Belgium, Social Civil Resistance

John Vink /MAPS Images


The elections of Donald Trump, the Brexit, the Islamic State threats, the war in Ukraine, the emergency of totalitarianism in S.E. Asia, are just a few of scary symptoms of a rising intolerance and polarisation of society. Be it to question trade deals, employment, globalisation, foreign policy, immigration issues and in general everything which curtails civil society, the Belgian citizens express their democratic rights and resist. There is no real democracy without a vibrant opposition.


John Vink, born in Belgium in 1948, studied photography at a fine arts school in 1968 and began working as a freelance journalist 3 years later. He joined Agence Vu in 1986 and was awarded the Eugene Smith Award for his work ‘Water in the Sahel’, a photo-essay on the management of water South of the Sahara. Between 1987 and 1993 he compiled a work on refugees around the world and published ‘Réfugiés’ in 1994. John Vink became a full member of Magnum Photos in 1997. In 1993 he started working on ‘Peuples d’en Haut’, a series of chronicles about communities living in mountainous areas, published in 2004. He was based in Cambodia from 2000 to 2016 and published ‘Avoir 20 Ans à Phnom Penh’ that year. In 2012 he publishes ‘Quest for Land’ for the iPad, a compilation of 11 years on land issues in Cambodia (, followed by a series of e-books for the iPad and Apple computers: ’30 Years for a Trial’, ‘Same Same’, ‘A Fine Thread’, and ‘Hearths of Resistance’ ( He left Magnum in 2016 and joined MAPS in 2017 and is now based in Brussels. Instagram feed: @vinkjohn