Correspondent / behind the news

Behind the image


Israeli civilians stand near Mount Bental, in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, as they watch through binoculars the fighting between Syrian government troops and Islamist rebel fighters on September 2, 2014 (AFP / Menahem Kahana)
AFP Photo / Menahem Kahana

War as spectator sport in the Golan Heights


"It is before dawn on the Golan Heights and a squad of Syrian government troops are engaged in fierce combat with rebels of the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front", writes AFP Jerusalem-based photographer Menahem Kahana. "The clashes are taking place just metres from the barbed wire fence that separates the Syrian side of the strategic plateau from the Israeli-held sector. I am watching from an abandoned Israeli army bunker, around 100 metres from the demarcation line. This is war, taking place right before my eyes, and yet it could almost be another world. I am not a target, and none of the fighters cares remotely what is happening on the Israeli side."

"I have the strangest sense of being in a movie theatre."


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Above the fold

Letters from a mass murderer

Wednesday 10 September 2014 - Eye witness


This picture taken on September 5, 2014 shows the signature under a letter by Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik addressed to AFP journalist Pierre-Henry Deshayes at the AFP office in Oslo (AFP Photo / Pierre-Henry Deshayes)

"Over the course of one year, I have received three letters from Anders Behring Breivik", writes AFP's correspondent in Oslo Pierre Henry-Deshayes. "A quick glance at the envelope is enough to identify the sender. The neat, clean handwriting in block letters is impossible to mistake for anyone else’s. It makes my blood freeze."

Then comes a fundamental question: Should AFP disseminate the contents or not? Obviously, in this type of situation journalists run the risk of being used and abused. On the other hand, people want to know how peaceful Norway could give rise to such a monster. They want to know what that monster is made of.

(AFP Photo / Pierre-Henry Deshayes)


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In bed with Ebola

Wednesday 3 September 2014 - Eye witness


An MSF medical worker checks their protective clothing in a mirror at an MSF facility in Kailahun, on August 15, 2014 (AFP Photo / Carl de Souza)

"At 4:00am in an Ebola hot zone -- when you feel flushed, a little run-down and itchy from the prickly rash developing on your ankle -- paranoia can creep in. Did that kid touch me on the arm? Did that old guy who was spitting everywhere look sick? Did I touch my face before washing my hands after that interview? Is this a headache coming on? Is this a fever?"

Dakar-based reporter Frankie Taggart reports from Kailahun, in Eastern Sierra Leone, one of the worst-hit zones in an epidemic which has killed more than 1,500 people across west Africa.

(AFP Photo / Carl de Souza)


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Afghanistan: Another man in a man's world

Tuesday 19 August 2014 -

Afghan women ride in the back of a taxi in a street in Kandahar on September 16, 2013. (AFP Photo/Siddiqullah Alizai)

Hong Kong-based AFP editor Anuj Chopra recently returned from a reporting mission to Afghanistan. In a heavily male-dominated culture, one of his biggest challenges was trying to find women to talk to for his stories.

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Waiting for justice: Rwanda’s ‘genocidaires'

Friday 18 July 2014 - Behind the image

Rwandan inmates crowding the main yard at the local prison in Gisovu. (AFP Photo/Marco Longari)

AFP Johannesburg photographer Marco Longari visited Rwanda prisons in 2001, where he photographed some of the nation’s suspected “genocidaires”, accused of taking part in the 1994 massacres. It is only now that he is able to publish his images.

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How to survive a media scrum

Wednesday 16 July 2014 - Eye witness

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What happens when too many journalists are trying to nab the same information at the same time? AFP's Roland de Courson gives an insight into the media scrum.

(AFP Photo/Joe Klamar)

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Reporter short-circuits after interviewing robot

Wednesday 16 July 2014 - Eye witness

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AFP Tokyo reporter Alastair Himmer tried to interview a robot. The robot apparently had other plans.

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Suarez, Uruguay's raging hero

Thursday 10 July 2014 - Eye witness

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"As a Uruguayan, it was deeply painful to see our team lose its talisman, the explosive striker who had battled back from knee surgery to restore a glimmer of our little country's faded football glory," writes AFP's chief editor for Latin America, Maria Lorente.

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China grapples with the 'devils' of its past

Wednesday 9 July 2014 - Eye witness

Chinese civilians take part in an event marking the start of the war with Japan. Beijing, July 7, 2014. (AFP Photo/Wang Zhao)

As China marks 77 years since the official start of the war with Japan, AFP Beijing correspondent Tom Hancock watches a Chinese dance troupe reenact past strife, highlighting China's sometimes-schizophrenic attitudes to its former adversary.

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