Award of Excellence

Land of Continuous Conflict

Majid Saeedi


Afghanistan has been at war for most of the last 50 years. Invasion, occupation, insurgency, civil war, invasion, occupation, insurgency are daily routines. What lies ahead for the people of Afghanistan after Western forces withdraw this year? The new government of the Taliban Islamic Emirate has pushed back democracy and destroyed all 20 years of activity. At the same time, civilian casualties and attacks have decreased, but the newly formed ISIS has emerged. They are doing what the Taliban have done for the past twenty years: violence, war, attacks, and explosions. With the withdrawal of Western forces this year, the future seems to be disappointing and ambiguous. According to a report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affair (OCHA) Afghanistan ranks near the bottom on many humanitarian measures. Thirty-four percent of the population is food insecure. Ten percent of children die before they start primary school. Thirty-eight percent of children do not have access to school. Around 5.4 million civilians in conflict-affected areas have limited access to food, safe drinking water, health care, and other basic services. More than 600,000 people are internally displaced. Almost 1.5 Million people are heroin addicts. Women and girls are especially at risk in Afghanistan. The Taliban have targeted women activists, educators, and any woman working outside the home. They have focused attacks on schools for girls. The literacy rate among women in Afghanistan is 12%. Despite the violence, poverty, drug addiction and lack of education life goes on in Afghanistan. I have engaged on photography of the life of Afghan people for over 10 years. I am a witness of how they tried to build their country and obtained the primitive freedom and democracy; which was destroyed in couple of months.

Saeedi was born and raised in Tehran. He started photography at sixteen and has photographed humanitarian issues in the Middle East. Saeedi has appeared in international publications and won numerous awards.

[ ISSUE REPORTING PICTURE STORY ] A long-term project on a single topic. It could focus on science, news, politics or any number of topics, ranging from coverage of a single person to an entire community. The project must convey a deep understanding of the subject. Each submission consists of 10 to 40 images. Each participant is allowed to enter up to 3 submissions. All images must be taken in 2020 or 2021. Stories on COVID-19 should not be entered in this category.

Judges for Issue Reporting Picture Story
Ikuru Kuwajima
Tanvi Mishra
Sanjit Das
Maika Elan
Oded Wagenstein