It all fits into an off-road vehicle that can reach even the most remote parts of Southern Africa to bring cinema where the essentials are lacking, where there's no electricity to power a projector, and where perhaps no one has ever sat in front of a screen to watch a movie. With just the sun and a solar panel, a theater can be set up in areas where people struggle to access food and water and make a decent living. But what it truly requires is the courage to not view creativity as a luxury. Sydelle and Rowand, the founders of Sunshine Cinema, a network of mobile movie theaters, are not just entertaining people; they are crossing a bridge.
Arms are raised, stretched out towards the sky, holding white cards with the word "peace" written in different languages. A girl, a refugee from Syria, reads the Rome’s "Appeal for peace": "With firm conviction, we say: no more war! Let's stop all conflicts […] Let dialogue be resumed to nullify the threat of nuclear weapons.” Pope Francis singed it in front of the people gathered at the Colosseum, holding the word “peace” in their hands, as representatives of the world’s religions did as well. Shortly before, members of those different religions gathered for prayer to invoke peace in their different traditions—a prayer that is “a cry” inside the ancient amphitheater.
That’s why a new ship with a big white “E” will navigate the Mediterranean Sea. The vessel has a red hull, is more than fifty meters long and has low decks. Soon, it will leave the port of Genoa and go out into the open sea. If those living on the north shore of that ‘water cemetery’ bearing the name of Mediterranean had chosen life, the "Life Support" would not have been greeted by the applause of a people packed square, on a late summer night, in the Italian city of Reggio Emilia. It would not be ready to sail now; . if they had chosen life, that ship would have another job.
A small yellow puppet hangs from the butt of a gun. The eyes and shorts of the figure that children love are just traces of faded black.
"It's a detail, but it tells what the war is."
It is a metallic sound, harmless. It lasts just over a second, but it can become as sharp as a machete blade or as devastating as the burst from an assault rifle. It is a beep, just the beep of a phone notification. A woman is on the ground, her belly open, her intestines exposed and her severed head resting on her arm. A pagne of colorful fabric still girds her hips. Where? Why? Then, a video. Do you hear those voices? It happened there, in that village. It was them who did it, it was them.
“We have buried twenty-eight people. I have seen them with my own eyes. We also found three bodies in the fields and buried them too. I can show them to you. It’s not far from here. We buried them there.” The man points to the hills. He doesn’t want to show his face or say his name, but he agrees that his voice can be recorded, so that his words don’t get lost. The camera can’t shoot him; it can only look at the tall grass or at the forest towards the countryside where it is no longer possible to cultivate food. The man talks while music from Lengabo’s catholic church marks the time of truce and hope.
He moves aside the curtain, thin as gauze, and then bends over. The darkness dazzles for a few seconds when one enters the house—actually, a den made of earth where air and light filter through the narrow entrance. Jean de Dieu Amani Paye holds her tiny baby, wrapped in an elegant fabric, in his arms. He was a teacher of French and Latin and had a small business. He also cultivated the land: cassava, corn, sorghum, and beans.
Sylvain Kakule Kadjibwami lost the use of his legs during one of those ambushes that bloodlessly bleed North Kivu. “When I was shot, I thought it was the end of my life, but when I shared it with other disabled people, I discovered that life is still possible,” he said. Now it is Covid-19 that risks destroying the dreams of Sylvain, a small trader from Goma, a city whose roads are volcanic rock-ridden screes where pick-ups trudge. Those who walk face the risk of falling at every step. However, for those who cannot, the same roads can become traps where it is not only war that kills but also a stigma fostering misery and disease.
Producing food and ensuring nutrition security, protecting the environment and restoring biodiversity, building sustainable and fair food systems: That’s the promise of agroecology.
Distant and blurred, as if it belongs to the past, the war in Afghanistan has never been so fierce and forgotten. On the 7th of October, the country entered the twentieth year since the United States announced the first airstrikes
against the Taliban, adding a new chapter to the endless bleeding of this corner of Asia, where more than four decades without peace have left entire generations hopeless.
The COVID-19 outbreak has brought the world back to the essentials: health and food. Fighting the spread of the virus while ensuring access to food has proven to be a challenge in many countries. The loss of income is reducing families’ ability to feed themselves; movement restrictions and lack of labour for planting and harvesting are a strain on the chain that brings food from field to fork. Hundreds of millions of the most vulnerable people are on the brink of acute hunger
, and food insecurity is likely to increase globally.
Landless farmers who produce rice for the landlords of big “haciendas” can’t get more than a little pocket money from their harsh work—not enough to provide diverse and healthy food for their families. Seasonal workers on sugar-cane plantations know that they can count on only six months of earnings. When summer arrives, those whose irrigation facilities have been destroyed by typhoons, or those who never had any, struggle while waiting for the rain.
For millions of children around the world, the COVID-19 outbreak means not getting the most important, if not the only, meal of the day.
Behind the Tiburtina Station, in the East of Rome, with just a small covered area protecting from the inclemency of the weather, sleeping close to each other is the only way to stay warm. A boy of Ivorian origin is alone, far from everyone, in the centre of the sidewalk, exposed to a freezing wind.
For thousands of years, farmers have used genetic diversity to cope with weather variability and changing climate conditions. They have stored, planted, selected and improved seeds to continue producing food in a dynamic environment.
‘Diaspora is the biggest development community that exists in the world’, according to Pedro De Vasconcelos, manager of IFAD
‘s Financial Facility for Remittances
. However, its potential is still largely untapped.
Abdulwahab Tahhan is a journalist and a refugee
. From his exile in London, he documents the war that is devastating his homeland of Syria
, monitoring airstrikes and assessing civilian casualties for the non-profit Airwars