Saturday 6 October 2018

A Week in Pictures Middle East and Africa October 5, 2018

Eat your heart our New Orleans! This is Malawi and we’re going to party while we wait for Melania Trump. So says this wonderfully affectionate picture by Carlo Allegri, who is travelling in the region with FLOTUS. Take the time to look at their faces, the first thing you’ll see is that gap in the teeth. Then enjoy the style, suits, shoes, canes and hats, feel the warmth and hear that rhythm. This picture makes me feel good, and I hope it does you too. See more pictures of Melania in Africa here.

Malawians hold flags and dance as the U.S first lady arrives in Lilongwe, Malawi, October 4, 2018.    REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Taking pictures of food to make it look appetising is never easy. Taking pictures of food being prepared by displaced people cooking over a fire is harder still. Zohra Bensemra’s picture is a complex, detailed image that evokes different emotions at the same time and I am not sure why. The grey goo being pounded in the wooden bowl does not look so tasty but I feel a great sense of anticipation that what is going to be cooked is going to taste nice. What gives me this feeling I am not sure. Is it the warm tones of the earth and woman’s legs countered by the cold, metallic but much treasured pots? Or is it the child’s green dish waiting to be filled? Or maybe just the calm generated by the soft light and the sense that there is now time to cook after finding a safe place after fleeing from violence? Read on here

Honre Waba, 40, who has fled the northwestern village of Njinikom because of violence cooks in the courtyard of the house where she is staying in Yaounde, Cameroon, October 3, 2018.   REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

I’ve looked at many images of demonstrations but Mohammed Salem’s picture took me a little by surprise. I didn’t at first understand why these Jihadists were completely wrapped in white cloth, their arms trapped. We’d had other images from the same military show of force, masked men armed to the teeth, missile-shaped metal constructions on back of trucks, and alert eyes peering from black masks that all made obvious sense to me. I now understand that these worn white cloths are death shrouds, the message being ‘we are prepared to die’. 

Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants participate in a military show in Gaza City October 4, 2018.   Mohammed Salem

It takes a little while to make sense of Faisal Al-Nasser’s picture. It’s the use of only a tiny fragment of this almost totally abstract picture, the simple line of eyes, that make this picture stand out. Once you focus on the eyes the intensity of their look is quite unmistakable. Maybe also I like this because the reds, purples and blacks put me in mind of the shifting edges and colours of a Rothko painting. 

Saudi job seekers talk to a company representative at Glowork Woman’s Career Fair in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 2, 2018.   REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

One thing is for sure, everyone who looks at Khaled Abdullah’s picture will hear the piercing scream of the baby as the needle, that is just about dead centre in the picture, is pushed into the tiny arm. A visual spiral of almost solid blocks of blue, black and orange colours bear down, as do three enormous hands, holding the child’s arm all forcing you to look at that needle and face screwed up in pain. The only respite from the agony of the pain of cholera and of the needle is the delicate touch of mum’s thumb trying to soothe away the pain. 

A boy cries as he is being treated at a cholera treatment centre at the al-Sabeen hospital in Sanaa, Yemen October 3, 2018.   REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

A dash of colour of a red umbrella with child-like teddy bears printed on it breaks up the greys, greens, browns and rust of the war scorched landscape of Zohra’s Bensemra’s picture. I feel nervous as my eye moves around this picture; I dare not look too long at the bright red as I feel danger lurks nearby and I should be alert, not distracted so I continue to look around. It’s only then I notice the soldier, half hidden in the burned street scene, coming towards me. 

A Cameroonian elite Rapid Intervention Battalion (RIR) member walks past a burnt our car while patrolling in the city of Buea in the Anglophone southwest region, Cameroon, October 4, 2018.   REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Siphiwe Sibeko’s image is a picture of two opposing halves, bottom left you get the timeless quiet of a man asleep, in the cool of blues, only his red cap possibly disturbing the visual slumber. Top right, it appears that the train, warmed by dark reds and browns, although stationary, is rushing forward to the tick of light that is top left. The solid grey of the platform separates these two worlds. When this man wakes up he going to have a stiff neck, but he looks comfortable. If you want to see more on this gruelling sleeper train journey across Zimbabwe, click here I promise you it’s well worth it. 

A train mechanic sleeps at a platform after an overnight train journey from Harare, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe August 6, 2018.    REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The clever use of three layers by Ibraheem Abu Mustafa makes for an image that you have to look at again and again, each time getting a little more from it. A first you see the face of the man shouting and the flames; then you notice the second pair of arms coming from behind him. You try to work out where the other man is standing but you can’t as it’s confused. Your eyes then drift into the dense black smoke and suddenly, woah! you spot the profile of the man standing right next to you. He’s just coldly staring. 

A Palestinian reacts during a protest calling for the lifting of the Israeli blockade on Gaza demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border fence in the southern Gaza strip October 5, 2018.   REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa 

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