Portraits of Darfur – Faces of a Conflict

Western Sudan, 2007. Four years into a brutal conflict which has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and over two and half million displaced from their homes and villages. A region decimated by violence, centuries-old correlations between diverse ethnic groups, shattered, a near catastrophic humanitarian situation and an insufficiently equipped and mandated force of African Union peacekeepers unable to stem the violence and finding itself the target for attack.
Darfur’s inferno of carnage was triggered in 2003 when ethnic-African rebel movements took up arms against the Khartoum government after years of neglect and economic and political marginalisation. What followed was a devastating conflict of retaliation, deliberate targeting of ethno-specific communities and the wholesale destruction of entire villages and their inhabitants. A vicious militia mobilised by the Arab-dominated government rampaged freely, committing atrocities and massacres with impunity.
The Bush Administration called it genocide, but preoccupied with the rapid deterioration of post-invasion Iraq, the media and the world’s gaze where elsewhere.
Four years on and Darfur is divided. Squalid camps house frightened and desperate people in their tens of thousands, a plethora of rebel groups and militias clamber for power, influence and control, and a region now awash with weapons.
These four collections of photographs were shot between July 2007 and August 2008 while embedded with the African Union and United Nations peacekeeping missions working as a photographer for Albany Associates, a strategic communications company providing a specialist media advisory team supporting the missions' public information offices. The images attempt to impart a human face to consequences of Darfur’s conflict; the peoples, the children, the women who have suffered immensely , a repercussion of the indifference of war; the peacekeepers struggling to identify a peace to keep and the rebel movements, their leaders, their young fighters. All of them, faces of a conflict.