All posts filed under: Azerbaijan

An Open Letter To the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations Regarding the Trump DC Hotel Hanukah party co-hosted with the Embassy of Azerbaijan

To the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations: At a time when internment camps and mass deportations are being discussed in public and political life in our nation and the state is forcefully closing in on civil liberties and the executive threatens our free press and union leaders, the notion of co-hosting a Hanukah party with one of the world’s most authoritarian regimes at a hotel that bears Trump’s name is beyond inappropriate, it is a scandalous threat to the future of all American Jews in this nation. The Jewish community’s true leaders are not looking for a tribal advantage inside the incoming regime in this country but rather to protect at all times their friends, family, neighbors and colleagues from the brutality a state can unleash on its citizens. Many of us are in this country because we fled persecution at two key historical moments. The first is around the Second World War as Hitler and Stalin closed in on the Pale regions of Eastern Europe, threatening Jewish life there. Half of my …

International Women’s Day: Free Khadija Ismayilova!

Happy International Women’s Day! Time to remember an important one, Khadija Ismayilova, in jail, for being damn good at her job as an investigative reporter and raising mighty quantities of hell while investigating Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and family’s shady business dealings. Turns out they are looting their country! I had the privilege to work with Khadija, be challenged by Khadija, and occasionally even bullied and reminded of moral courage and moral cowardice by Khadija. She is pure quality and intellect and she is serving a 7.5 year sentence for incitement to suicide by a boyfriend who has since recanted and was at the center of an effort at sexual blackmail against Khadija that occurred four years ago to this day with the arrival of a mysterious envelope postmarked Moscow and delivering contents reflecting pure KGB tactics. She went public, just a few months before Eurovision, so they retaliated by releasing a video on a mirror site made to look like one of the opposition parties, Musavat, who would of course have no interest in …

Etem Erol, 1955-2016

The last message I had from Etem hoca was just a few days before he passed away. I had a night layover in Istanbul on my way to Odessa for two months and I asked if he wanted to join some friends for dinner, so naturally I invited Etem, as I had not been back to the city I called home for two years in over a year. He wrote to say he regretted he could not make it that he was leaving early that same morning for Bulgaria with his brother. It was in Bulgaria, I came to learn just a few nights ago from a classmate and fellow student in his Elementary Turkish I class so many years ago, that he had a heart attack and died in his brother’s arms. He was so young, 60, and with so much life and so much still to give. I write this with tears streaming down my face and it’s been more than a day now since I heard this really excruciatingly painful news. It …

*** END OF THE YEAR FLASH PRINT SALE: 12 8″x10″ PRINTS AVAILABLE FOR $100 EACH ***

12 days of Christmas, 12 months in the year, 12 days to go until the new year, 12 prints to put under the tree and then on a wall… Through the New Year, I am offering a dozen of my favorite images culled from the last three years of my “best of” annual blog posts showcasing my favorite images from the year. All prints are signed. Sale is on from now until January 1, 2016. My way of saying thank you for supporting my work and hope you will continue to! You can choose from the following prints: “Baku Billionaire Ibrahim Ibrahimov at Breakfast” Location: Baku, Azerbaijan “Creation Museum” Location: Petersburg, Kentucky, USA “Never Forget September 11 and Budweiser” Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA “Foreign Domestic Workers, Cyprus” Location: Nicosia, Cyprus “Gezi Park Protests Popcorn Vendor” Location: Istanbul, Turkey “Offshore Oil Platform Sails Into the Caspian” Location: Baku, Azerbaijan “An Avar Woman in the Cornfield” Location: Danaci, Azerbaijan “An Avar Family on a Motorcycle and Sidecar” Location: Danaci, Azerbaijan “Avar Schoolchildren on the First Day …

Seven Years, Six Months for Khadija Ismayilova or The Shame of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev

This is Khadija Ismayiova, a PEN Freedom to Write, International Women’s Media Fund Courage in Journalism award-winning Azerbaijani investigative journalist. Today she was sentenced to seven years and six months in jail in Azerbaijan for the crime of committing really, really good journalism by investigating and reporting accurately and truthfully on the shady business dealings of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his family. Unless of course you believe she is guilty of her actual charge, inciting an ex-boyfriend who was compromised by Azerbaijani “Security Services” to suicide – a charge he has since recanted. Oh and p.s. he remains alive to have made the accusation. The Aliyevs’ interests touch every aspect of the economy, from oil to gold mines to telecoms to aviation to luxury hotels to presumably so much more. We know this because of Khadija’s efforts. Today, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project revealed the Aliyevs interest in yachts allegedly owned by the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic or SOCAR. Wife Mehriban’s biggest problem seems to be that the yachts …

The Phoblographer ISO 400: Amanda Rivkin Talks About Photojournalism Internationally

“In this episode of ISO 400, we hear from Amanda Rivkin, an American photojournalist currently based in Chicago who has a wealth of international experience, having worked in places like Azerbaijan, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Turkey. She’s been published in a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, Le Monde and Newsweek among others. She has a deep understanding of storytelling and an eye for subtlety that you don’t often find in news photographs.” View Julius‘ blog post and watch the video on The Phoblographer.

Voice of America (VOA) Azeri Language Service: “I Admire the Courage of Khadija.” [Interview]

Yesterday via e-mail I gave an interview to Voice of America (VOA) Azeri language service journalist Emil Quilyev. The full interview in Azerbaijani can be found on the Voice of America website. Below is the unedited original, without translation which also appears on the website of Radio Azadliq, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Azerbaijani language service. VOA: There have been some recent developments in Khadija Ismayil’s case. Nothing major. However, according to her lawyer Fariz Namazli, the accusation of disseminating state secrets have been lifted. What do you make of these trial proceedings? Amanda Rivkin: I do not know enough about Azerbaijani trial law to comment on the particulars. My guess is that the state has come under tremendous pressure from international organizations over this case and slight developments can be used by the government, primarily for external purposes, to show Khadija is being given something resembling “fair treatment” under the law. Of course I believe this case is entirely political and based on her investigations into the president’s family’s businesses in Azerbaijan and their various …