As Drik As Possible

Climate_MigrantsThe dot matrix Olivetti printer was noisy. The XT computer came without a hard drive: two floppy disks uploaded the operating system. When the electricity went (as it often did), we had to reload it. Our bathroom doubled as our darkroom. A clunky metal cabinet housed our prints, slides, negatives and files. Anisur Rahman and Abu Naser Siddique were our printers; I was photographer, manager, copy editor and part-time janitor. Cheryle Yin-Lo, an Australian who had read about us in a magazine, joined as our librarian. We offered and she happily accepted a local salary. In god we trust
My partner Rahnuma Ahmed often got roped in when we were short-staffed, which was often. That was 25 years ago. Little experience and zero cash rarely got in the way: we started publishing from day one. Postcards, bookmarks (often using offcuts from the press) and even a company calendar were produced by friendly printers who printed on credit. Residents of Bangladesh?s capital, Dhaka, used to seeing flowers, pretty women, mosques and waterfalls, suddenly woke up to social messages in black and white on their wall calendars. It worked, and we were able to sell them door-to-door and pay back the printers ? until there was a flood and half our stock got inundated.
My Garden in the WildsTired of being pitied for our poverty, and do-gooder attempts to ?save? us, we had decided to become our own storytellers. And did we have stories to tell! Our agency Drik, grew, and we picked up many loyal friends and several powerful enemies along the way. Knowing we had to compete with better-resourced entities in the West, we set up the nation?s first email network using Fidonet. Banglarights, our human rights portal, annoyed the government; our telephone lines were switched off for 30 months. Mainstream galleries turned down exhibitions which were shamelessly political and often critical of the establishment, so we built our own. The government sent riot police to close down our shows on several occasions. Being stabbed in the street, arrested, and generally persecuted became some of the more troubling after-effects of our activism, but a nationwide campaign to reopen our gallery, and a court ruling in our favour, convinced us that the person on the street was on our side. That was all the ammunition we needed. Ballakot Rubble 8246
Along the way, we had set up a photo school, Pathshala, now recognized as being among the finest in the world. We also set up a photo festival, Chobi Mela. Again, a highlight of the Asian cultural calendar. Geed up by what we?d achieved in Bangladesh, we set our sights on challenging the global world order. Majority World was born, a platform for local photographers from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East with their own stories to tell.
Rescue OperationActivism didn?t pay the bills though and competing in the market place, often with professionals we ourselves had trained, required us to remain cutting edge. Clients cared less for ?good intentions? than they did for good delivery and value for money. It was comforting therefore when a prestigious international client, mentioned in the ?special instruction? section that she wanted the work to be ?As Drik as possible.? Call me Heena
As the organisation grew, we needed better management, stricter controls, increased efficiency and lower costs. This led to a culture shift which didn?t come easily to a group that had grown up like a family and had gotten used to working in a particular way. Our new CEO reminded us, that producing the perfect product was gratifying, but getting it to market on time and within budget, was just as important.
Meeting man's greedDrik today is a role model for the majority world, but a world that is changing. Twenty five years ago, it made sense to start from the ground up. Today we tap into fine professionals we ourselves have groomed, and take them to the international arena. Long term strategy, succession plans and a more global vision are the concerns of the day. It?s a lean, agile and creative organisation run by a younger team, ready for tomorrow. Rejoicing at Ershad's fall
Drik?s ultimate strength however, has been the people who have rallied around us. This includes the people who work here, but goes way beyond it. People, all across the globe, across all conventional barriers, who have believed in us, and stood by us, in the many difficult moments we?ve shared, through many dark nights and days. We owe our very survival to them. Some we have lost forever. Others have stayed away from the limelight, happy to bask in our success from afar. While they have never wanted or expected anything in return, we shall remain indebted to them. This publication is a tribute to them all.
Those we have loved and lost
See as slideshare
All credits and supplementary text available in Flickr page

America?s Vassal Acts Decisively and Illegally

by Craig Murray on August 16, 2012

UPDATE (Note by Craig)
100,000 HITS IN 100 MINUTES CRASHED THE SITE. WE DON?T KNOW YET IF GENUINE INTEREST OR DENIAL OF SERVICE ATTACK. OUR BRILLIANT WEBHOSTS HAVE QUADRUPLED THE RESOURCE, BUT IF YOU CAN HELP TAKE THE STRAIN BY REPOSTING I WOULD BE VERY GRATEFUL.
I returned to the UK today to be astonished by private confirmation from within the FCO that the UK government has indeed decided ? after immense pressure from the Obama administration ? to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy and seize Julian Assange.
This will be, beyond any argument, a blatant breach of the Vienna Convention of 1961, to which the UK is one of the original parties and which encodes the centuries ? arguably millennia ? of practice which have enabled diplomatic relations to function. The Vienna Convention is the most subscribed single international treaty in the world.
The provisions of the Vienna Convention on the status of diplomatic premises are expressed in deliberately absolute terms. There is no modification or qualification elsewhere in the treaty. Continue reading “America?s Vassal Acts Decisively and Illegally”

Ecuadorian military base in New York? Rafael Correa's interview

by rahnuma ahmed

Ecuador's president Rafael Correa being interviewed by Julian Assange in the latter's television chat show The World Tomorrow (episode 6), for Russia Today TV, May 22, 2012.?

Instead of titling today’s column, “Ecuadorian military base in New York?” — I could easily have settled for something else. Because Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s charismatic president, spoke of many other equally important things in his recently given virtual interview to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, for Russia Today TV (generally known as RT). Continue reading “Ecuadorian military base in New York? Rafael Correa's interview”

Tango

Photographs and text by Pablo Corral Vega

Life is not life without poetry. I?m talking about the license we give the world to touch us, change us, wound us, carry us away, lift us up, drag us down, save us, expose us, wrap us in warmth, strip us naked.
Uno, Enrique Santos Disc?polo?s beloved tango, says, ?Filled with hope, we seek the path our dreams have promised our desires. . . The struggle is hard, and it is long, but struggle anyway, and bleed for the faith that drives you on. Through the thorns we crawl, and in our thirst to give our love, we suffer and destroy until at last we see that we?ve no heart anymore ? the price of a punishment we undergo, a kiss we never receive, a love that left us low. . . ?
When we live with poetry, we risk our heart, our feelings, our peace. We risk our mind, our skin, our bones.
The tango is the music of immigrants ? Italians, Spaniards, Germans ? who came to the area of the R?o de la Plata in the late nineteenth century. They had left everything behind ? it?s only natural that the tango is filled with nostalgia. But it?s not an unredeemed nostalgia; quite the contrary. It?s a nostalgia that is transfigured by an embrace, that finds harbor in the dialog of bodies. The music and lyrics of the tango are pure nostalgia, but the dance itself is all sensuality, presence, exchange. Redemption. Continue reading “Tango”