Walking in Quicksand: Afghans in Greece - Photographs by Zalmaï

Twelve years after the fall of the Taliban and international community’s intervention in Afghanistan, Afghans continue to be the most exiled people in the world. As the first entry point into Europe, Greece receives the largest numbers of migrants and asylum-seekers from African, Central Asia, and the Middle East.

Years of mismanaged migration and asylum policies have crippled Greece’s asylum system; procedures for refugee reception and human rights violation documentation are dysfunctional. Greece’s recent economic crisis has only exacerbated the situation, escalating the citizenry’s xenophobic sentiment to alarming rates of anti-immigrant related violence in the streets.

In 2011, Zalmaï traveled to Greece with a Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund grant to document the predicament of Afghans in Greece. In 2012, Zalmaï collaborated with Human Rights Watch to produce the multimedia feature Hate on the Streets: Xenophobic Violence in Greece. hrw.org/news/2012/07/10/greece-migrants-describe-fear-streets

Zalmaï was born in Kabul Afghanistan and left the country after the Soviet invasion in 1980 and immigrated to Switzerland, eventually becoming a Swiss citizen. Hereturned to Afghanistan after twenty-three years in exile to rediscover hishomeland at a crucial moment of transition.

For the full story please see Zalmai's project at the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund: magnumfoundation.org/emergencyfund/projects.php?code=11EF011

Magnum Foundation: magnumfoundation.org/
Magnum Foundation on Tumblr: magnumfoundation.tumblr.com/
Magnum Foundation on Twitter: @EmergencyFund and @MagnumFND
Magnum Foundation on Facebook: facebook.com/magnumfoundation

In 2008, Magnum photographers created the independent non-profit, Magnum Foundation (MF), (magnumfoundation.org/) to build on Magnum Photo’s longstanding tradition of photography in the public interest. MF strives to use documentary imagery to advance human rights, social justice, and to promote deeper understanding and exposure to critical issues.

MF’s Emergency Fund (EF) (magnumfoundation.org/emergencyfund/) was established in response to the disappearing media infrastructure that once helped sustain long-term commitment to stories and deep engagements with issues. The Emergency Fund awards travel grants to photographers who anticipate critical stories ahead of the media or seek to extend their coverage of ongoing projects on underreported issues. We believe that powerful images and rigorous documentation can open minds, galvanize communities to action, and plant seeds for positive change.

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