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Peace, development and a photo that does justice

Displaced People in Shangil Tobaya

Darfur has often raised the question of the million dollars: peace is necessary before investing in development? Or there should be development to secure peace?

Today, after ten years since the conflict began in Darfur, this question is no longer valid. For a long time, peace process and development are occurring simultaneously and we must admit that this region of Africa surely needs others than conventional parameters of cooperation.

While armed groups didn’t sign any agreement yet with the government and the militias are looting everything, the civilian population, as well as hundreds of thousands of displaced people living in camps, do not stop their path to the future.

As I wrote once before, people of Darfur are tough, persistent and tireless. This is demonstrated when we see that, despite the armed conflict, society is still active building schools and clinics, cultivating lands and feeding livestock, issuing university degrees and devising new economic models, expanding services and raising buildings with more efficient materials.

Progress does not stop in Darfur, despite bombs and guns. While the international community must continue to prioritize the need to lay down their arms, they cannot ignore the economic, technical and human support that the region needs for an effective development.

And with all this, we also need to reorient our photojournalism and make it a faithful mirror of Darfur. We know that images of malnourished children, desperate mothers, wandering men and soldiers in combat are guaranteed editorial sales. But we must do justice to the complex reality of Darfur, which also shows farmers committed to the environment , teachers with great intellectual preparation , artists with original ideas, engineers with high capacity and medical experts.

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