Category: Culture

Sonia, a young Los Angeles girt, wears a memorial T-shirt from her brother Ulises’ gang funeral. A local Mara Salvatrucha gang member raises the lid of the coffin he was sanding to strike a pose of respect to the memory of his dead homeboy. Photo by APF Fellow Donna Decesare

Avenging Angels: Homegirl Survival Stories

Text and photos by Donna DeCesare “The weak one is the one society thinks is good, but that’s the one that is going to end up dead.” –Angel, Latina gang member “Trippy” from Mara Salvatrucha getting a new tattoo. Photo by APF Fellow Donna Decesare

Jose Santos (left) and Salvador Valdez (right) in a Hidalgo jail this spring. These traveling stamp salesmen were falsely accused of kidnaping in rural Mexico. Photo by Jorge Muedano

Lynching in Huejutla

Looking back, people say they didn’t much notice the two men – one fat and one thin – lurching along the unpaved roads in their gray 1980 Chevrolet pickup early on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 24. Like most days in Huejutla, Hidalgo that time

An evangelical priest gives a eulogy behind black trash bags containing the skeletal remains of eight people murdered in the early 1980’s during the Guatemalan army’s counter-insurgency campaign. They were among the 23 bodies unearthed by anthropologists in August in Chontala, a village in the western highlands of Guatemala.

The Suffering of Guatemala’s Indigenious People

A noticeable hush fell over the small crowd of Guatemalan indigenious people. They watched in horror as forensic anthropologist Luis Miguel Alonso painstakingly unearthed the body of a young Indian boy killed in a massacre in 1983. An evangelical priest gives a eulogy behind black

A villager holds three liquor bottles for use in the fiesta celebrations of the Guatemalan village of Todos Santos. He is a member of Cofradia, a religious brotherhood.

Happiness and Despair in Guatemala

A young boy participates in the holy week procession in Santiago, Atitlan. A boy enjoys the festive day as crowds gather in front of the church in Todos Santos. The village of Todos Santos celebrates its name-sake holiday, All Saints Day, with an action-packed fiesta.

Against the backdrop of war ruins, a young widow — one of the thousands in Abkhazia — waits for a bus in Sukhumi, the capital of the self-proclaimed republic. With public transport scarce, the wait can stretch to an hour. Much of the city center, once lined with palms and oleander, now lies in rubble. Although the fighting ended four years ago, thanks to the post-war economic free-fall, few of the many ruined buildings have been restored.

Report from Abkhazia

By Andrew Meier with photos by Mia Foster SUKHUMI — One afternoon not long ago in the beleaguered capital of Abkhazia, a tiny self-proclaimed republic on the Black Sea, its reigning satrap, Vladislav Ardzinba, paced his spartan office, nervously awaiting a call from Moscow. On

Newly-cut stone will be used to replace damaged sections of the Temple at Luxor.

Is Modern Egypt Obliterating its Past?

Built along the Nile in Southern Egypt, the town of Luxor is near the ancient city of Thebes, which served as the capital of Egypt during the period known as The New Kingdom (1,539-1070 BC). In just a few square miles, it contains what is

Two Azeri girls are displaced persons following the war.

The Spoils of War: Report From Nagorno-Karabakh

Story by Andrew Meier with photos by Jacqueline Mia Foster You’ve won the war, now win the peace.” The words come to me from an old hand in the tangled politics of the Caucasus. We are sitting in a well-appointed foreign embassy in the capitol

Though rusty from not playing daily, Santana still shows signs of brilliance as a smooth-fielding shortstop. His knee injury plagues him when he jogs. Young Latin players with injuries are replaced quickly in the American minor league system with other, even younger, recruits.

Lost in New York: Baseball’s Latin Ghetto

By Marcos Bretón with photos by José Luis Villegas NEW YORK – They are discards and runaways, lost souls and drug dealers, day laborers and illegal immigrants, and to a man, old before their time. José Santana, 24, waits for a snack at a fast

An aerial view of part of Peru's Upper Huallaga Valley shows ravaged patches of jungle which have been cleared by peasants for the illegal cultivation of coca bushes. Use of the pesticide Spike over the area, which is at the experimental stage, could further damage the ecosystem, according to environmental advocates. Photo by AP/Wide World Photos.

The Lure of a Criminal Cash Crop

TINGO MARIA, Peru. – On her farm in a hollow in Peru’s high jungle, one woman’s pride are her tropical fruit trees. But she acknowledges that fruit doesn’t bring in money in. Nor does the coffee and cacao she and her husband grow. These days,

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Is the Government Losing its Memory?

Note: This article contained pictures that were copyrighted and could not be published on this Web page. Captions for those pictures appear in italics. Scholars of antiquity and the Middle Ages often complain of insufficient information with which to piece together the historical record. Chroniclers

These orphaned Russian siblings comb the streets and bazaars in Dushanbe, in Tajikistan, in search of food and small change. Shoeless and infested with scabies, these children are among the thousands of orphaned children of Tajikistan, the miserable spoils of the civil war.

Report From Tajikistan

Story by Andrew Meier with photos by Mia Foster TAJIKISTAN – It had been a lovely afternoon drive through the mountain passes of this small Central Asian state. As we made our way along the craggy reaches of northeastern Tajikistan, the greatest threat had been

Prague's old Jewish cemetery, contains 100,000 bodies, buried on top of the other, 12 layers deep. The oldest grave is that of poet Avrigdor Kara. His eyewitness elegy to the 1389 pogram, where 3,000 Jews were killed, still is recited every year in the Yom Kippur Day of Atonement services. The cemetery is now a tourist attraction, part of the "Jewish Prague" tour.

Traces of the Past

Text and photos by Jill Freedman APF fellow Jill Freedman traveled to eastern Europe to document the remnants of Jewish life in Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia. These residents of the Jewish home for the aged in Szeged, Hungary listen during a concert of the Israeli

Rose and Isak Arbuz, from New York, stand in front of the Warsaw grave commemorating his brother, his brother's girlfriend and another couple who were part of the Warsaw ghetto uprising in 1943. Their skeletons were recovered from a basement and were buried together. The Jews fought from April 19 to May 16, longer than France and Poland fought against the Germans. There were only 220 insurgents against 2,090 Germans, Ukranians and Latvians. "All it was about, finally, was that we not just let them slaughter us when our turn came," wrote Marek Edelman, the last surviving leader of the uprising. "It was only a choice as to the manner of dying."


Text and photos by Jill Freedman In the Lublin region, on November 2, 1943, an operation, given the code name “Harvest Festival” by the Germans, was begun. Its object was the murder of those survivors of the Warsaw ghetto uprising who had been held since

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Traveling for a family: The Remittance Economy

According to the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, immigrants are the “tired… poor… the huddled masses yearning to be free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore… the homeless, tempest-tossed.” Unfortunately, those words did not fit when Emma Lazarus wrote them in 1883, and

More than a year after the Los Angeles riots, street vendors ply their wares in the shadow of the city's downtown. Photo by APF Fellow Roberto Suro

Immigration to the Burn Zone: The Changing Face of the American City

Photos and article by APF Fellow Roberto Suro   LOS ANGELES — During Los Angeles’ days of fury in spring,1992, the sounds of gun fire and helicopters reminded Elsa Flores why she had left El Salvador more than a decade earlier and made her wonder

Some of the Evergreen Boys show off some of their hardware.

Photo Essay: Gangs of East Los Angeles

Joseph Rodriguez, a freelance photographer who has worked for Pacific News Service, National Geographic and Black Star and is now affiliated with, is photographing the gangs of East Los Angeles during his Alicia Patterson fellowship year. He lives in Los Angeles. Porky, 16, right,

Abortion remains the chief form of birth control in Russia. This rudimentary clinic for young girls in St. Petersburg operates as an assembly line, with one patient exiting as two wait in line.

Life and Death in St. Petersburg

As the first snow of the season fell on St. Petersburg, Russia, Svetlana, 17, sat with two new acquaintances on a bench. They talked, giggled, and waited. Three hours later, they would continue their conversation in the ladies room, over cigarettes, as they put on

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The Alarming Increase in Alcohol-Damaged Children

Malvina is a million dollar baby. Malvina has fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Her mother, a young Indian woman from Alaska who drank heavily while angrily denying her pregnancy, sought medical assistance only after the first labor pains signaled Malvina’s imminent arrival. During her time in

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Beating Alcohol Through Tribal Self-Help

A giant of an Indian knocked at a door in Custer, Montana on a sultry afternoon in the late 1940s. The big man wore three braids under a flat-brimmed, dome-crowned hat. He asked for my father and Dad joined him on the front lawn where