Nature’s War on Mozambique
Rage and Repeat
This is Kongolote Refugee Camp, a few miles from Mozambique’s capital of Maputo, and a few months after a cyclone struck with its savage rains. Nature’s wrath is familiar to this African country; it wreaks havoc here every couple of years. When the water reaches impossibly high levels, desperate locals cling to trees, climb to rooftops, and hope that boats and recovery helicopters spot them in time.
Brexiles and Brain Drain
Who Will Northern Ireland Become?
This is Giant’s Causeway, miles of hexagon-shaped volcanic rock jutting from Northern Ireland far into the Atlantic. Nature’s roughly 60-million-year-old seascape still inspires legends of a proud local giant who tossed chunks of coastline in the water, so he could cross and confront a Scottish aggressor.
America’s Crushing Opioids
Big Problems for Small Towns
This is Lake Worth, Florida, a short bridge across the Intercoastal Waterway but a world apart from glistening Palm Beach. The old town center is a study in compact eclecticism: brightly painted murals dance from historic art deco walls, fresh civil rights tributes punctuate public areas, and there’s an edgy, accomplished art scene. Landmark buildings and fair-trade shops share real estate with laundromats and check-cashing counters.
It’s Epidemic and Corrosive
This is Salt Lake City, a socially conservative town where public expressions of hate are usually on mute. So, when a sandwich-boarded zealot angered a young woman crossing the street, she quickly returned toting her response. Their altercation triggered a father pushing a baby carriage to run back with his own commentary. The reactive, in-your-face confrontation was loud, even physical, but stopped short of the hate violence escalating across the United States.
Nigeria’s Homegrown Radicalism
Islamic State of West Africa Province Strangles Region
This is Toge, an aging and sprawling shantytown just off the highway near Nigeria’s modern capital, Abuja. It’s dusty and hot, a sweltering swirl of humanity isolated from the gleaming metropolis. Urban officials intend to keep it that way; they’re vigilant about freeing the nation’s seat of government from squatters and other visible signs of poverty.
Chile: South America’s Most Stable Country
Reluctant Host to Migrants
This is Valparaíso, midpoint up the mountain where poverty climbs the rest of the way. Built into rugged terrain along the Pacific’s rim, Chile’s oldest port city doubles as a UNESCO World Heritage site with colorful houses dotting the Andean landscape. Locals take pride in the vivid murals that seem to cover every surface; the higher the climb, the riper the content.
¡Viva la Revolución!
Russia Reinvigorates Cuban Communists
This is downtown Havana, where the city’s schools, steamy apartments and lively bars empty out to street parties and parades celebrating Jose Marti, the man who won Cuba’s independence from Spain. Marchers appear from every direction, some uniformed, others costumed, all part of endless divisions of children chanting revolutionary slogans.
Vietnam's Extreme Migration
Environment Hangs in the Balance
This is Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh City’s massive labyrinth of indoor merchants hawking everything from shrimp paste to Burberry knockoffs. Midday, it throbs with shoppers pushing through the congestion and vendors shouting price cuts from stalls piled with product. HCM, formerly Saigon, is Vietnam's largest metropolis, an unending sprawl created by millions of rural transplants desperate for work.
East Jerusalem on the Edge
Residents Press “Investors” to Meet Urgent Needs
This is East Jerusalem, a dusty maze of stone-paved alleyways crammed with the world’s holy sites, well-trod tourist areas, neighborhoods and shops. It’s where the Israeli-Arab conflict was born, and where it dominates. In the most combustible part of a city often smoldering in tension, the Palestinian population here squeezes into antiquated quarters, where the stench and the darkness render decrepit infrastructure obvious.
Rwanda's At-Risk Generation
Post-War Stress Saddles Youth
This is Mutobo Demobilization Center in Rwanda where once-marauding mercenaries spend months, even years transitioning from genocide to job readiness. The ex-combatants, many conscripted as child soldiers, joined the 100-day Hutu rampage in 1994 that wiped out 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, left 100,000 orphans, 250,000 rape victims, and an entire nation traumatized for generations. Mutobo is intent on teaching them to be “good Rwandans," not tribalists.
Hate in Central and Eastern Europe
Autocracy Gains, Democracy Loses
This is Zagreb, Croatia’s cosmopolitan capital where hate scrawl debases a prominent building in the city's center. Croatia’s official government ombudsperson for human rights issued a stinging report last week demanding stronger laws to restrict the dramatic increases in public displays of neo-Nazi symbols, alt-right racist chants, and other fascist messaging.
Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge
Convicted of Genocide
This is Kampong Chhang, Cambodia, a torture and execution ground-cum-monastery where genocide survivors pray before an afternoon meal. The women’s shaved heads symbolize widowhood; their husbands were among nearly two million citizens the Khmer Rouge systematically worked to death, starved and slaughtered from 1975-1979.
Guatemala's Strong-arm Leader
Ignores Anti-corruption Campaign
Here, on Antigua de Guatemala’s cobblestone streets, mother and daughter rest after a long day selling their wares. The Spanish colonial town, indeed a World Heritage Site with carefully restored buildings awash in rich earthen hues, seems like a movie set dropped into Guatemala’s landscape of dirt-poor villages and ramshackle towns. This, Central America’s most populous country, suffers from widespread hunger; over half of newborns to five-year-olds are malnourished.
Northern Ireland's Troubles
Anxious, Depressed, and Hopeless Youth
This is East Belfast, where memories of terror converge with every day life. PTSD is treacherous in Northern Ireland, and mental health is spiraling down fast. Persistently high suicide rates, among Europe’s worst, join a set of staggering data about those entering adulthood: half of 16-25 year olds suffer mental illness, two-thirds feel stressed and a full third feel helpless.
At Risk in El Salvador
Lives Clipped by Constant Violence, No Relief in Sight
This is the daily commute in El Salvador, where raging gang battles brand it the most murderous country in the world. Life on the streets, no matter how mobile, is targeted. Terrified bus commuters avoid eye contact, lest they attract the attention of gang members preying on riders for cellular phones, watches, and wallets.
Ever the Destabilizer, Putin Meddles in Bosnia
This is the face of grief. Hers is one among hundreds of thousands of anguished Muslims who make the mountainous memorial trek to Srebrenica. In this Bosnian town nearly 25 years ago, Serbs unleashed their most savage attack of the Balkan’s wars: rounding up Muslim men from nearby hamlets and towns, warehousing them in a battery factory, then torturing and slaughtering them.