The Jemaa El-Fna night market in Marrakech, Morrocco is the countries largest and oldest souk and is located in the middle of Djemaa el-Fna square. The food court is filled with traditional cuisine over 100 different vendors shouting at all who walk by to stay and enjoy their cooking. Most vendors sell tagines, cous cous, brouchettes, fish and salads, there are some selling delicacies and fresh juices. The souk has a hectic atmosphere filled with street dancers including monkeys and groups of musicians and actors performing for a small fee.
In the heart of the Chouf in Lebanon, deep in a valley, there is a private zoo that was previously full of exotic animals – lions, tigers, flamingoes, a chimpanzee, even a cheetah. But with the collaboration of French veterinarian Jean Christophe Gerard, the sanctuary he works at, Tonga Terre D’Accueil, and Lebanese organization Animals Lebanon, this zoo has slowly been emptied of some of those animals.
This was a journey that has been long in the making though. The first time Garard came to the zoo for these particular animals was in October 2013, to do tests on the cats and insert microchips. There were four cats then – two lions and two tigers. About three weeks after the October visit, Animals Lebanon was notified that the male lion had died, and was soon after sent to a taxidermist to be stuffed.
With the voluntary cooperation of the zoo owner, a lioness, a tigress and a male tiger were removed, put in internationally-approved crates, and driven out of the valley, to the Beirut’s Hariri Airport to make the long trip to the sanctuary Saint Martin La Plain, in the south of France.
Portrait of a Metal Worker in the Old Souk in Aghadir,Morocco: Abu Hamed has worked in his shop the size of a small closet for 14 years inside the shanty market. He fixes anything metal and works on small fishing boat engines. Many shops in the ragged and rusted market have been closed or moved to more new markets where tourist feel more comfortable going to.
Tripoli, Lebanon takes a break from continuous spillover clashes that entered into the 20th round of sectarian clashes between Sunni supporters of the Syrian opposition and Alawites loyal to the Syrian government. Clashes in 2014 have caused a considerable amount of structural damage to the countries second largest city and has claimed the lives of nearly 500 and wounded thousands. The Lebanese army has vowed to retake the city by making over 108 arrests and destroying fortifications built by militias. The army has intervened several times in the clashes since 2011 but has yet to maintain order. Lebanese citizens are hopeful with the armies heavy response that this time calm will last.
Sing, 34, has been a domestic worker since she was in her early twenties. She now works as a domestic worker in Beirut, Lebanon. Workers coming from the Philippines and Ethiopia are the majority of migrant workers in Lebanon. The Filipino embassy is interactive with their citizens abroad checking on them by calling their employers and offering help when needed unlike the the Ethiopian embassy that is rumored to never answer the phones. When asked if she is pleased with her job Sing replied “This is what I know”.
Zaatari Refugee Camp for Syrian Refugees in Mafraq, Jordan. In 2013, camp population was estimated at 144,000 refugees, making it Jordan’s fourth largest city. Thousands of Syrian refugees have fled their country mostly at night risking being shot by Syrian regime forces and Jordanian border security. The displaced were escorted by the Free Syrian Army under the cover of night through valleys and across the Jordanian border. But since the war has drained resources from the rebles many Syrian citizens have risked the journey on their own without protection.Thousands of displaced Syrians arrive to Zaatari each week and there they sit and wait for a dream to return home to become reality. Mafraq, Jordan
Fighter of the Al Faruq Brigade from Bab al Tebbaneh, Tripoli, Lebanon. Bab al Tebbaneh is a Sunni neighborhood that supports the Syrian opposition and is a flash point in clashes with their Alawite neighbors who are devoted supporters or the Syrian government and president Bashar al Assad. After over a week of clashes the recent round of clashes that have left 25 dead including a 10 year old girl and over 150 wounded there is no end in sight. The Lebanese government has tried repeatedly to contain and end the warring neighbors without longterm success. The fighting is directly related to the Syrian conflict only hours away from Tripoli. Both Sunni and Alawite militias are heavily armed with mortars, RPGs, and machine guns. With recent clashes in the capitol of Beirut the lebanese government fears more violence in the months to come.
A few thousand demonstrators took to the streets of Beirut on March 8, 2014, to call for the passing of the draft law to protect women from domestic violence. Civil groups, activists and Lebanese people alike first gathered at the National Museum at 2 p.m., organized by KAFA, a Lebanese non-profit, before the walking through the streets with signs and photos of victims, demanding that politicians pass the law.
Rahel, 29, is determined to keep fighting for migrant worker rights while in the country. “We want freelance papers, to change the sponsorship system. Still no one is listening. I cannot see migrant workers every week kill themselves, stuck at the house, they’re locked with no food, how can I be happy? When those people get free, it will make me very happy. When we make the change, I will go home,” she says.
Tourism in Morocco is becoming a keystone in the structure of the Moroccan economy. The small fishing town of Thagazout several miles from Aghadir is being transformed by tourist from all over the world and Saudi contractors building resorts up and down the coast. Taghazout so far has accepted the cultural and religious distractions without problem and many look forward to a future in the developing town.