Villages burned to the ground in Sudan, dire conditions in Zimbabwe's schools, and more
This show is made up entirely of amateur images. We've seen time and time again how images captured by ordinary citizens then uploaded onto the Web can change history, or at least shift the balance of power. This week, we take a look back at some of those moments.
Story 1: Sudan
Our first Observer tells us about a conflict taking place far out of the sight of any television crews. He’s in South Kordofan, a region of Sudan where fighting is taking place between the Sudanese army and a rebel group called the SPLM-N. Seeing that few people were paying attention to the horrible violence taking place in this region, Ryan Boyette decided to set up a network of citizen journalists. And these citizen journalists have managed to get their hands on a video that appears to show the army burning a village to the ground. Despite the risks, they travelled there to verify the story.
Story 2: Zimbabwe
Next stop: another country where it’s difficult for journalists to work – Zimbabwe. Politics deeply divide the population there. Even children aren’t spared: as you’ll see, some of them are even asked to sing the praises of president Robert Mugabe - in school! An Observer who goes by the pseudonym Peter tells us more.
Story 3: World
And now, a selection of the best images sent in from around the world this week by our Observers.
We begin in Cameroon with Georgette Arrey Taku, who told us about an agonizing tradition that still exists in her country today. It’s called “breast ironing.” When girls start going through puberty early, at 9 or 10 years old, some mothers become very worried that they will attract boys and become pregnant too young. To try to stop this, they crush the girls’ breasts – usually using a pestle or a hot stone. Our Observer thinks this is cruel, and that in any case, it doesn’t work. She says that flattening girls’ breasts isn’t going to stop boys from being attracted to them – and that what they really need is sexual education.
Next, we head to the republic of Tatarstan, in central Russia, with Igor Sholokhov. He brought this video to our attention. This footage was taken from a video surveillance camera in a police jail cell. The man we see here has his hands attached to his feet. The police did this to punish him after he got into a drunken bar brawl. The man died, in custody, that night. The police say he suffered from acute pancrea-ti-tis, but our Observer believes the way the police treated him is what really killed him. Despite this video, for now, the police hasn’t deemed it necessary to launch a criminal investigation.
Last stop: China, with some photographs that have enraged Chinese Internet users. A schoolteacher thought it would be a good idea to put photos of herself torturing her students on the Internet. Thankfully, the police quickly identified her - and arrested her.