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An ex-Seleka soldier from the army of warlord General Ali Darrass stands guard at the Ndassima gold mine, the biggest in CAR. © William Daniels/Panos Pictures. 1 / 2       An ex-Seleka soldier from the army of warlord General Ali Darrass stands guard at the Ndassima gold mine, the biggest in CAR. © William Daniels/Panos Pictures.

C.A.R., a hell on earth

It is a refugee camp near the airport in Bangui that shown in a photograph of William Daniels, winner of the World.Report Award | Documenting Humanity 2016 – Master Award. But the scenario described by the image seems closer to a frame of a film on the catastrophic end of the world than in a photograph that tells the tragic reality of the Central African Republic. Camped around an old plane, groups of men and women offer a sight like an ant’s nest from hell.

A camp built by some 100,000 internally displaced people (IDP) near Bangui's Mpoko airport, who took refuge here due to the French army presence nearby.. © William Daniels/Panos Pictures.
A camp built by some 100,000 internally displaced people (IDP) near Bangui's Mpoko airport, who took refuge here due to the French army presence nearby. © William Daniels/Panos Pictures.

They are the consequences of the collapse of a nation that since its independence, won in 1960 freeing themselves from French control, has always shown a weakness that over the years has taken it to the extreme leading to the current situation in which violence has reached unimaginable limits in the absence of the state. A territory rich in extraordinary natural resources, the Central African Republic is not able to guarantee its citizens the benefits that nature has assigned to those areas. The widespread and systematic corruption has meant that the nation must be constantly supported by external interventions. Just think that Médecins sans Frontières is now the third employer in the state, making aware the dimension of the disaster in which the national health system is entirely dependent on foreign humanitarian organisations.

A child suffering from malnutrition with its mother in Yaloke, where around 500 Fulani -a Muslim tribe- live after being attacked by Anti-Balaka militiamen. © William Daniels/Panos Pictures.
A child suffering from malnutrition with its mother in Yaloke, where around 500 Fulani -a Muslim tribe- live after being attacked by Anti-Balaka militiamen. © William Daniels/Panos Pictures.

The Central African Republic has an almost non-existent justice system, inert in the face of violence in addition to the widespread chronic malnutrition and access to basic and cheap weapons: «Hand grenades, – says William Daniels – that cost the same as small candies have flooded the market and the lack of future prospects makes it easy for militias to attract young men». All this has contributed to allocate in 2014 to the Central African Republic, by the United Nations Development Programme, the unenviable title of the second least developed country in the world. The educational system has also fallen to pieces, which for at least a third of the child population is not granted access to school. And, if that does not suffice, we should not forget the refugees who have fled the country to seek refuge in Cameroon and Chad. Estimates talk about one million people, i.e. more or less one-fifth of the population of the country.

William Daniels during the guided tour of his exhibition C.A.R., set up at Palazzo Barni in Lodi. © FPmag.
William Daniels during the guided tour of his exhibition C.A.R., set up at Palazzo Barni in Lodi. © FPmag.

William Daniels's work was awarded, as already mentioned, as part of World.Report Award - Documenting Humanity in the Master Award section with the following motivation: «This is a story of a nation – a nation which is often a symbol of an entire continent – told through concise, journalistic, exacting and blunt photographs, typical of the great photojournalistic tradition. Mankind, war, destruction and hope are coherently in front of us, connected by a subtle thread made of colors and shapes. Meanwhile the pictures and the text link us to history as only photojournalism, at its greatest, can do. It is a kind of photojournalism that tells a story but does not attack the viewer, that speaks to the conscience but does not shout, that collects information without spectacularization. This work of pure and great reportage brings the onlooker before millions of lives and paints a fresco of an entire country.» [ Sandro Iovine ]

- - -
C.A.R.
by William Daniels
Palazzo Barni, corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 17 - Lodi (Italy)
8 – 30 October 2016
admission fee: 12,00 € (for all exhibitions)

Fujifilm Italia.


The video interview with William Daniels and the photo of the guided tour have been realised with equipment provided by Fujifilm Italy.


_ _ _

[ INTERNAL RESOURCES ]
[ FPtag ] Festival of Ethical Photography 2016: the editorial staff point of view
[ exhibitions ] A Life in Death by Nancy Borowick
[ video ] WRA 2016: data and perspectives: interview with Aldo Mendichi
[ exhibitions ] Snapshots of a utopia by Francesco Comello
[ meltingpot ] Fujifilm Italia and the culture of the image
[ exhibitions ] The Ku Klux Klan by Peter Van Agtmael
[ video ] A project for schools: interview with Laura Covelli
[ video ] The confirmation of an ethics: interview with Alberto Prina
[ events ] Festival of Ethical Photography 2016
[ contest ] World.Report Award 2016: the winners
[ contest ] World.Report Award 2016: finalists
[ contest ] World.Report Award 2016: rules
[ FPtag ] Festival of Ethical Photography 2015: the editorial staff point of view

[ EXTERNAL RESOURCES ]
Festival of Ethical Photography
William Daniels
Fujifilm Italia

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published on 2016-11-06 in NEWS / EXHIBITIONS

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