Shaminder

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Now and Then. 

The previous year has brought to the headlines images of protest, unrest, questions about race and the reminder that despite the progress made over of the last century, America is far from a whole nation.

Schools have been integrated, the workplace has laws to fight bigotry, the FBI keeps track of hate crimes, a biracial couple can eat Cheerios on a TV commercial, and a biracial man was elected twice to the highest post in the country.

Progress has been made, but as the events of 2014 have reminded us, in many ways as it was, it still remains with many skin-deep issues still lingering under the surface.

Sit-ins at Woolworth lunch counters have been replaced with die-ins in New York’s Grand Central Station. #BlackLivesMatter tweets have replaced “I am a Man” sandwich cards. The national guard in Mississippi has been replaced by the national guard in Missouri.

Through these diptychs, we can measure time and progress. By looking to the past, we glean insights toward the future, perhaps avoiding the pitfalls the next time around. – Shaminder Dulai

Photo credit: Reuters, AP, Magnum, Getty

The year 2014 was one of contradictions, with stories only brought to life because of those journalists willing to go where the stories were.

The Sochi Olympics were a time of inclusion and world harmony as nations gathered in Russia to put differences aside and celebrate the love of sport, but weeks later Ukraine and Russia were at each other’s doorsteps, playing a game of political chess that would topple one country’s president, redraw borders, and forever alter Russia’s world image.

The U.S. legalized gay marriage in many states, while countries like Uganda and India took leaps backward, arresting gay people in the name of civility. 

Health care reform took hold in America, opening access to medical care, but on the other side of the planet Polio was making a comeback in Pakistan and the Ebola virus was ravaging West Africa.

During the yearly U.N. general counsel meeting, nations talked of peace and yet Syria and Iraq burned under the onslaught of ISIS, girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram and militias slaughtered each other in the Central African Republic.

The journalists below are some of the people who felt compelled to take the risks, to tell the stories, to go deeper than the vast majority would ever dream, so that we could better understand what is happening around the globe. Their pictures took us to the front lines, often at great danger to themselves. In some cases, they got too close and tragically we are now deprived from seeing the world as they saw it.

This is not every photojournalist we lost in 2014, this is only one small group, representative of the nearly 100 journalists who died while performing their job. They brought us the news we should know and reminded and why we should care.

If there is any lesson to be taken, it is this: pay attention, act, question and care for each other.—Shaminder Dulai

Learn more about these journalist and see their work here.

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What began as a few small isolated public protests in 2013 against former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, for his about-face on a trade agreement with the European Union to pursue closer relations with Russia, turned violent when protesters clashed with police.

Nearly a year later, Ukrainian artist have gathered to retell the story through artifacts, photographs and live art.

See more and get the story at Newsweek.com

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Protests are often remembered at their most iconic: A flower in a gun barrel opposing war in Vietnam, a “Black Power” salute at the 1968 Olympics, a Tank Man in Tiananmen Square. But though an image can define a protest, the reverse is often true—especially in an age of live coverage and social media, where the world is constantly watching.

Recent protests, like the “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong and the battle for racial justice in Ferguson, have yielded symbols breathtaking for their visual contrasts: Raised arms before military-grade vehicles, umbrellas dispelling thick streams of pepper spray fired at waves of protesters.

These moments are irresistible in an era where social networking can fuel protest, where hashtag activism can unite communities around the world, the universality of such symbols is tempting to highlight.

The question must be asked however: How much of their meaning is organic to those who protest, and how does it change after going through the filter of the media and public consumption?

Go deeper and get the story at Newsweek.com

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It’s a balmy night on the outskirts of Kolkata, and Sudipta Das is standing in a crowded plaza wearing a black sweater and a rakish scarf. Earlier this evening, Das, 20, told his mother that he’s meeting a study group. But instead, he has snuck out to meet up with friends.

Like most young Indians, Das loves Lady Gaga and Harry Potter, dreams of attending college abroad and can name-drop Manhattan landmarks, which he knows from watching Sex and the City. Yet  Das—a tall stylish man with soft features—is living a secret life that most Indians wouldn’t consider “normal.”

Das is gay and hiding it, fearing rejection, discrimination and violence.

“I feel very sad,” Das says. “India is saying love is a crime.”

Get the story at Newsweek.com

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For nearly three decades Diego Deleo has begun most days with a simple breakfast—mixed nuts, apples, bananas and berries, a cup of coffee and perhaps a glance at the newspaper.

Soon he’ll be kicked out of his San Francisco home, forced to give way to the march of progress.

Deleo is among a growing minority of long time San Francisco residents under rent-control who are being displaced through evictions so that the properties they have long called home can be sold off to a younger generation of buyers flush with cash.  

A little over a year ago, Deleo received a notice from his landlord that he was being evicted from his home of almost 30 years through the Ellis Act, a  controversial California State law which allows property owners to evict tenants if they want to leave the rental business. Meant to be used as a last-resort, the Ellis Act has been used more and more by new property owners who are looking for an easy means to flip a building.

See more pictures and get the story at Newsweek.com

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For nearly a decade, it appeared as if Kurdistan, a region of northern Iraq, was to be a model for its neighbors on how to rebuild and thrive.

Buildings were rising, oil revenue was flowing and the new Iraqi government was more inclusive of the Kurds then ever before.

As we know now, it didn’t last, unrest has landed on Kurdistan’s doorstep.

After years of relative peace, the incursion by ISIS militants into western Iraq and subsequent territorial gains across much of the north, the calm of the past decade was no more.

See more pictures and get the story at Newsweek.com

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In 1992, when Tatianna Lesnikova’s son, David, was 15, she feared for his life. The Soviet government had already taken her eldest son in 1989 when he was 16 and committed him to a mental hospital for speaking out in school against the government. Now she was afraid that the new Ukrainian government—controlled by many of the same people who had been in charge under the Soviets—was trying to do the same. 

So she fled. To the US, where she entered life as a ghost. Under US law, Lesnikova doesn’t exist, because she’s stateless. Like Tom Hank’s character in The Terminal, her country doesn’t recognize her and the US doesn’t want her.

Across the U.S., thousands of stateless people are stuck in legal limbo, unlike refugees or illegal immigrants who have clear procedural pathways though our legal system and, more key to the issue, have a tie to another country. If the government chooses, asylum seekers or illegal immigrants can be removed from the U.S. and sent back to a country of origin, but stateless people cannot be sent anywhere because no country will recognize them as their citizen.

Accurate numbers are hard to come by, but according to UNHCR, the U.S. has no more than 10,000, a fraction of 1 percent of the U.S. population.

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