On the speaker’s stand on Imam Hossein Square in Tehran during a speech on the anniversary
of Ayatollah Khomeini’s exile, stands Ahmad Khomeini, his son. The three portraits show,
from left to right: Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, Khomeini and Hussein Ali Montazeri. 1982
A member of the Hezbollahi (center) stabs an Anti-Khomeini demonstrator in Tehran, 1980.
Thousands of people were killed in the streets all over Iran in 1979 and 1980. After having
taken this picture, I was arrested by Revolutionary Guards, beaten, threatened with
execution, and escaped only by chance.
Supporters of Ayatollah Shariat Madari tear up Khomeini’s portrait in Tabriz, 1980. Violent
incidents between partisans of the two Ayatollahs broke out in January 1980 in Tabriz, the
capital of Iranian Azerbaijan, Shariat Madari’s native region. They redoubled intensity
after the execution, on January 12th, of eleven members of the Republican Party of the Muslim
People, which invoked the name of Madari, who was under house arrest in Qom. As an ayatollah
that was politically moderate, he supported the revolutionary movement but soon diverged
from the evolving radical options. In 1982, he was stripped of his title of “Grand
Ayatollah” and “Model for Believers”. He died in 1986.
A Peshmarga fighter shows unexploded devices during the siege and bombing of the Kurdish
town of Sanandaj by Islamic revolutionary guards and army in which thousands of Kurds died,
A group of prisoners is executed publicly in Jamshid Street in Tehran, 1980, sentenced to
death by Ayatollah Khalkhali (“The Hangman of the Revolution”). The construction on which
they should be hung up collapsed, so the prisoners were shot dead.
Women prisoners in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. On the third anniversary of the
advent of the Islamic Republic, in February 1982, journalists were shown oppositional
prisoners at Evin prison who were said to have “repented”. A thousand men and women were
thus exhibited at the time of prayer in the prison mosque. They were obliged to sing
religious or revolutionary songs. A political prison of sinister reputation, Evin became the
symbol of all prisons of the Khomeini regime. Thousands of people, oppositionists or
suspected oppositionists, were tortured or executed without the least form of due process.
During this demonstration to the press, in speeches, it was no longer a question of prison
but of “university” or “hospital” and of “re-education” destined to show the “right path” to
these “sick people”.
A soldier stands in front of a convoy of tanks driving along the horizon at the front near
Khoramshahr. Occupied since October 1980 by the Iraqis, Khoramshahr became the objective of
a major Iranian offensive, dubbed “Jerusalem”. On both sides, it became one of the bloodiest
battles of the war (50,000 dead in the first few days). Launched 29-30th April 1982, it ended
May 23rd by the reconquest of the city by Iran.
A group of mullahs, sent especially to the front in Shalamsheh, on the Iranian side of the
Iran-Iraq border near Abadan, by Ayatollah Khomeini, observes the oil port of Faw in Iraq
burning in 1983.
A young boy wearing a combat volunteer’s uniform holds a gun during a parade of female
basijis in Tehran, December 1983. The white band around his head is an invocation of
Ayatollah Khomeini. (World Press Photo 1st prize 1983, category news)
Boys sing a revolutionary song on the tribune during a celebration for the 1982 anniversary
of Ayatollah Khomeini's rebellion against the Shah. The posters show the late Ayatollah Dr.
Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini Beheshti (left), founder of the Islamic Republican Party who was
assassinated in 1981, and Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri.
This situation during the battle of Khoramshahr has always reminded me of the battle of
Kerbela the way the story had always been told to us as children.
A mullah holds the drip bottle for one of the many soldiers injured in the battle of
On a wall in Khoramshahr, a portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini almost disappears under the
impact of bullet and shrapnel. Khoramshahr was occupied for two years by Iraq before being
retaken by Iran in May 1982. Baptized the “bloody city”, it was completely destroyed.
Iraqi prisoners of war are forced to pray with a portrait of Khomeini in the military base
of Parandak, 50 km from Tehran, in spring 1982. After the battle of Desfuz, during the
victorious offensive aimed at recovering the city of Khoramshahr, about 15,000 Iraqi
prisoners from all the prison camps of the country were assembled and shown to the press.
Although they were members of the Sunni branch of Islam, they were subjected to “re-
education” in Shia Islam beliefs and practices.
Kurdish Peshmargas take me with them in their pick-up in Iranian Kurdistan, 1979. I had
marked my hand with what I believed to be my blood group: it was incorrect, and fortunately
I was not wounded.
I left Iran in 1985, just for a short while – or so I thought. But I remained exiled from my
home country until the present day.
A trainee marks the victory sign in Jante Hezbollah training camp in Bekaa valley, 1981.
Isa, an ex-marine from U.S. Special Forces who converted to Islam and came to Lebanon to
train Shia fighters, demonstrates the use of fire arms in a position around Beirut, 1981. He
later went to Iran where he was arrested for unclear reasons.
An elderly royalist woman protests in front of British riot police during clashes between
members of the Orange Order and security forces in Northern Ireland 1986. This photo was the
last frame I shot before I was wounded by a stone thrown by one of the demonstrators.
Night scene in the closed market of Managua, Nicaragua. Street children live in gangs in the
streets or in abandoned buildings. These photos were taken while shooting of a documentary
film, "Casita", about the subject in 2000.
U.S. troops take position after landing in Santiago, north of Panama City, to take a
Panamanian military base, December 21st, 1989. I was one of the first photojournalists to
arrive in Panama during the U.S. invasion, as all flights had been cancelled, but I crossed
the border by car from Costa Rica where I was living.
Traditional dancers and musicians perform at the celebration of extinguishing the last oil
well set ablaze by the Iraqi forces, in Al Ahmadi, nine months after the withdrawal of Iraqi
troops from Kuwait.
Egyptian policemen rebuff me in Cairo, after an assassination attempt on the Egyptian Prime
Minister in 1993.
I was taken out of Mogadishu by a US military plane going to Cairo. When arriving at the
military airport in Cairo the passport control was very surprised to see the holder of an
Iranian passport traveling from Somalia with the US army. They decided that I must be very
important, saluted and sent a limousine to take me from the airport.
Bosnian children play war during the siege of Sarajevo in 1992 in which about 400,000
residents were trapped and cut off from all basic supplies. Thousands of civilians were
killed and wounded, suffered from rape and starvation.
The old library of Sarajevo, once containing a huge collection of old and precious books and
documents, was destroyed completely on August 26th, 1992, deliberately targeted by Serbian
militia. The entire day small burned paper fragments filled the air of Sarajevo.
A young boy relieves himself next to a US marine in full armor in Mogadishu, Somalia, during
the US operation in 1993.
Students of the Quranic University for women in Umm Durman, the sister city of Khartoum on
the other bank of the Nile in Sudan, follow a lecture, 1993. After graduation they work as
A student of Sayma Dayma Quranic School in Umm Durman is chained around his legs as
punishment. The traditional Quranic school is one of the oldest and most famous in Africa.
The approximately 200 students, all boys, begin as early as five years old. They sleep in
common rooms on the floor. Classes begin at 4.30 am after morning prayer and go on till late
Boys parade as soldiers of the Militia of Popular Defense (Army of Prophet Muhammad). Armed
forces demonstrate weapons and tactics during a parade in Khartoum, organized for
participants of the Islamic Conference in December 1993.
Muammar Ghaddafi holds a press conference on November 3rd, 1994, in front of the ruins of his
palace in Tripoli, Libya, which was bombed and destroyed by American air force. His son was
killed by the bombing.
A military parade in Tripoli celebrates the 25th anniversary of Muammar Ghaddafi’s takeover
of power from King Idris in 1969.
One of the first people I met when moving to Jerusalem was one of my class mates from
Tehran. He had opened a sandwich bar next to my office in downtown Jerusalem. By the way,
Moshe Katzav and Mahmud Ahmedinejad also visited the same school in Iran.
While I was recovering from my Ramallah injury in the military hospital Hôtel des Invalides
in Paris the patients were visited by Jacques Chirac on Armistice Day. When talking to me he
asked me if I needed anything. Dizzy from all the medicine as I was I first said no but as
he was walking away I got an idea. “Monsieur le Président”, I called him back, telling him
that my Iranian citizenship causes problems in some countries. “What, you don’t have a
French passport yet?” he replied. And so, within a couple of weeks I had the French
citizenship “by honor”.
After having recovered from my gunshot injury from Ramallah, and after having spent 18
months in hospital from which 12 months in wheelchair, I took up traveling again. Four years
after that incident, I went with French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin to Palestine, and
finally also again to Ramallah where he was welcomed with a rain of stones by angry
students. He escaped in an armored car – which in the messy situation rolled over my
recently recovered leg. I was taken to the same hospital and treated by the same nurses and
doctors who first thought I was involved in shooting a documentary about the old incident.
An elderly Palestinian from Jerusalem kisses his only source of income, a camel on the Mount
of Olives where tourists usually come to have a look on the Old City of Jerusalem, and
eventually for a few dollars take a ride on the camel's back.
Thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men gather in Mea Shearim on May 28th, 1996 to support the
boycott of the May 29th Israeli general elections. They are members of an Ultra-Orthodox
movement that rejects the State of Israel.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men carefully examine the plants needed for Sukkoth feast before
purchasing. The inhabitants of Mea Shearim prepare for the one-week feast of Sukkoth in
October 1995, which commemorates the Jew's Biblical exodus from Egypt.
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish family, the children in costumes, walk in Mea Shearim on the day of
Purim, March 3rd, 1996. Purim remembers the rescue of the Jews from Haman's plot to kill them
some 2000 years ago.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews gather in Mea Shearim on May 28th, 1996, to boycott Israeli general
Young men and boys demonstrate against a Supreme Court decision not to close a main street
running through Bar Ilan neighborhood in Jerusalem during Shabbat and Jewish holidays on
August 17th, 1996.
The Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem, Diodoros I, blesses believers with Jordan water to
celebrate Epiphany. Jordan River here passes by the ruins of Allanby Bridge, destroyed
during the Six-day War.
Palestinian children watch a Palestinian strike in the West Bank to commemorate the 95th
month of the Intifada on November 9th, 1995.
Israeli soldiers armed with M-16 rifles and sticks patrol the alleyways of Old Jerusalem on
August 30th, 1995. Palestinians could not follow an appeal by Yassir Arafat to pray in Al
Aqsa Mosque in protest over Israeli rightwing government policies because of Israeli
A Palestinian woman is arrested by Israeli security forces for having entered Israel from
Gaza illegally. She went to Jerusalem to sell her vegetables. Israeli security forces are on
maximum alert prior to the Sharm el-Sheikh anti-terrorist summit on March 13th, 1996.
Young Palestinians, who have helped evacuating the wounded, throw a stone covered with a
Palestinian's blood to Israeli troops which are shooting at demonstrators in Ramallah
protesting against the opening of the tunnel under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, September
26th, 1996. The same day, also I was shot by an Israeli sniper.
I was shot down by an Israeli soldier in Ramallah, West Bank, on September 26th 1996. I got
seriously wounded and spent the following 18 months recovering in the military hospital
Hôtel des Invalides in Paris. (Photo: Jim Hollander)
Young French UN Blue Helmet veterans from former Yugoslavia are dressed in gala uniforms for
celebrating Armistice Day, November 11th, 1996, in the military hospital Hôtel des Invalides
in Paris. I shot a series about French war veterans in the hospital while recovering from my
injuries from Ramallah.
A photo exhibition at AINA Afghan Culture and Media Center marks the first anniversary of
AINA Photojournalism Institute in 2003, presenting the students’ photos.
A villager from Badakhshan votes for the first time in his life at the Loya Jirga elections
in 2002. I spent two months as UN monitor in this area where 21,000 villagers were chosen,
village-by-village, to the time the pool was narrowed down to 1,500 elected delegates who
made their journey to Kabul. There they gathered for nine days, and after much debate,
ultimately in early June 2002 fostered the election of President Hamid Karzai and the
establishment of the Transitional Authority.
A woman in Faizabad, the capital of Badakhshan region, having thrown open her burqa, gives
her vote at the Loya Jirga elections.
A young man pushes his heavily loaded wheelbarrow through deep mud at a vegetable market in
The head of one of the two basalt statues which guarded the entrance of the ancient,
subterranean tomb of the kings of Qatna in Syria discovered in December 2002. The statues
date from ca. 18th century B.C.
It was in this royal tomb, 18 meter deep under the ground, that I met my wife Ursula, an
archaeologist, here documenting the exact position of jewellery spread around the
sarcophagus. The archaeologists wear helmets, masks and gloves against the dangers of
falling rock pieces and fungi.
The semi-nomadic inhabitants of this summer village called Belli Yayla near the famous site of
Nemrut Dag in Turkey spend their summer 2005 with the animals in a prehistoric way of life: no
electricity, no running water, and the architecture of the stone houses reflects ancient
Only the minaret peaks out from the submerged mosque of Savasan village which has been
flooded by the waters of Birecik reservoir damming up the Euphrates in Southeastern Turkey.
It is now, in 2004, inhabited only by two families. Many villages have been destroyed by dam
projects; its inhabitants forced to settle elsewhere or move into the suburbs of the big
A camel caravan travels from Darfur to Egypt for sale, near the 3rd Nile cataract in Sudan,
March 2005. The road is called Tariq al-Arba’in, meaning Road of the Forty, because it takes
approximately 40 days to travel.
A Nubian village with typically painted houses at the 4th Nile cataract in Sudan, March
2005. The villagers are displaced by the newly constructed Merowe Dam, and are resettled in
ready-built concrete settlements in the middle of desert.
Portrait of a Nubian girl in a village at the 4th Nile cataract.
Portrait of an old Nubian villager whose shadow forms the shape of a pharaoh. The Nubian
“Black Pharaohs” from what is today Northern Sudan ruled over Ancient Egypt as the 25th
Dynasty between 720 and 664 BC.
Night commuters gather in a night shelter in a hospital in Northern Uganda in August 2006.
The boys seek refuge from the Lord’s Resistance Army, abducting children from the villages
to join their militia group as child soldiers.
A refugee woman in Northern Uganda builds her new house, August 2006. After 20 years of
civil war causing ten thousands of dead, mutilated and refugees, an agreement of the Ugandan
government with the Lord’s Resistance Army gives hope for peace and stability.
A drugged street boy lies on the market in Managua, Nicaragua, 2000.
Portrait of a man in a village in Dasht-e Kavir Desert, Iran, 1981.
An Afghan man takes part in a WFP (World Food Program) Food for Work project in Hazrate
Sultan in Badakhshan, cleaning an irrigation channel from mud, 2003.
An Egyptian pilgrim arrives with a TV set from Saudi Arabia to Suez port along with
thousands of other Egyptians who return home after performing the pilgrimage to Mecca in
A Palestinian man carries a refrigerator up the long steps in the Old City of Jerusalem,
October 1995. And a Palestinian worker carries a toilet passing Erez crossing point to Gaza
Strip from Israel, February 8th, 1996.
Portrait of Adriano Sofri in prison in Pisa, Italy. Adriano Sofri has been sentenced to 22
years of prison in January 1997, for the murder of Luigi Calabresi, a police officer in May
1972. The trial has widely been regarded as a farce; the only evidence against Sofri was a
single confession of a man regarded unreliable by many. After serious illness he has been
released in 2006.