Abbas, Afghanistan

From Magnum Photos, Abbas portfolio from Afghanistan
Today in Afghanistan, girls go to school and to the university; the burqah is not compulsory for women who can walk the streets unaccompanied; they are not executed in public for adultery; men are not whipped for not sporting a fist-long beard. The influx of UN and NGO’s money have brought a certain prosperity to the cities which are patrolled by national as well as NATO forces. Presidential and parliamentary elections have taken place. But democracy is not an off-the-shelf commodity which can be purchased in a supermarket and applied to a country with centuries of feudal traditions. Democracy works better when preceded by a secular tradition..

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History's First Draft Looks Much Better With Pictures

From the New York Times:

In photojournalism, the subject is considered more important than the aesthetics of the image. While clarity, composition and exposure have always been taken into account, it is news value that drives the profession. But in the 1980’s and 90’s, photographers like James Nachtwey and Gilles Peress established distinct visual styles in their coverage of war-torn regions like Bosnia and Chechnya; the way they observed their subjects, discerned in what they chose to shoot and where they stood, added new layers of information to the editorial image.

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The Web This Morning

BBC – Civil War in Iraq
NYT – Sectarian fury in Iraq in wake of shrine blast
NYT – Saudis, Egypt reject US request to cut off aid to Hamas

NYT – Iran pledges financial aid to Hamas-led Palestinians

Photography – Vincent Laforet and Apple’s Aperture at the Olympics

Photography – AP cancels photo coverage of LPGA over rights grab

Photography – AP denied access to LPGA tournament