Darrin's Feed
Oct 15, 2014
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A rescue at sea

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Mediterranean Sea

By Darrin Zammit Lupi

A barely perceptible dot on the horizon, disappearing every few seconds behind the rolling waves, a rubber dinghy carrying a group of migrants is very easily missed if you don’t know where to look.

The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) ship Phoenix set off from the Italian island of Lampedusa the night before in the middle of a lightning storm and had, for the past five hours, been making its way towards the dinghy’s last known position.

Aug 13, 2014
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Shooting the supermoon

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Mosta, Malta

By Darrin Zammit Lupi

Having missed the opportunity to photograph the supermoon in July, I was determined not to do so again for the big celestial event on August 10. I spent a long time researching locations and angles to get a dramatic picture, and settled on the iconic cathedral in Mdina, Malta’s ancient capital city.

Using a newly-purchased iPhone app, I could work out precisely where and when the moon would appear between the church steeples and the best position to photograph the moment.  

Aug 21, 2013
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The immigrant behind the eyes

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Safi, Malta

By Darrin Zammit Lupi

“Go get 13i38 from warehouse 2,” barks the army NCO to his subordinates. We know his name now, but the military personnel providing security in the detention center continue to refer to him, as with all detainees, by the reference number given to him when he arrived here.

He is Mohammed Ilmi Adam, a 17-year-old, from Mogadishu, Somalia. The piercing gaze which made him an iconic figure is gone; he’s just like so many other teenagers of his age, eyes flicking from side to side, rarely making eye contact. Slouching on a chair in a small office at the army’s Safi barracks detention center, he looks dejected, submissive, sullen, lost, and indifferent to our presence.

Aug 14, 2013
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Commemorating Operation Pedestal

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Valletta, Malta

By Darrin Zammit Lupi

In ever dwindling numbers, elderly war veterans keep their annual mid-August appointment in Valletta’s Grand Harbour to take part in a commemorative service marking the anniversary of Operation Pedestal. Known to the Maltese as the Santa Marija convoy (as it had reached the island on the feast day of Our Lady of the Assumption, an important day in Malta’s religious calendar), Pedestal was a desperate attempt by the Allied forces to get much-needed supplies of food, fuel and ammunition to the bomb-battered island of Malta in August 1942, at the height of the war in the Mediterranean.

Malta, a British air and naval base at the time, was on the brink of starvation and close to surrendering to the Axis powers that surrounded it on all sides. The operation’s success, albeit with heavy losses, has gone down in military history as one of the most important British strategic victories of World War Two, even though it was in many ways a tactical disaster.

Jul 15, 2013
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Piercing gaze after a dangerous crossing

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Marsamxett Harbour, Malta

By Darrin Zammit Lupi

I don’t know his name. He’s just another guy sitting on a police bus looking out of the window. It was the same sort of scene I’ve photographed on countless occasions over the past decade or so. But this chap was looking intently and intensely, straight at me, through my camera lens and into my mind’s eye. His piercing, haunting gaze was burrowing itself deeper into the innermost recesses of my psyche as I keep looking back at the photo.

I didn’t think much of it at the time. I knew it was an image I would probably include in my edit but it wasn’t until I was looking at the photo on my computer screen that his eyes, his expression, the texture on the dirty windows, really got to me.

Nov 29, 2012
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Meeting Mrs. Arafat

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Sliema, Malta

By Darrin Zammit Lupi

With the body of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat being exhumed as part of an investigation into whether he was murdered eight years ago, it was pretty clear that we were going to need some reaction from his widow Suha, who has lived in Malta for the past few years. A journalist from The Times, the local paper I also work for, and I fixed an appointment to meet her at her apartment in the seaside town of Sliema, a short drive from the capital Valletta. Coincidentally it’s only some hundred or so meters away from the spot where Fathi Shaqaqi, the founder of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, was assassinated by Israeli Mossad agents in 1995.

Ms Arafat welcomed us into the bright and spacious seafront apartment. Sideboards and tables were full of framed photos of Yasser Arafat – some showing him with world leaders, others depicting him as a family man playing with his young daughter. She asked that I shoot the photos I needed before we started the interview, so my eyes immediately settled on a large painted portrait of her late husband, which I felt would make an ideal background.

Oct 17, 2012
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A sense of closure

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By Darrin Zammit Lupi

I attended a brief and very poignant ceremony; the funeral of four Nigerian would-be immigrants who drowned while attempting to reach a better life, crossing to Europe by sea, crossing the central Mediterranean that has become a graveyard.

Six immigrants died on that crossing last August. Four bodies were recovered, including that of a fourteen year old boy.

Feb 17, 2012
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Watching Libya from Malta

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By Darrin Zammit Lupi

When the Arab Spring got underway late in 2010, few of us imagined it would spread to Libya with any tangible effect. To those of us of my generation here in Malta, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was the bogeyman – he’d always been there lurking not too far from our shores – Libya is less than 350 km to the south of the island, and Gaddafi was a frequent visitor and close friend of the Maltese government in the 70s, my childhood years.

A year later, when I look back on the events that kicked off on February 17, 2011, I’m amazed it all happened so fast. Who would have dreamed that Gaddafi would be overthrown within six months, and dead within eight?

Sep 16, 2011
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Nurse of the Mediterranean

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Ever since the Libyan uprising began last February, the small Mediterranean island of Malta which I call home has been a vital cog in the vast humanitarian machine in operation. It started as an evacuation hub for thousands of people and then became a critical transit point for humanitarian aid. Several months later, Malta continues to play its part.

I got the call to head to Malta’s international airport VIP lounge around lunchtime, to photograph Shwejga Mullah arriving on the island for medical treatment. Shwejga Mullah is the Ethiopian nanny who was recently discovered weak and alone in the home abandoned by deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s son Hannibal. It’s been reported that Hannibal’s wife Aline threw boiling water over her, causing horrific scald burns and scars, when she did not stop his daughter from crying and refused to beat the child.

    • About Darrin

      "Darrin Zammit Lupi has been a Reuters stringer covering news, sports and entertainment events in Malta, where he grew up, and elsewhere since 1997. He holds a Masters degree in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the University of the Arts, London, and has been a regular winner at the annual Malta Journalism Awards. The biggest stories he has worked on are irregular immigration across the Mediterranean and the evacuations following the Libya uprising."
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