The Big Picture

Holy crap. Best new blog in a while. From the Boston Globe, The Big Picture is a relatively simple idea, executed gorgeously: few words, big, pretty pictures, tells a story. It just started this month, and already there are some really great stories and even better photos:

Daily Life in Sadr City, Iraq

The Sky, From Above

Mississippi Floodwaters in Iowa

Ethiopia in Food Crisis Once More

You really have to see these full-sized. Stunning work.

‘I fell in love with a female assassin’

tame9s.jpgThis is just an incredible, jarring story:

They met on a train and fell in love. Then Jason P Howe discovered that his girlfriend Marylin was leading a secret double life – as an assassin for right-wing death squads in Colombia’s brutal civil war. With their story set to become a major Hollywood film, he recalls an extraordinary, doomed romance

And it would make one heck of a film, too.  You can see Jason Howe’s stunning and moving photography at his website, ConflictPics.

Rape of a Nation by Marcus Bleasdale

MediaStorm: Rape of a Nation by Marcus Bleasdale (warning: graphic images)

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to the deadliest war in the world today. An estimated 5.4 million people have died since 1998, the largest death toll since the Second World War, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC).IRC reports that as many as 45,000 people die each month in the Congo. Most deaths are due to easily preventable and curable conditions, such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, malnutrition, and neonatal problems and are byproducts of a collapsed healthcare system and a devastated economy.

The people living in the mining towns of eastern Congo are among the worst off. Militia groups and government forces battle on a daily basis for control of the mineral-rich areas where they can exploit gold, coltan, cassiterite and diamonds.

After successive waves of fighting and ten years of war, there are no hospitals, few roads and limited NGO and UN presence because it is too dangerous to work in many of these regions. The West’s desire for minerals and gems has contributed to a fundamental breakdown in the social structure.

The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

The New York Times has a photo story with images leading up to and immediately following Bhutto’s assassination. The images are shocking and haunting, but they are an important testament to her dedication and sacrifice, as well as that of her supporters.

[There is audio during the slide show – it’s worth listening to; via]