Winner of the 2010 Ville de Perpignan Rémi Ochlik Visa d'or Award

Haiti Everything must have been said about Haiti: the horror of the bloated bodies, survivors trapped under the rubble, the total inability to deal with a cataclysm on such an unprecedented scale. But looking beyond the initial impact, there was also the courage of the Haitians confronted with chaos. Victims devoted more efforts to surviving than to complaining about their plight; and in any case things were often worse for their neighbors. I remember being struck by a man who had lost his wife and four children only a few days before; he ended our conversation by laughing about the situation. How can people find the strength to smile when the world is collapsing around them? The answer is always the same: “We are lucky enough to be alive.” Then there is the matter of rebuilding, of making a fresh start, as urged by all concerned; and months after the disaster, Haitians are still waiting. Yet hundreds of NGOs have been working in Haiti for decades, and their numbers have soared since the earthquake on January 12. While some workers have been wonderful, the basic fact is that the humanitarian work has been very poorly coordinated and things have gone wrong: unnecessary amputations, military distribution of food and now GM seed provided by Monsanto for needy farmers. I have been back to Haiti twice since the earthquake and the only change I have noticed is that there are more camps for displaced persons. People talk about rebuilding; we hear of donations adding up to billions of dollars, but the capital city has already been rebuilt – yes, as slums and vast camps for internally displaced persons. This is how life is organized here now. Everybody has an opinion on what the future holds for the country, but it is high time for Haitians to decide for themselves and build their own future.

Corentin Fohlen

Part of the report was a commission for the magazine La Vie.


Bangkok Another country and another struggle. Here it is David versus Goliath as people from rural regions armed with slingshots and fireworks, ridiculous weapons take on Thai army machine-guns, tanks and helicopters. Thousands of burning tires sent up a wall of smoke to avoid shots from snipers on the rooftops of high-rise buildings that used to be the pride of the tourist capital once cited as a model, a bright and shining example. How ironic to see the business center in the hands of the “Reds” for a few weeks, i.e. the people from rural regions, mostly in the north, who were calling for the government to step down. During the last week of the occupation, there was growing tension between the Red Shirts and armed forces determined to get them out. A few days before the final assault, bullets were fired at the barricades. Whenever a person collapsed, there was always the same spontaneous rush to help. And the same courage, otherwise no one would brave the gunfire to rescue a comrade. There they were, risking their lives, crawling across the road to get only a few meters ahead, then reaching up to hurl a firecracker which would explode just a short distance away, too far from the soldiers. It was small scale, but there was still the symbolic impact; that was what was important. When the Red Shirts withdrew and boarded the bus to return home, they were seen smiling and making the “V” for victory sign. It was still a symbolic stance, a statement that they had won.

Corentin Fohlen

Part of the report was a commission for the magazine Stern.

Corentin Fohlen

Valerie Baeriswyl
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