Asia – A Week in Pictures 14 November 2010

November 15, 2010

A salute to all those who managed to get pictures, text and video out of Myanmar (Burma) of the release of Nobel Peace Prize winner and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a truly historic moment.  No foreign journalists were given visas to cover the election or Suu Kyi’s release and there’s no Internet.  Respect to you all.


Aung San Suu Kyi (C) waves to supporters gathered to hear her speech outside the headquarters of her National League for Democracy party in Yangon November 14, 2010. Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi called on Sunday for freedom of speech in army-ruled Myanmar, urged thousands of supporters to stand up for their rights, and indicated she may urge the West to end sanctions.  REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun


Aung San Suu Kyi speaks with supporters after she was released from house arrest in Yangon November 13, 2010. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

U.S President Obama’s wrapped up his visit to Asia, where he visited India, Indonesia, Korea for the G20 and Japan for APEC. Having sat and edited the whole G20 Summit I can tell you first hand it is not the easiest place to try to shoot good pictures. Organisers try to create sanitised PR images that attempt to show the event in the best light; top leaders in an atmosphere of unity and cultural understanding where, hopefully, nothing uncontrolled happens. Good to see that the organisers placed Obama and the photographer, Jim Young, in just the right position to ensure that the most important person, Obama, has the biggest white hat.  Respect to you all. Below that are two more pictures where a coincidence of background and foreground has come together in an unexpected unity that allows the viewer enough visual ambiguity to ask questions.  “Mr President: Do you feel that on the international stage you are a shadow of your former self after your poor US election results? And “Prime Minister do you feel that as your austerity measures bit really hard, sparking violent demonstrations in London that will it undermine your position as leader of the coalition government with calls for a change in leadership and direction? ”


U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech at Parliament House in New Delhi, November 8, 2010.  REUTERS/Jim Young


(top left) U.S. President Barack Obama casts a shadow as he reaches out to shake hands with South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak at the official arrival for the G20 Summit working dinner at the National Museum in Seoul, November11, 2010.  REUTERS/Jim Young 

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron gives a speech at the closing plenary session of the G20 Business Summit in Seoul November 11, 2010. Cameron said on Thursday that he believed the G20 summit would advance long-running efforts to get a global trade deal. REUTERS/Aly Song

 The G20 and visits by the U.S president always spark demonstrations and a counter reaction by security forces to ensure the protests do not disrupt the meetings.  Sometimes the anger in the demonstrations feels almost palatable and at other times it feels like students just having a day out. In Korea a failed attempt by a woman to set herself on fire infront of the summit buildings, rain and a heavy police presence meant that the anti G20 protest was by and large peaceful. Having a retrospective look at the demonstration pictures from the region, the three pictures below caught my eye as they have the same shape and lines of composition and are countered by a smiling Obama but with exactly the same shape.

demo comb


(Top Left) A protester shouts slogans against U.S. President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to Indonesia, in Jakarta November 9, 2010. Obama finally heads to Jakarta on Tuesday for a visit during which he will seek to boost U.S. security and trade ties with Indonesia, and also reach out to the larger Islamic world. REUTERS/Dadang Tri

(top right) Activists of Communist Party of India Marxist CPI (M) shout slogans during a protest against U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to India, in New Delhi November 8, 2010.  REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

U.S. President Barack Obama attends a retreat session at the APEC Summit in Yokohama, south of Tokyo November 13, 2010. REUTERS/Koichi Kamoshida

 Lastly on the Obama visit I wanted to draw your attention to how a single frame that was shot without a picture in mind but to just record information to help with a caption can be used.  The image of the illustration of where the leaders will stand at the family photo with added notes more interesting and an insight into the working of the summit more revealing that the family photo itself. Imagine the hours that went into deciding who will stand where?


A piece of paper which shows the standing positions of members of the G20 for the family photo session is seen at the G20 Summit in Seoul November 12, 2010. The Group of 20 struggles at its summit in Seoul to agree how to put the world economy on a sounder footing, as renewed fears over Ireland’s ability to pay its debts underscore the lingering fallout of the global financial crisis. REUTERS/Jim Young


Members of the G20 wave during the family photo session at the G20 Summit in Seoul November 12, 2010. The Group of 20 struggles at its summit in Seoul to agree how to put the world economy on a sounder footing, as renewed fears over Ireland’s ability to pay its debts underscore the lingering fallout of the global financial crisis. REUTERS/Jim Young

 In Pakistan, local media report that a Christian woman, mother of four, has been sentenced to death for blasphemy. Adrees’ picture of her daughters holding her picture are a stark insight to the complexities of life in Pakistan and as sad and tragic and Akhtar’s picture of the slumped body of a boy being carried away from the scene of a suicide bomb blast in Kashmir.


The daughters of Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi pose with an image of their mother while standing outside their residence in Sheikhupura located in Pakistan’s Punjab Province November 13, 2010.  Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of four, has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, the first such conviction of a woman, Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported. Bibi, 45, was handed down the death sentence by a court in Nankana district in central Punjab on Monday, the newspaper reported. Standing left to right is Esha, 12, Sidra, 18 and Eshum, 10.  REUTERS/Adrees Latif


A man carries a boy he pulled from the aftermath of a suicide bomb attack in Karachi November 11, 2010. At least 15 people were killed and 100 injured in a suspected Taliban suicide car bomb attack at a security compound in a high security neighbourhood in Pakistan’s largest city Karachi on Thursday night, officials said. It was unclear if the boy was alive.  REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

In Afghanistan photographers Finbarr O’Reilly and Peter Andrews are on embed with U.S Forces.  Both photographers finding pictures that have an uneasy air of calm that hint at the continual violence in the war torn country. Graffiti by people with hours on their hands reflecting on the violence that has entered their lives,  child like pictures of conflict and the number of rounds used and KIA (killed in action) drawn by Taliban and UK soldiers respectively.  Striking at the very heart is Peter’s picture of tears welling in the eyes of a child who is being treated after being injured in an explosion.  No other details available – just an explosion, just normal life.


Graffiti left behind by Taliban fighters remains on the walls of a compound now used as a command center for the U.S Marine Corps’s First Battalion, Eighth Marines at Musa Qala in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province, November 10, 2010.Musa Qala is an important battleground in the war against Taliban insurgents and the narcotics industry. The town has changed hands several times, most recently in December 2007 when Afghan and international forces retook the town from the Taliban.  REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly


Graffiti dating back to a previous British deployment marks the walls at Musa Qala district center, now used by U.S. Marines, in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province, November 13, 2010. REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly


An child receives medical attention during a Medevac mission in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province November 13, 2010. The child was injured in an explosion.  REUTERS/Peter Andrews

I really struggled to try to keep this picture out of the blog as there is so much this week but the tips of bullets that just indent the skin was too much to resist in this well observed picture. Four pictures from Afghanistan all of which scream violence and none of which show actual conflict: strong and very thoughtful news photography.  And below that a picture that is just about as brutal as it can get, the bodies of Taliban fighters being taken into a camp on the back of a pick up truck.  


A machine gunner from the First Battalion, Eighth Marines Bravo Company wears a bandolier of bullets around his neck at his base in Talibjan after a patrol in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province, November 9, 2010. REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly


The bodies of five Taliban fighters killed by Afghan National Police lie in the back of a vehicle at Musa Qala in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province, November 13, 2010. The photograph has been rotated 180 degrees. REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly

From the region other great pictures have also caught my eye for different reasons. I have occasionally wondered what motivated someone with musical ability and military ambitions to play the base drum in a military band, why not a trumpet or even a snare drum; Jim’s picture from Indonesia has given me the answer, suddenly you have lots of friends when it rains. The panda picture is included because something is just so not right that I have to keep looking at it and looking at it, a panda holding a stuffed mascot from the Asian Games. Fitting into the “something is just so not right” category is the image of the naked men huddled around the heaters in China.  A rescue off the Japan coast brings us the horrors of accidents at sea, a man covered in oil is plucked from the sea,  his ship and fellow crew members missing. Let’s not forget Mount Merapi that is continuing to spew ash into the air while rescue workers continue to bring bodies from the grey landscape. Finally the eyes cut out from the picture of North Korea’s leader-in-waiting Kim Jung-un gives this small demonstration in Seoul a visual impact that is nothing short of haunting.


Members of the honor guard band run for cover from rain prior to an arrival ceremony for U.S. President Barack Obama at State Palace Complex-Istana Merdeka in Jakarta, November 9, 2010.  REUTERS/Jim Young


Giant panda Basi holds a doll of the Guangzhou Asian Games mascot at Fuzhou Panda World in Fuzhou, Fujian province November 12, 2010. Basi, a 30-year-old female giant panda, was the archetype of the mascot Panpan during the Beijing Asian Games in 1990, local media reported. REUTERS/Stringer


Youths squat near heaters to keep warm before a medical examination for enlistment in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Suining, Sichuan province November 10, 2010. The PLA started its annual recruitment campaign from November 1, Xinhua News Agency reported. REUTERS/Stringer


An oil-slicked Chinese crew member from a cargo ship is rescued by a Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel in the sea near Japan’s southern island of Iriomote November 11, 2010. A search was launched off southern Japan for 20 Chinese seamen from the cargo ship that went missing on Thursday, with rescuers from Japan, China and Taiwan taking part. Five crew members have already been found. REUTERS/Japan Coast Guard/Handout


Members of a rescue team remove a body in the volcanic ash-covered Ngancar village in Sleman district, Indonesia’s central Java province November 9, 2010. Mount Merapi, on the outskirts of Yogyakarta, began spewing lava, superheated gas and deadly clouds of ash two week ago and has so far killed over 130 people and forced the evacuation of nearly 300,000. REUTERS/Sigit Pamungkas


Soldiers and rescue workers transported by a military vehicle  searching for more victims in Kalitengah village in the Sleman district of Indonesia’s central Java province November 10, 2010. Mount Merapi showed lethargic signs on Wednesday but authorities would not lower down its alert status because of its intense seismic activities, the head of the country’s vulcanolology agency said. REUTERS/Sigit Pamungkas


A protester wearing a mask of North Korea’s leader-in-waiting Kim Jong-un takes part in an anti-North Korea protest in Seoul November 10, 2010, a day before the G20 Summit. REUTERS/Truth Leem


Good thinking on that G20 line-up, Jim Young. These events must be supreme exercises in diplomacy and tact -one doesnt realise how much and this pix is a reminder.

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