In association with Amnesty International
A man with plenty of experience of in-depth, long haul reportages, here Belgian photographer Gaël Turine opens our eyes to a little-known reality. His subject is a wall some 3200km long, separating India and Bangladesh, which makes it the longest geopolitical barrier in the world.
Erection of this wall of shame was begun in 1993 by the Indian authorities, to restrict illegal immigration and infiltration from terrorists. It has shattered the already precarious balance in the region, ruining a traditional system of commercial trade, destabilizing Indian and Bangladeshi enclaves on opposite sides of the border and bringing bloody repression to the inhabitants. Arrests and cases of torture have become commonplace in the vicinity of the wall, as the Indian troops of the Border Security Force (BSF) and, to a lesser extent, their Bangladeshi counterparts, the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), conduct such activities with total impunity.
For almost two years and with great force of will, Gaël Turine immersed himself in the daily lives of the people living along the border. In perilous conditions, he managed, with help from local journalists and activists, to get around official restrictions in spite of constant surveillance.
He remains true to his fundamentally human approach, and through individual stories he delivers an essential account of one of the most horrific human constructions of the past 20 years.
This reportage was awarded the AFD Prize for the best photo reportage (French Development Agency), and is to be turned into a book, part of the Photo Poche Société series, with the backing of Amnesty International. It is scheduled for publication in August 2014.
Gaël Turine has produced a number of other books, notably Avoir 20 ans à Kaboul (2005) and Voodoo (2010). His work has won prizes on several occasions and regularly appears in the Belgian and international press. He is also a member of the Vu’ agency.
Interview in French with Gaël Turine here (short version) and here (long version)