Ziyah Gafic / Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ziyah Gafic (1980) isan award-winning photojournalist and videographer basedin Sarajevo focusing on societies locked in a perpetual cycle of violence and Muslim communities around the world. He covered major stories inover50 countries. Ziyah’s work received many prestigious awards such as multiple awards at World Press Photo, Grand Prix Discovery of the Year at Les Rencontres d'Arles, Hasselblad Masters Award, Cityof Perpignan Award for Young Reporters at Visa pour l’Image, Photo District News, Getty Images grant for editorialphotography, TED fellowship, Prince Claus grant, and Magnum Emergency fund grant. His work is regularly published in leading international publications. Ziyah authored several monographs including "Troubled Islam - short stories from troubled societies", "Quest for Identity," and the most recent, "Heartland."

Meccamporhing
Mecca - Saudi Arabia, NOVEMBER 2013: Friday prayer at the holy mosque Al-Masjid Al-Haram. Seen in the middle is Kaaba, or the House of God, a cubic construction dating back ca. 2000 years, built by Abraham and the point to which all the muslims of the world point their prayers. Seen in the background is the Makkah Royal Clock Towe, a third tallest building in the world. (photo by Ziyah Gafic)
Meccamporhing
Mecca - Saudi Arabia, NOVEMBER 2013: A view from above of the holy mosque Al-Masjid Al-Haram massive expansion.The Holy mosque was alreay one of the largest mosques in the world but the new expansion should accommodate rapidly growing number of pilgrims. (photo by Ziyah Gafic)
Chechnya
Zulihan on her bed in Grozniy on Sept 16, 2005. Zulihan was born in 1988 and suffers from heavy mental and physical disorder that includes blindness. Her father and younger brother are also heavily disabled. No medical treatment is offered as hospitals are scarce, especially for such delicate cases like Zulihan’s. She lives in this empty room with her disabled brother. After ten years of war for independence from Commonwealth of Independent States Chechen society is torn apart by inner conflicts, deeply divided and reduced by at least one third of population. By now Chechen war is on of the longest on-going conflicts in the world. Federal government succeeded quite uniquely to chechenize the conflict and impose deadly successful strategy of divide and rule. Thanks to relatively clan mentality, traditional blood revenge, a lot of financial support and very long and exhausting total war Chechens are tired of war and are looking in all possible directions to solve the deadlock in which they live for past decade. Some of them see the solution in Russia as ally. Ahmed Kadirov was one of them. After the first war where he fought along with Maskhadov and Basayev he switched the sides and joined the Federal forces in fight against partisans. Earlier this year he was assassinated and his 29 years old son Ramzan (former driver of Aslan Maskhadov) took over the significant force and became de facto ruler of Chechnya, with no responsibility to anyone except Moscow. Country is suffocating in state sponsored anarchy, people are getting kidnapped and their body parts are found on a daily basis. Hardly any reconstruction took place in past ten years, there is no running water, electricity is scarce, no sewage, heating, health care is quite basic, social service is non existing and the feeling of absolute insecurity and instability is overwhelming. Grozny is simply reduced to rubbles, and it’s left to rot.
Afghanistan
Afghani boy sitting on the edge of swimming pool in Kabul on Oct. 12, 2006. Large swimming pool was built by Russians on one of the numerous hills overlooking Kabul and during the fighting against Russians and later between different Mujaheedin fractions it was used as artillery position and heavily damaged. People come here in afternoon to escape city dust and terrible traffic and to contemplate.
Afghanistan
Two kids are seen in Kabul, Afghanistan on Oct. 6, 2006. There are very few ways to have fun in Kabul so climbing surrounding hills and playing with kites is very popular. However, most of the hills were used as artillery positions and were heavily mined so it's a dangerous way to have fun.
Afghanistan
An Afghan boy is seen with a Minnie Mouse face mask in a local cemetery in Kabul, Afghanistan on Oct. 10, 2006. Afghan cemeteries are very basic: a single stone is used to mark the grave and very rarely something is engraved on it. After decades of war in Afghanistan, reconstruction in the country has slowly begun, though ongoing conflict continues to hinder the process. Despite the devastation and irregular water and electricity supply, Afghans struggle for a sense of normalcy.
Walking in Jerusalem
Children playing in Mea'shearim, ancient ultra orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem in Jerusalem, Israel on Oct. 2008.
IRAQ, SADDAM CITY
SADDAM CITY, BAGHDAD, IRAQ - APRIL 2003: Little Mohamed was born on the day when coalition forces entered Baghdad. Two months after on 21.5.2003 he was shot dead in his aunt's hands by a bullet that went through thiny muddy walls of their house. Aunt was also wounded but survived. They couldn't tell which direction bullet came from. I arrived when they washed little body and prepared it for funeral so I followed father and mother on their way to the cemetary. Saddam City is a part of Iraqi capital Baghdad, some 20min. from city center. It has been established in late fifties as a home for poor Shiites population coming to Baghdad from south of Iraq. In atempt to keep them out of urban core of the city. After Saddam took over power he named it by himself as a sign of affection to Shiites population. At the same time this part of town is without streets, regular water supplying, sewage system,electricity. Most of them suffer from diarhea and other water quality related illnesses. Many of it's inhabitants were imprisoned and tortured by the Regime. It is home for between 1-2 milion Shiites Muslim. It is impossible to find exact numbers. In a bizzare way their situation is actually getting worse after the fall of saddam hussein. chaos and anarchy are rulling this part of town, a lot of guns left over Fedayins and Republican guard have been stolen from military compounds. Most of looted things end here in Saddam City. (photo by Ziyah Gafic/Exclusive by Getty Images)
IRAQ, SADDAM CITY
BABYLON, IRAQ - APRIL 2003: Small village near Babylon. The kindergarden has been abondaned since the US led atack on Iraq started.Saddam city was built in 1960's and 70's as a quarter to absorb the poor Muslim Shiia population arriving in the capital. When Saddam Hussein arrived in power he turned this neighborhood in some sort of a ghetto, there was no electricity, no sewage, no running water and there is about one million people living there. Once the regime collapsed most of the stolen weapon from National Guard ended here in Saddam city. It's still a no-go zone for foreigners and even US troops go there only in force. Soon after Saddam's fall inhabitants renamed the city in Sadr City, by very influental imam Moqtada al Sadr, well known for his militant resistance to occupation. However nothing really changed except the name, ther's still lack of the basic infrastructure. (photo by Ziyah Gafic/Exclusive by Getty Images)
IRAQ, SADDAM CITY
SADDAM CITY, BAGHDAD, IRAQ - APRIL 2003: Brothers Hassan and Saad Nasir Alamy said they've been imprisoned by Saddam's regime without a trial. Some scars are from the torture, some of the self wounding. They claim that after the prison they're mentally ill. Saddam City is a part of Iraqi capital Baghdad, some 20min. from city center. It has been established in late fifties as a home for poor Shiites population coming to Baghdad from south of Iraq. In atempt to keep them out of urban core of the city. After Saddam took over power he named it by himself as a sign of affection to Shiites population. At the same time this part of town is without streets, regular water supplying, sewage system,electricity. Most of them suffer from diarhea and other water quality related illnesses. Many of it's inhabitants were imprisoned and tortured by the Regime. It is home for between 1-2 milion Shiites Muslim. It is impossible to find exact numbers. In a bizzare way their situation is actually getting worse after the fall of saddam hussein. chaos and anarchy are rulling this part of town, a lot of guns left over Fedayins and Republican guard have been stolen from military compounds. Most of looted things end here in Saddam City. (photo by Ziyah Gafic/Exclusive by Getty Images)
IRAQ, NORTHERN IRAQ, FORGOTTEN PEOPLE OF KURDISTAN
SULEYMANIAH, KURDISTAN, NORTHERN IRAQ - OCTOBER 2002: Refugee town close to Suleymaniah. Refugees were from the part of Iraq controlled by Saddam Hussein. They live in terrible conditions, makeshift houses, mud houses, tents. After the first gulf war no fly zone was imposed over Iraq and Kurds used to organize a de facto state on the North of Iraq. For the first time in their history Kurds had a state, though not recognized internationally. However they organzied a functional state waiting for Saddam's fall. Saddam fell and now for the first time Kurds are enjoying the same rights as Sunnis and Shiias in Iraq. (Photo by Ziyah Gafic/Exclusive by Getty Images)
PALESTINE, ISRAEL, BEHIND INTIFADA
GAZA STRIP, PALESTINE, iSRAEL - FEBRUARY 2003: 23 Years old student was killed together with three of his friends when they came out to see results of destruction of small manafacturer shop suspected for producing weapons for one of the militant groups in Gaza. IDF bombed the place and three friends came out to see what happened when another detonation killed all of them. His brothers mourning him in empty room. Gaza strip is aproximately 45 sqkm big stretch of land between Mediteranean Sea and concrete barrier Israel built to protect from the country of incursions. At the same time Gaza is one of the densest populated cities in the world with nearly 2 000 000 Palestinians and sealed off the outer world by the complex of Israeli checkpoints and 12mt high concrete wall. The second Intifada was marked by more brutal force used by Israeli defence forces and by common use of suicide bombers on civil targets. The country was caught in vicious circle of brutal action and even worse reaction. However behind the everyday scenes of boys throwing stones lies the daily life of Palestinians locked in their everyday struggle. Struggle to make a living, struggle to make it through the day isolated from the world by newly built concrete barrier called Separation Wall. Just when we thought that Berlin wall was the last one came a new one. (Photo by Ziyah Gafic/Exclusive by Getty Images)
PALESTINE, ISRAEL, BEHIND INTIFADA
GAZA STRIP, PALESTINE, ISRAEL - JUNE 2002: One morning in Gaza strip I photographed funeral of 7 years old Bedouine kid.Kid was shot from antiaircraft machinegun during the exchange of fire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians. Bullet of that gun is 12,7mm in diameter and makes hueg holes in concrete walls. Bedouins live under tents. After the funeral I was driving along Gaza beach in taxi, brand new Mercedes when i spotted a mand and a horse running on the beach. I photographed them and then asked a man why isn't he riding a horse? Man replied: "Because she's pregnant." The second Intifada was marked by more brutal force used by Israeli defence forces and by common use of suicide bombers on civil targets. The country was caught in vicious circle of brutal action and even worse reaction. However behind the everyday scenes of boys throwing stones lies the daily life of Palestinians locked in their everyday struggle. Struggle to make a living, struggle to make it through the day isolated from the world by newly built concrete barrier called Separation Wall. Just when we thought that Berlin wall was the last one came a new one. (Photo by Ziyah Gafic/Exclusive by Getty Images)
Portraits of internally dispalced persons from North Western province in Pakistan on October 1, 2009.
Man with his family and their personal belongings in North Western province in Pakistan on October 1, 2009. " I've (Ali ur Rahman) put my kids on my motorcycle along with cooking plate and this tea pot and we left our home in Swat in the middle of the night, and that's it, everything else is left behind, we didn't even close the doors of our homes." Portraits of internally displaced persons who fled the federally administered tribal area due to heavy fighting between Pakistani security forces and the Talibans. Tribal area was funded during the British rule of India as a buffer zone between volatile Afghanistan and India. Pakistan inherited the tribal area on a long term lease base. Tribal area is largely populated by ethnic Pashtuns and it is mostly beyond control of Pakistani government. During Soviet invasion of Afghanistan tribal area was a safe heaven for mujaheedins fighting Russians and a launching pad for US assistance to Afghani resistance to occupation. It was also a place where Taliban movement was born in the 90's. Now the Taliban turned against the Pakistani government resulting in heavy military operations and massive exodus of civilians creating one of the larges refugee crisis in recent history. These people were forced to leave their homes on short notice, often in the middle of the night. The treat was coming both from the Taliban repression and military indiscriminate bombing. They managed only to save the few personal belongings they could carry with themselves. Only the few licky ones had the means, the vehicles to leave notorioulsy poor and undeveloped tribal area with a bit more then just clothes and religious books. (photo by Ziyah Gafic / VII network)