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|July 27, 2009|
Today, we have three shorter stories, from The Israel-Syria border, Tanzania and Malaysia. Each of these stories caught my eye over the past year, yet I never had enough photographs of each to run them as their own Big Picture entry. Today, I'm happy to share them with you in a single entry in three parts. Below, you will find the story of an Israeli Druze bride who traveled (by foot) north to Syria to wed - and to never return, because Syria and Israel do not have diplomatic ties. You'll also see the faces of a hunted minority in Tanzania, albinos who live in fear of being murdered for their body parts, which will be used for talismans and luck potions. And we end with a visit to a clan of Bajau people, or "sea gypsies", an indigenous group living a seaborne life in boats and huts on stilts, rarely coming ashore, off the coast of Malaysia. (31 photos total)
From left to right: Arin Safadi, a Druze woman from the Golan Heights, sets out on a one-way trip to her wedding in Syria; A teenage albino girl in a government-run school in Tanzania, being sheltered from criminals who have already killed dozens of albinos to sell their body parts for luck potions and talismans; Bajau boys, also known as "sea gypsies", paddle their boat near their homes on stilts in the Sulawesi Sea off of Malaysia.
Arin Safadi, a 24 year old Druze woman from the village of Ein Qinya in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, set out to marry her fiance, 35-year-old Rabia Safadi in neighboring Syria last September. However, due to the absence of diplomatic ties between Syria and Israel, she had to sign a document shortly befor leaving, giving up her right of residence - acknowledging that she would not be allowed to return to her family home. Arin and Rabia were married the same day, planning to move to Jaramana, a twon near Damascus, Syria. (10 photos total)
While albinos in sub-Saharan Africa have faced discrimination for many years, their situation has become far more dangerous in recent years in Tanzania. Albinos in Tanzania are increasingly targeted by those who would kill them for their body organs, limbs and even hair to be used in luck potions by others seeking wealth and good fortune in business and professional circles. According to local residents, witch doctors use the organs and bones in concoctions to divine for diamonds in the soil, while fishermen have been known to weave albino hair into their nets hoping for a big catch on Lake Victoria. More than 50 albinos have been killed in Tanzania and neighboring Burundi in the past year - prompting a network of protective services and a few arrests and murder trials which have been fast-tracked by the Tanzanian government. (10 photos total)
The Bajau are an ethnic group living in Malaysia - a loose collection of several related indigenous groups and tribes from the surrounding area. Often referred to as "Sea Gypsies", due to a historic existence as a nomadic seafaring people, more and more of the Bajau have been moving onshore over time. However, in some areas, communities of families are still maintaining their nomadic, sea-based lifestyle without a fresh water supply or electricity, only going ashore to bury their dead. (10 photos total)