french civilians

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA. Sarajevo. November 21, 1994. The 1992-95 Bosnian war was the first conflict that Anja Niedringhaus covered. Here, a French UN soldier and a woman give first aid to a Bosnian soldier shot by a bullet on the so-called Sniper Avenue.

Photograph: Anja Niedrinhaus/AP

Famine - The wolf at the door

In 1916 German workers were putting in fourteen-hour days and, according to official German counting, 121,114 Germans had starved to death, up from 88,232 in 1915 – deaths the Germans attributed to the British blockade.

But it was also the result of a decline in Germany’s farm production because men and horses had been taken from farms for the war effort. During 1916, food riots had occurred in approximately thirty German cities. And premature frosts came that killed the potato harvest.

The winter of 16/17 would be known as the Turnip Winter. And short of coal like the French, German civilians were shivering in their homes.

Cartoon from the Western Mail - 29 December 1916
[National Library of Australia]

FRANCE. Paris. May 19, 2016. Riot police officers detain a man during a demonstration against a labour law bill. France is facing tense weeks of strikes and other union actions against the law, allowing longer workdays and easier layoffs, and which has met fierce resistance in Parliament and in the streets.

Photograph: Laurent Cipriani/AP

Just to name a few

Ahmed Merabet: The policeman gunned down defending French civilians in the Charlie Hebdo shootings. 

Salim Toorabally: The security guard who prevented one of the suicide bombers entering the Stade de France during the Paris attacks.

Adel Termos: Stopped a suicide bomber from entering a mosque in Beirut and it cost him his life. 

The Muslims whose religion aren’t the focal point of the few articles that they are mentioned in.

A British soldier carrying a child through a street in a village of France. Children were often the unintentional victims of wartime aggressions.

The story behind this picture is not really known by me. It could be she is an orphan. It could be that the soldier was billeted at the child’s parents house and he had grown find of her, taking her outdoors to play. I hope the second is true. But who knows?


CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC. August 2014. Part 2 of the serie.

Photograph n°1: A French Foreign Legion soldier during a patrol between Bambari and Bria on Aug. 23.

Photograph n°2: French Foreign Legion soldiers are searching for armed people who fired on their positions on Aug. 26.

Photograph n°3: French Foreign Legion soldiers on a patrol.

Photograph n°4: A French Foreign Legion Captain is trying to keep the Christian population calm after an altercation with Muslims on Aug. 17.

Photograph n°5: A French Foreign Legion soldier is firing at an enemy position.

Photograph n°6: An exhausted French Foreign Legion soldier is taking rest after a patrol on Aug. 19.

With his photographs, Elias isn’t claiming to explain what happened in the Central African Republic. “It’s really about the way 20 men live in a section of the French Foreign Legion. It’s intemporal. I wasn’t interested in the fights, the war. I was interested in their private lives — in the times in-between.”

Elias has continued to follow these men, spending Christmas with them. In August, he will visit them again at their base in Nimes, France. “Again, I will be looking for photographs that show their lives; I’ll be looking for the human side.

Photographer: Edouard Elias