We’ve been busy these last couple of months, working predominantly on the portraits of victims and resisters in our second home of The Gambia. This is a work-in-progress, which we began two years ago. We also got asked to make a documentary for Amnesty International, which should be available to view in its entirety next month. See the trailer on our Vimeo page.
Along with making the portraits, we are filming the testimonies of all the victims and resisters of the Yahya Jammeh 22 year regime. More on this at a later date.
Dodou Sanyang in the room of his recently deceased mother. She was one of over a thousand elderly people abducted on the order of the former president, Yahya Jammeh in 2009. Groups of Jammeh’s paramilitary troops along with his youth brigade, The Green Boys and ‘magicians’ from Guinea went from village to village as part of a nationwide hunt for witches.
The alleged witches were held for up to five days in secret locations and made to drink ‘Kubehjaro’, a hallucinogenic substance, and then forced to confess to witchcraft. Some were also severely beaten and robbed by their captors. Some died at the detention sites, and others like Sanyang’s mother suffered years of illness before dying. Many in Sanyang’s village believe the elderly there were not targeted for witchcraft, but because the village had been an opposition stronghold – Essau, Northbank Division, The Gambia. Image ©Jason Florio.
Oumie Jagne was shot twice in the arm by Jammeh regime security forces after she was caught up in the student protests of April 10/11 2000. She was at her small shop when the shooting of unarmed students began and attempted to help a young girl who had been shot in the foot. While pulling the girl to safety, Oumie was fired upon and suffered life-changing injuries, almost severing her left arm. She is one of over 1000 victims registered at the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations – Bakau, The Gambia. Image ©Jason Florio.
See more from this on-going series of portraits on Jason Florio’s website floriophoto.com
From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled the Gambia, West Africa, as his own personal fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition, with brutality.
“I will rule for a billion years if Allah wills it” Yahya Jammeh
His personal hit squad and intelligence agency carried out tortures, and assassinations with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, ministers were jailed, students shot in cold blood, and even his own brother and sister were murdered on his orders.
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If you would like to know how you can help us to make more #Portraits4PositiveChange, please check out our GoFundMe page.
More updates, coming soon
Helen Jones-Florio & Jason Florio.