OVER A DECADE IN THE MAKING, my friend and colleague, Stephanie Sinclair’s, project Too Young to Wed is kicking off in a NYC exhibition at the UN this week. Nearly one year ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to declare October 11, 2012 as the first International Day of the Girl Child, set aside to recognize girls’ rights and challenges around the world. To that end, Stephanie’s project promises to #ProtectGirlsRights and #EndChildMarriage. An ongoing campaign, Too Young to Wed needs your participation to effectively bring an end to this harmful traditional practice. Sign up at the blog, Facebook or Twitter. View the exquisite body of work, which also includes video by Jessica Dimmock, on the new site.
STEPHANIE AND I GO WAY BACK (a hairy account told from Ed’s perspective):
We were driving around in a convoy of two cars, Steph and I, and our fixers. And in the distance, we saw this huge plume of black smoke… And it ends up that an American convoy coming into Baghdad …the insurgents had RPG’d an oil tanker. So the convoy is stopped on the incoming side of the highway, and we’re going out, and all of a sudden, there starts to be firing. RPG rounds and bullet rounds cross the highway. What we didn’t know is, the insurgents were on our side of the highway continuing to shoot at the Americans. And the Americans had stopped and they were out of their vehicles shooting back.
So we had to slam on our brakes, abandon our cars and jump over this embankment…I just jumped in this sort of garbage pit. It ended up being like a foxhole. And I’m lying on my back, I’ve got my cameras laying on me, there’s rounds going over my head. But then a Cobra helicopter appears. And I’m thinking, Oh, #*!*. I hope they’re not looking at me seeing, “He’s an Arab,” and think my cameras are guns …I think it was maybe 10 minutes this went on-– long enough that you just started going numb abut what’s going to happen, I’m powerless. And then finally the shooting stopped. We jumped up, saw each other and ran to our cars.
I think I shot one or two pictures, got in the car, drove back …on the way back we got caught in another firefight. So it became comical. As soon as people saw an American convoy, they’d literally make U-turns in the same street to get the #*!* away from them. So we get back to the hotel and my fixer quits on me. Stephanie called me the bullet magnet. It’s funny to laugh at it now. But …it was really a close call. And then in light of what happened with Tim and to Chris and other folks just more recently, you realize how fortunate we are… Nothing is guaranteed in this life.