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Zalmaï [Human Rights Watch]



Afghanistan-Switzerland    www.zalmai.com

Dreads And Dreams

Afghan-born photographer Zalmaï was forced to flee to Switzerland at the age of 15 after the 1980 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. As a freelance photographer, Zalmaï has spent years capturing the human cost of war around the world and in his home country, Afghanistan, where he also sees signs of hope. Dreads and Dreams brings together photographs Zalmaï made between 2008 and 2013 against the backdrop of the 14-year U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan that culminated in 2014 with the withdrawal of American troops.

The book presents two contrasting bodies of work. Zalmaï’s epic duotone photographs reveal the stark reality of life in Afghanistan for the millions of Afghan refugees who have returned to their country since 2002, only to find they cannot go back to their homes. They are instead forced to live in squalid conditions in makeshift refugee camps and urban slums where most live on the brink of survival, and many take refuge in drugs. In counterpoint to this series, Zalmaï presents sun-tinged color photographs that reflect the hopes and dreams of the Afghan people. Here, Zalmaï takes us away from the monumental humanitarian crisis wrought by war to reveal signs of positive life force permeating his country.

Empathetic, indignant and still hopeful, Zalmaï’s photographs draw attention to Afghanistan’s ongoing struggle, that has largely left the headlines, by focusing on the Afghan people and their lived experience of war, insecurity, chronic governmental mismanagement, corruption in a huge scale and international negligence.

The crossing

Leaving everything behind, fleeing from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq the war, the violence, the destruction on the road of hope where they have to cross borders and borders without knowing where dose borders are ending, to find some sense of security – they to have crossed mountains, rivers the cold of winter, As soonest they arrive in the European soil they have a senses of relief but where the humiliation , misunderstanding start.
My work is about the journey of those people where they’re challenging the humanity, humanity of others as the humanity was vanished from their homeland by war.