Young Syrian girl in Camp Zacharia in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Growing up in an unofficial camp. Surviving by collecting scrap in the close by area.
Young Syrian boy in Camp Zacharia in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Growing up in an unofficial camp. Surviving by collecting scrap in the close by area.
“I’m just sad... We are very worried and are having troubles sleeping at night. Being old affects us, and we feel like we don’t have a future…” Mira Jan fled Afghanistan because of Taliban. He was subject to their prosecution due to his religion and ethnicity. He fled together with his wife and arrived in Denmark in 2009. When this photo was taken (2015) Mira Jan was 84 and his wife 74. At that time they had been living in 3 different camps in Denmark waiting for their case to be settled for 5 years.
“I kept telling them, I’m a farmer! I’m a farmer... But they wouldn’t listen” - Adel (41) - a farmer from Daraa. A victim of torture. His teeth were pulled out one by one to make him confess falsely. This was only one of many torture methods he experienced during his captivity. I met Adel and his family in one of Amman's urban areas, where displaced Syrians struggle to survive. Before they fled to Jordan Adel spend time as an inmate in Assad’s torture chambers twice. The first time for 6 months. The second time for 4 months. When he was about to end up in the prison for the 3rd time the family fled. Adel survived an overcrowded cell filled with more than 80 people. People kept in a dirty space of approximately 3x4 M2. Standing most of the time shoulder to shoulder. Only wearing underpants. Sometimes naked. Food and water were limited and sleeping wasn’t allowed, leaving the prisoners with little rest. Daily beatings and creative methods of torture with all kinds of instruments were something they had to endure. People died. Of course... Today Adel can’t breathe or move without pain and agony, because of broken ribs, (never treated), and a bad heart. Soldiers had been standing on his skinny body in the prison when he was lying in the dirt. Now the family lives in extreme poverty in Jordan. The only heating in their poor apartment is a movable petroleum heater placed on the floor. They have little clothes and only eat a small meal once or twice a day. Money is short... Too many mouths to feed. Too many souls to keep warm.
Rawan fled the brutal war and regime in Syria. I had decided to find out and understand what the whol refugee crisis was all about and started spending all my time in asylumcenters and studying refugee ‘issues’ at first hand. It turned out that with the war in Syria love also came to my doorstep. Today almost 5 years later we try to push the limits, create an understanding, build bridges, give an insight and bring attention to displaced people and human rights through our work. This, our love story and a whole lot more will be addressed when we are invited as guest speakers in a moderated interview at @amnestydanmark’s annual meeting on April 27. in Nyborg, Denmark at #HotelNyborgStrand. Thanks to Amnesy for inviting us. Looking forward to be part of this imortant meeting.
”To survive in a prison like this you have to convince yourself it is your home” - Salem Mdlala, survivor from al-Mezzeh Prison. One of Bashar Al-Assad's torture chambers in Syria. I have met him in Istanbul several times where I have interviewed and portrayed him. Read the full story here: https://www.refugee.today/torture/al-mezzeh-prison-a-torture-chamber Salem Mdlala was tortured and held captive for 8 months in one of Assad’s torture chambers in Syria, (2012). The reason was because he had been live streaming demonstrations to Al Jazeera English. By luck Salem was released from prison. He decided to go back to Ghouta and document the war crimes committed and the situation for the people living there with his camera. 3 years later Ghouta was besieged and the situation got even worse. His wife and two son's fled to Lebanon. Salem stayed to continue his work. Today Salem hasn't seen his family since they parted on February 25, 2016. He is displace in Turkey. They are still in Lebanon. Their family life is now lived through the phone and on the screen of his Samsung he watches his sons grow up. Read Salem’s story and get an insight into the dark sides of torture and the hard separation of refugees of today. HELP SALEM HERE: https://gogetfunding.com/help-me-back-to-work-as-a-photographer Portrait of Salem Mdlala by Martin Thaulow.
Looong journey... Back at last!
In July 2012 Rawan was forced to flee Syria as her life was threatened. 10 days befor fleeing she wrote this poem as a farewell to family and friends. The eye is full of tears as I’m writing these words time has come my heart is broken don’t blame my misery my sorrow your closeness is carved in my heart years rush away memories whirling how I wished to stay in the shadow of fellows tree whose blossoms heal the soul alas! It’s the moment I feared the most I shall follow my destiny to a foreign land All I wish is your forgivness to err is human but to forgive is divine. أخط كلماتي والعين دامعة على فرقاكم والقلب مفطور لا تعذلوني على بؤسي وانكساري فودي لكم في النفس محفور عام أسرع الخطى حتى انقضى لا تفتأ ذكراه في البال تدور أحبابي وخلاني لا أدري ما حال دونكم إن مضت الشهور كم تمنيت البقاء في ظل خميلة الأصحاب وكلهم بلسم وسرور لكن يا أسفي فقد حان الرحيل الى بلد غريب علي مقدور وجل ما أرجوه أن تغفرو ذلتي فالمرء على الذنب مفطور
The Lost homes... More to come. Building a visual display on Facebook in an online interaction with refugees and people who are displaced. Showing what is left. Find it on my private wall on FB. https://www.facebook.com/mthaulow/videos/10155968319611524/
The Lost Homes. Building a visual display on Facebook in an online interaction with refugees and people who are displaced. Those who have lost their homes. A counter action against the Danish Gov. and their hostile law and and future acts against refugees and forginers. Find it on my private wall.
SISTERS BY HEART Solin is from Damascus in Syria. Alva is from the island Bornholm in Denmark. In 2015 Solin came together with her brother Salar through family reunification from Syria to Denmark. Their mother Rawan fled the war 2 years earlier in a rush from one moment to another. It was in the beginning of the Syrian war and she was helping wounded people by getting medicine from Damascus to Homs. This got her on one of the regime's lists, but luckily someone warned her, making it possible to flee in time. In Denmark Rawan met photographer Martin Thaulow. They fell in love and got married. Bringing their kids together (5 all together). Solin and Alva loves each other and see themself as sisters. In many ways they show us a way to peaceful coexistence and are young role models of tolerance and unity. Despite their different backgrounds, culture, origin and religion, they embrace each other as we all ought to do. In Denmark the politicians in parliament have agreed on new strict laws and further tightenings in relation to refugees in Denmark. Alva and Solin, (and the rest of the new mixed family), are now in danger of being separated and live apart in a not so distant future. Assad is still in power running his dictatorship in Syria, and the war is not over. However it is not safe to go back for many Syrians the Danish Government now plan on large scale extradition of the Syrian refugees to their homeland. All money raised from the sale of this photo will go directly to the work of keeping Solin and Alva together. Being able to hold hands and unite. Photo by Martin Thaulow. Link to shop: https://www.martinthaulow.com/p/sisters-by-heart
When he beat me up, the family just looked, nobody did anything. When he put his hands around my neck, I couldn’t breathe. I met ‘Fatima’ in Istanbul. She is a child bride. Read the full articlecle here: https://www.refugee.today/stories/from-child-to-bride-fatimas-story
David Calleb Otieno - Human Rights defender and representative for the farmers affected by climate change in Africa and Kenya in particular. He travelled from Kenya to Bornholm (DK) to the peoples summit (#Folkemødet) to promote sustainable agricultural programs and food sovereignty. He had been part of a series of talks at the political summit and I met him late at night, when playing a match of football in the middle of the road in the yellow dimm street lights.
Ann-Sophie, another participant at #FM18. She was born spastic and can only communicate with her eyes. I met her late at night when she had been out dancing with her caretaker at one of the many parties at #Folkemødet. She left me with a great impression, and is one of my favorit memories and encounters from the event. Thanks for generously letting me take this portrait.