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American Embassy, Tehran. Anti US graffiti covers the wall at the site of the Iran hostage crisis, which started November 4, 1979. A group of Iranian students acting as part of the Iranian revolution took over the US Embassy in Tehran. In Iran this is referred to as the "Conquest of the American Spy Den". Fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days. The hostage taking was widely seen as a blow against the United States and its support for the deposed Shah.
Dust Storm, Turkmenistan. A MiG jet as monument, legacy of past Russian military power in the town of Mary. In Soviet times the Karakum Canal was built to Mary, bringing water across the desert for cotton irrigation. The canal led to widespread soil salinisation, erosion, severe dust storms and further draining of the Aral Sea.
Wabag, Papua New Guinea. A visitor to the Enga Festival protects his ornate hairstyle from a sudden flash storm. Clan and tribal groups, called 'Wontok' (sharing the same language, 'one talk'), still make tribal wars common. A conflict can start over something as simple as the death of a pig.
Chorsu Bazaar, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A strongman puts on a performance for market day visitors, many of whom travel in from outlying villages for the day, selling produce and buying consumer goods. Chorsu Bazaar, still on the original site, was one of the busiest trading hubs on the ancient Silk Road. The name Chorsu comes from the Persian language, meaning "Crossroads".
Soweto, South Africa. Swenkas show their moves. The practice, called “swenking”, comes from the English word “swank”. Great pride is taken in their fashions, and European labels have particular currency. In the days of Apartheid, Saturday nights were for swenking competitions and participants were judged on their fashion, their style and moves.
Grand Mosque, Djenne. Situated on an island on the Bani River, the original mosque on this site dates back to the 13th century. The grand scale was a symbol of Djenne's wealth and cultural significance. The market has barely changed for hundreds of years, since salt traders brought caravans from Timbuktu and returned with cloth. The mosque is repaired every year after the wet season. Thousands of volunteers mud-render the rain damage.
Dogon Country, Mali. Boys taking livestock to market. The Dogon mud and stone architecture is unique. Each house is a family compound and granaries with conical straw roofs stand on stone legs to protect the crops from vermin. The layout of villages follows a strict pattern to ensure good harvests; some villages even have a 'rain hook' to bring rain.
Fishing village, Sitakunda, Bangladesh. Lifeboats bought from the ship recyclers have replaced traditional wooden fishing boats. The Bay of Bengal is prone to cyclones, and lifeboats are in demand by fishermen. The cyclone season usually runs between June and September, but in November 1970 a cyclone killed between 100,000 and 500,000 people in Bangladesh.
Friendship Of Nations Arch, Kiev. The arch was built in 1978 and dedicated to the ‘friendship’ between Ukraine and Russia. In 1932 Stalin’s policy of forced collectivization caused famine in Ukraine. Crops and livestock were removed, household foodstuffs confiscated, population movement restricted and outside aid rejected. The purpose was to teach the Ukrainians a lesson and end any thoughts of Ukrainian nationalism. The famine in Ukraine killed between three and seven million people.
Soweto, South Africa. A Swenka shows his style on a Soweto street. During the Apartheid era, male mineworkers lived in dormitories in Soweto, close to the gold mines. During their once yearly trips home many would try to give an impression of well-to-do city life and dress accordingly. This turned into swenking. At competitions on Saturday nights, the winner often gets a cash prize.
Motu Hane, Marquesa Islands. Situated on the outer edge of the remote island group, this small but distinctively shaped island is part of French Polynesia. It was used by mariners and whalers for navigation but in the eighteenth century explorers and traders brought disease, and the population of the Marquesa Islands was decimated by 90%.