For almost 10 years I have been covering conflict areas, war zones and combat theaters as a freelance photographer. I’ve been in Afghanistan, KRG, Iraq and Mali, working on documentaries on some of the most gruesome, brutal and inhuman conflicts of our time. The war between NATO and the Taliban. The battle for Mosul against ISIS. The fight of UN Blue Helmets against more than 10 extremist groups in Mali.
During these excursions, I have seen battle. And I have seen the aftermath. When shooting was over - but death was not. Cease-fire or even liberation don’t necessarily mean that you are safe. In fact, this is - in most conflicts - the most dangerous phase for human beings. A phase that can stretch over decades. Mines and IEDs are the most inhuman, most malicious and most coward means of warfare, and I cannot express in words how much I despise and loathe them.
So when the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining asked whether I’d be interested in supporting their media awareness by contributing a photographic documentary, I didn’t even have to think. Of course I would! GICHD works towards keeping communities safe from the risks stemming from explosive ordnance, and they support partners around the world to save lives and restore livelihoods. I am very proud to support their mission for Humanitarian Demining - also in future.
Mines and IEDs could last forever. Humans don’t.
BRINGING BACK CIVIL LIFE
DEMINING IN LEBANON
I travelled to this small country in the summer of 2018 and joined GICHD and the local demining teams to some of the hotspots of Humanitarian Demining. Incredible people! They'll go demining every day, one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.
In spring of 2018 I joined GICHD to Bosnia and Herzegovina where they trained the people of Norwegians People Aid, NPA, in demining the outskirts of Sarajevo. There are still around eighty thousand landmines estimated to be buried in the forests and meadows of Bosnia and Herzegovina - more than 1,750 people were victims of land mines since fighting ended in 1995. More than 1,000 square kilometers of the country remain hazardous.
One of the most amazing and touching things I learned about were the demining dogs and their handlers. These dogs are raised and trained by their handlers from the very beginning. Only the bravest and intelligent ones make it into the mine fields. There's a 100% trust level between human and canine, anything else would be a life-threatening compromise.