I propose to use my Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography to continue coverage of the ethnic cleansing and the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, including one trip to Darfur, Sudan, and one trip to the refugee camps in neighboring Chad.
The conflict in Darfur has been going on since early 2003. At least 200,000 are estimated to have died as a result of the violence or sickness and hunger caused by the crisis, and approximately 2.5 million non-Arabs have been forced from their homes into camps for internally displaced people in Darfur and refugee camps in Chad.
I began photographing the conflict in Darfur in August 2004 and have returned for at least one month each year since then, either to Darfur or neighboring Chad, with my most recent trip to West Darfur in February 2008. The Sudanese government restricts journalists’ movements greatly throughout Darfur, so my work would be dictated by the humanitarian situation on the ground and my ability to ascertain permits from the Sudanese Government to contentious areas.
The early roots of the conflict trace back to an attack by rebels from non-Arab tribes on Sudanese government forces in their quest to obtain greater wealth and autonomy for the neglected and impoverished region of Darfur. The Arab-dominated government retaliated by gathering and backing Arab militias, which have become known as Janjaweed in the region. To this day, the Janjaweed have evicted millions of non-Arabs from their homes, burning, looting, killing and raping along the way.
While the initial two years of the conflict, 2003 and 2004, wrought joint attacks by the Sudanese Army, Janjaweed forces and air assaults by the Sudanese government’s Russian-made Antonov bombers, the conflict has grown much more complex in recent years. Numerous peace talks have failed, rebels groups, which were once aligned to a few prominent groups like the Sudanese Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement, have now splintered into dozens of groups with shady alliances.
Arab tribes, some allied with the government and some not, also began fighting among themselves in 2007, leading to a rise in deaths from this internal fighting between tribes and militias. A new United Nations peacekeeping force, which took over in January 2008 for the African Union, is facing massive limitations in its peacekeeping capacity. It is currently operating at one-third of its projected troop level, has limited equipment and constant diplomatic and political struggles with the Sudanese government.
This February, while I was waiting in Sudan’s capital city of Khartoum for a permit to Darfur, the Sudanese government was bombing the villages of Abu Surouj, Sirba and Selea, among other towns in West Darfur, while an estimated 600 Janjaweed attacked on horses, camels and even donkeys, killing dozens of civilians and forcing 30,000 from their homes. All journalists were kept out of Darfur during the bombing campaign, save for one reporter who was mistakenly authorized a permit to travel there.
Joint Sudanese government and Janjaweed attacks on villages are on the rise again following a period of relative calm. As a photojournalist, I find it almost impossible to ignore the conflict in Darfur, one of the greatest displays of ethnic cleansing and spawning one of the gravest humanitarian crises of our time.
Lynsey Addario is a photojournalist based in Istanbul, Turkey, where she photographs for The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, The New York Times and Fortune, among others.
Originally from Westport, Connecticut, Lynsey earned a degree in international relations and Italian from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later studied economics and political science at the University of Bologna in Italy.
Lynsey began photographing professionally in 1996,with no professional photographic training or studies, for The Buenos Aires Herald in Argentina.
In 1997 she moved to New York and was a consistent contributor at the Associated Press for three years. During that time she also completed several overseas self-assignments that focused on Cuba. From 1997 to 2002, she traveled annually to Havana to work on a series of photo essays that focused on the influence of capitalism on young Cubans, documenting life under one of the last communist regimes.
In 2000, based in New Delhi, India, Lynsey covered human rights, social and women’s issues in India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal for AP and The Boston Globe.
She then moved her base to Mexico City in 2001, where she worked for The New York Times coveringimmigration, human rights and social features, as well as a steady stream of other international features.
After September 11, 2001, she returned to South Asia to cover the war in Afghanistan and women’s education after the fall of the Taliban for The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine.
In January 2003, she moved to Istanbul to cover the Middle East. She soon traveled to northern and central Iraq, where she spent almost two years covering the Iraq war for The New York Times. In 2004, Lynsey began her coverage of the ongoing conflict in Darfur. She continues to work there today, covering Sudanese refugee camps in Chad and burnt-out, abandoned villages in Darfur, documenting internally displaced people and the rebel groups in Darfur.
Lynsey’s recent bodies of work include “Where Boys Grow Up to Be Jehadis” in Morocco for The New York Times Magazine, “Iran Today” for The New York Times and The New York Times Magazine, “Battle Company and the War in Afghanistan” for The New York Times Magazine, “Bhutan’s Experiment With Democracy” for National Geographic Magazine and “The Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo” for The New York Times.
She is currently working on a grant-funded project on female victims of sexual violence in Congo. A complete list of her awards and honors can be found at www.lynseyaddario.com.