to endure life as it comes with all of its harsh realities. I hope these pictures do justice to the spirit and resilience of those people affected by violence and conflict.

Diego Fernandez Gabaldon