Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 12th, 2015

Captured the Joys in Gaza

Tanya Habjouqa—born in Jordan, raised in Texas, and is married to a Palestinian with an Israeli passport—has been working in the area for years.

She’s done her share of hard-news photography, but since 2009, she’s also been taking photos for her “Occupied Pleasures” series.

A book of them will be published in December. Habjouqa says she doesn’t want to trivialize her subjects’ difficulties by showing them in carefree moods, but those moods are real too.

“The humor, the sadness, the suffering, fear,” she says. “It is one giant cocktail here. Fluctuating in seconds.”

Andrew Bossone shared a link.

Two furniture makers take a break next to the barrier that separates the West Bank from Israel.

Habjouqa says she saw them repeatedly and slowly built up a relationship before she started photographing them.

From days at the beach to party preparations, Tanya Habjouqa offers a different look into life during conflict.

National Geographic photo editor Sherry Brukbacher spoke with Habjouqa about her work.

How has the political and religious situation changed since you started your project, and how has it affected your access and the acceptance of you as both a woman and a photographer?

With the Israeli economic siege and blockade of Gaza, it hinders every aspect of daily life.

Simultaneously, over the years Hamas has been able to operate their own fiefdom and restrict many aspects of life on the Palestinian population in Gaza.

I have noticed that police on the street felt entitled to question dress, even mine as a foreigner, which shocked me, as that is something that never happens in Palestine.

As to me as a photographer, I have not felt a restriction photographing in Palestinian society, be it in Gaza, West Bank, or East Jerusalem.

In Gaza for this project, I was heavily pregnant. The minute people would see me hobbling on a beach with my camera gear, they would invite me to sit down and talk, and often insisted on carrying my equipment.

And more doors would open when they would discover my husband was Palestinian.

What is your approach to photographing this project?

Do you carry your camera everywhere, hoping to find situations, or is it more deliberate?

I have found covering hard news in Palestine sometimes easier, as some feel a political obligation to talk to you about the suffering. But I was looking for something more intimate.

While you drive in West Bank, where the vast majority of my work is, you pass the same checkpoints. You wait.

You watch the symphony. Usually it is a boring one of frustrated, beeping cars, but sometimes the interactions and little moments of resistance are hilarious.

For a lot of the youths in my photos, Facebook served a great role of access. They may be uncertain about me and ask if I had Facebook.

It was almost as if they were online shopping me, in some cases. After a week, I would often hear back an invitation to come meet.

What’s different about a place where people “live” the conflict—where it’s part of their lives, maybe even their entire lives?

And how does your own experience growing up in the region affect this project?

For me, I am from a minority group in Jordan, Circassian, and half Texan to boot. I had a Jordanian grandfather who was a leader in the community and a Texan grandfather who was a deputy sheriff.

So I was always aware of the multiple narrations of identity and place.

Picture of young girl on beach in gaza

A young girl plays on the beach in the party dress she wore the night before at a wedding, at the Deir El Balah refugee camp in Gaza.

On top of this, I had covered journalistically the occupied Palestinian territories, in addition to spending a vast amount of time working in Iraq and Darfur.

I thought I knew Palestine. But I could not be prepared for what it would mean to make this place my home, which only happened because I married a Palestinian.

Me, who has always had a U.S. passport and lived with a certain certainty. Now I live in fear constantly that my residency visa will not be renewed.

I once woke up in the middle of the night ranting to my husband, who works in politics and human rights, over my fear of an upcoming ministry of interior meeting for my visa. He grunted back to sleep and said, “Tanya, never bring the Israelis into our bed again.”

So it is living with the ability to compartmentalize. To disassociate from the present.

What has the reaction to the work been so far?

When the work was first published, I was flooded by emails from Palestinians in diaspora who would sometimes simply write, “Thank you.” Or occasionally expand and say, “Thank you for showing us as we are, for allowing us to recognize ourselves.”

One woman told me about the work, “It is a reminder that the moment of happiness for us is a win outside of all the defeating moments. It’s a reminder it is OK to smile … that happiness is OK, not that you giving up but winning. Maintain your humanity.” I utilize a lot of humor, sarcasm; I think my scenes are quiet.

And what I am working on now, a long-term assignment from UNHCR on Syrian refugees in Jordan.

It is not allowing for a lot of humor at the moment. Now I am banging my head how to tackle this story, and where do you go after the image of Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian refugee washed ashore in toddler sleep position on a Turkish beach.

Maybe my attempt to utilize humor in my photography is a wishful approach in my work, as right now, living in a place where friends and family are being displaced or directly affected by the unfolding violence. It’s too close to home.

I am over the moon by my first U.S. Book review at the thoughtful intelligent hands of writer/editor/photographer Jen Tse. Thank you Olivier Laurent and time light box. Now the book is born and seen!

Occupied Pleasures shows humanity’s ability to find pleasure in trying circumstances


A boat floating drunk: Lebanon during its civil war (A French song)

Une chanson de plus dans le répertoire français évoquant le Liban.

Le Liban qui se meurt, qui réclame le droit de vivre, de renaitre de ses cendres.

Il a fallu encore une foi, la sensibilité d’un artiste afin d’être capable d’ouïr ses cris de détresses, d’une contrée happée par le cyclone des conflits utérins dévastateurs.

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En 1989 (during the end of the civil war), Daniel Guichard sort un album intitulé « Pour elle », dans lequel il dédie une chanson émouvante au pays des cèdres, baptisée « Le droit de vivre », écrite par J. Demarny  et composée par M. Cazenave:

Y a plus d’eau, plus de lumière dans la ville déchirée
Sous son arbre légendaire, le Liban est sacrifié
Les femmes sont en prière pendant qu’on se bat dehors
Et dans les bras de sa mère, doucement l’enfant s’endort


Laissez-lui le droit de vivre, ce pays est mort-vivant
Il ne pourra pas survivre bien longtemps
Laissez-lui le droit de vivre autrement que sous la terre
Autrement qu’un bateau ivre sur la mer

On prend les hommes en otages dans ce paradis perdu
C’est une guerre d’un autre âge où l’avenir est vaincu

Les soldats sont en guenilles, fanatiques et affamés
Pendant que le soleil brille sur des plages désertées

Il faut des champs de bataille pour essayer les canons
Et l’humanité déraille vers une guerre de religion

Laissez-lui le droit de vivre, d’accoster à ses frontières
Ce n’est plus qu’un bateau ivre sur la mer

Lire la Suite: En musique : Le Liban dans la chanson française – 04 | Libnanews
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Share Alike
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How do you feel? Will human adapt or be lost with technology explosion?

Transforming retail:  with technology?

What of the human factors in the future equations?

Winning in today’s environment, where technological change is accelerating faster than ever, will require retail leaders to shift their thinking once again. It’s not about bricks-and-mortar versus digital or Omni-channel models. It’s not even about embracing the impact of digital.

By Jennifer OverstreetOctober 9, 2015

Ken Austin shared this link
Singularity University’s Salim Ismail shares tech predictions at the Digital Summit.

Today’s big challenge is harnessing the explosion of technology, because it’s changing the world as we know it — and according to Salim Ismail, executive director of Singularity University, that change is happening much faster than we think.

Speaking to digital retailers gathered at the Digital Summit, the former vice president at Yahoo shared how exponential technologies are already changing our world, and the implications for retail are profound.

Singularity University is a think tank, educational institution and technology incubator that funds innovative solutions to big, global problems like poverty and health issues. The organization works around the idea that technology occurs at an exponential, not linear rate, just as computational power doubles every 18 months (what’s known as Moore’s Law).

Retail, especially from the perspective of holiday seasons, typically works incrementally and projects future results from linear models.

But Ismail argues that this doubling pattern of technology’s capability, which occurs in many different types of technologies, creates a new paradigm.

Those who can spot disruptive, exponential technologies early will have a huge competitive advantage.

We have never seen so many technologies moving so fast. Never in the history of humanity have so many technologies been moving at this doubling pattern, at this accelerated pace,” Ismail said.

The trouble is, the rate of change is hard to wrap your mind around. As Ismail rattled through several I-didn’t-know-we-could-do-that-already technologies, members of the audience were shaking their heads in wonderment at things like a machine that can replay your dreams back to you or how people are engineering glow-in-the-dark cats.

Rather than being in their infancy, the following are a few technologies that Ismail said are closer to becoming everyday technologies than you think:

One: Self-driving cars.

If you’re paying attention, you know it’s already happening. The first self-driving truck is on the road in Nevada and Google cars have gone 2 million miles without an accident. Singapore has a goal of making a third of its taxis driverless by the end of this year and the Netherlands is just weeks away from launching a driverless shuttle.

As more of these vehicles take the road, Ismail said that road capacity will increase by 10 to 15 times, making it a lot easier for people to get around or companies to make deliveries. More efficient roadways will affect real estate values as well.

Two: Solar Energy

While some may have the impression that solar energy is growing slowly, Ismail painted a different picture. Solar cells are twice as cheap as they were about 18 months ago, making solar energy already just as inexpensive as other energy sources like coal or natural gas; soon it will be cheaper. As the doubling pattern continues, in 23 years we could be generating 100 percent of the world’s energy from solar; as solar energy takes off, there will be massive geopolitical disruption.

Three: Drones

Drones are already here, and not just for Amazon or individual mischief-makers in the United States. Drones are delivering medicine to remote areas like Haiti or even rural Virginia, and delivering mail in Switzerland. Amazon’s drone tests have made headlines, but the technology is becoming cheaper and more available for everyone, and is growing rapidly. “The underlying technology [used in drones] is growing so fast, they are doubling their capability every nine months,” Ismail said.

With so many technologies exploding right now, from 3D printing to neuroscience to augmented reality, Ismail described it as “having 20 Guttenberg moments all at once.”

These are just a few of the things to keep an eye on right now, and that’s part of the problem.

The other issue: This exponential growth in technology is freaking us out. None of the systems our society is built on are adequate for the world we’re becoming.

“Fundamentally, we have a huge issue,” Ismail said. “We are not ready for this pace of change.”

But the pace is not slowing, so we’re essentially going to have to adapt or be lost. (Human are not adapted for changes that fast. Basically, we will be lost)

In introducing Ismail, Deloitte Digital’s Kasey Lobaugh noted,

“If we fail to recognize that technology is growing in an exponential way and not a linear way, we will fail to think appropriately about our business and be aggressive about repositioning ourselves.”

That means it’s harder than ever to keep up with technology and easier than ever to fall behind and become irrelevant.

In order to stay competitive, executives must spot these exponential technologies early and build solutions around them that will scale with the technology itself. – See more at:




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