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Mariupol's Jewish Community 32
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
29 Apr 2015

Rabbi Cohen is reflecting on the idea to one day rebuilt the once proud and only Synagogue of Mariupol.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 33
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
29 Apr 2015

Rabbi Cohen is playing with a tree branch inside the remains of the only Synagogue in Mariupol.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 34
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
29 Apr 2015

Rabbi Cohen and two teenagers of the community are walking back to the Chabad center.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community Near the ...
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Apr 2015

Only a few thousand Jews have remained in the port city of Mariupol. A mere 12 kilometers east of the city, fighting rages between pro-Russian separatists and volunteer battalions struggling to keep the town of Shirokino. The Chabad Lubavitch organization tries to keep track of its members still within the city while providing aim to the numerous Jewish families in need. Volunteers gather each day at the local Chabad center in central Mariupol helping to pack foodstuffs in plastic bags for local Jewish families who have decided to remain in the port city.

Natasha Ralko's windows were blown out while she was sitting in the living room of her apartment with her daughter and 8-month-old infant. Her kitchen is now heavily damaged. Ralko believes the death toll in eastern Ukraine is much higher than reported. Mariupol’s Jewish community is spread out, and some members, like Natalia Lavushko and her husband, Grigory, live on the city’s outskirts—areas that would be early targets in the event of a new offensive. The Lavushkos have stopped renovating their modest house because Ukraine’s currency devaluation has eaten into their meager income.

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 10
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Apr 2015

Members of the Chabad community are taking a break from packing food produce.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 11
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Apr 2015

A view of a Jewish calendar which shows old photos of the thriving Jewish community before WWI.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 12
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Apr 2015

Members of the Jewish community are taking a rest inside the Chabad center of Mariupol.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 13
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Apr 2015

A member of the Chabad community reads from the Tora inside the only Jewish center left in the port city.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 14
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Apr 2015

A local member is writing a note inside the Chabad center of Mariupol.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 15
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Apr 2015

The Rabbi Cohen, and his wife are helping all Jews still living in Mariupol seeking help and council. Though many thousands have fled to safer areas, a mere three thousand are said to have remained within the city.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 16
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Apr 2015

Rabbi Cohen describes the day massive artillery strikes hit the Northern parts of Mariupol, killing dozens in the process.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 17
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Apr 2015

Mariupol Jewish community member Natasha Ralko, whose windows were blown out while she was sitting in the living room of her apartment with her daughter and 8-month-old infant, and whose kitchen is now heavily damaged, believes the death toll in eastern Ukraine is much higher than reported.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 18
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Apr 2015

Mariupol Jewish community member Natasha Ralko, whose windows were blown out while she was sitting in the living room of her apartment with her daughter and 8-month-old infant, and whose kitchen is now heavily damaged, believes the death toll in eastern Ukraine is much higher than reported

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 19
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Apr 2015

Mariupol Jewish community member Natasha Ralko, whose windows were blown out while she was sitting in the living room of her apartment with her daughter and 8-month-old infant, and whose kitchen is now heavily damaged, believes the death toll in eastern Ukraine is much higher than reported.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 20
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Apr 2015

Mariupol Jewish community member Natasha Ralko, whose windows were blown out while she was sitting in the living room of her apartment with her daughter and 8-month-old infant, and whose kitchen is now heavily damaged, believes the death toll in eastern Ukraine is much higher than reported.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 21
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Apr 2015

Mariupol’s Jewish community is spread out, and some members, like Natalia Lavushko and her husband, Grigory, live on the city’s outskirts—areas that would be early targets in the event of a new offensive. The Lavushkos have stopped renovating their modest house because Ukraine’s currency devaluation has eaten into their meager income.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 22
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
28 Apr 2015

Mariupol’s Jewish community is spread out, and some members, like Natalia Lavushko and her husband, Grigory, live on the city’s outskirts—areas that would be early targets in the event of a new offensive. The Lavushkos have stopped renovating their modest house because Ukraine’s currency devaluation has eaten into their meager income. Their young daughter is playing in her room which was partly destroyed during an artillery strike.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 04
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
27 Apr 2015

Local Jewish volunteers are preparing food packages for other members of their community still in Mariupol. These packages are filled with various foods necessary for the survival of these families who have decided to remain in the war zone.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 05
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
27 Apr 2015

Volunteers gather each day at the local Chabad center in central Mariupol helping to pack foods in plastic bags for local Jewish families who have decided to remain in the port city, though the fighting is a mere 10 miles away.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 06
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
27 Apr 2015

A young member of the Jewish community is checking his cell phone from inside the only Jewish center left in the city of Mariupol.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 07
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
27 Apr 2015

A local Jewish woman is inspecting the progress made by her peers inside the only Jewish center left, which are provided food packages to families who have remained in the port city.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 08
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
27 Apr 2015

Local members of the Jewish community of Mariupol are gathering food packages from inside the only Jewish center left within the port city.

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Mariupol's Jewish Community 09
Mariupol, Ukraine
By Jonathan Alpeyrie
27 Apr 2015

The Chabad center of Mariupol is the only one left of its kind within the port city. Jewish members can go there at anytime to get help, or seek advise.

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Pottery production in Nepal
Baktaphur
By Noe Falk Nielsen
15 Apr 2015

In Nepal pottery is still produced by hand and the present collection provides a brief insight into the making of pottery in Baktaphur, Nepal

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Moments in Kathmandu
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Noe Falk Nielsen
15 Apr 2015

A collection of moments in Kathmandu. Nepalese going about their business, taking a break, participating in events...

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Bangladesh weaving 02
South Rupshi
By Karim + Jenny
10 Apr 2015

Mizanur, a weaver from South Rupshi outside Dhaka, working on a jamdani scarf. Jamdani is an age-old tradition, which saw its heydays during the era of Mughal rule. It was declining for a long time but is seeing a revival today.

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People of Kathmandu 6
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Noe Falk Nielsen
04 Apr 2015

Old woman taking part in the Hanuman Jayanti festival at the Swayambhunath temple in Kathmandu on 4 April 2015. Religious ristes and events play a significant part in a Nepalese's life. Nepal is overwhelmingly Hindu with almost 85% followed by 9% Buddhist, 4% Muslim and 1.5% Christians.

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People of Kathmandu 7
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Noe Falk Nielsen
04 Apr 2015

A Nepalese family taking part in the Hanuman Jayanti festival at the Swayambhunath temple in Kathmandu on 4 April 2015. Despite the adherence to the traditional ways the younger generation is increasingly influenced by external (western) culture.

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Life in Green and White: An 'Ultra's'...
Vilnius, Lithuania
By Nanook
02 Apr 2015

Text and Photos by Karolis Pilypas Liutkevicius

Vilniaus Žalgiris scores a goal in a football match against Klaipėdos Atlantas, two of Lithuania’s top teams. The fan section of the stadium erupts in a ferocious show of support. Some fans stumble down the stadium platform to greet the players face to face, others light flares. Everything is engulfed by smoke, the air fills up with loud chants. However, not everyone knows what happens after the echoes of the seemingly primordial shouts of football fans bounce off the walls of the stadium for the last time, when the last whistle is blown.

This is about trying to look through the seemingly negative façade of the “ultra,” a word used to describe some of the most hardcore sports fans on the planet.

“You could call it my second family,” says Jonas Šečkus, 36.

Jonas is a father of two young kids, he’s happily married, enjoys his job as a geologist and as a geology lecturer at Kaunas and Klaipėda universities. He has been a hardcore football fan since 2010.

“Yes, I’m an ultra. What’s bad about being so into something? And of course, just like in any family there are people who are, to put it lightly, a bit weirder, but there’s also really good guys. What keeps everyone in line is that we have boundaries that should not be crossed”, explains Jonas.

Politics of the game

According to Jonas, being a dedicated football fan in Lithuania is a different experience than being one in countries that are more well-known for the sport. Žalgiris’s budget consists of a smaller amount than what the country’s most beloved sport – basketball - and it’s two biggest teams get. Since a football club is more expensive to maintain than a basketball team, the level at which this sport is played in Lithuania is lower than what people are used to in more football-oriented countries.

This contributes to the fact that there aren’t as many fans as is usual within football fan clubs elsewhere. The “Pietų IV Ultras,” are therefore considered a local phenomenon. The fan club which consists of around 100 people is strikingly dedicated and well known among the population, mostly for their ferocity that is often publically associated with fanaticism. Since the Žalgiris club was established in 1965, it has been heavily associated with national history, and this makes most of the fans very patriotic, in some cases even ethnocentric.

“I don’t think you can separate any sport from politics. But since football has the strength of being the biggest sport in the world, politics are easily visible in it,” Jonas explains. Žalgiris football club has played a major part in Lithuanian history as a means for everyday people to express the independence and freedom of their country.

“Of course if some sort of pro-Russian ‘vatnik’ would suddenly appear among us in the stadium and start preaching his ideology, it would end badly for him,” says Jonas while eating sandwiches made by his wife. He talks about violence in a very nonchalant way, but with some thoughtful reservations. Without saying exactly how badly it would end for someone with such a political disposition, he makes it clear that it certainly wouldn’t be nice.

A day to day ultra

In his home and at work Jonas makes an effort to live a normal life. A courier arrives with a new child’s bike, colored green – the prefered colours of his football club - that he looks forward to giving to his daughter as a gift. At his office, Jonas is extremely concentrated on preparing an upcoming lecture and making the slides as interesting for his students as he can.

“I love teaching. It’s not about the money, it’s about the experience that this occupation gives you,” Jonas admits.

“My students know that I’m an ultra, but I don’t parade that in front of them. I usually don’t wear my colors to lectures or my office.”

Contrary to what most people would think about “ultras,” football fandom fits into Jonas’s life without any repercussions, he says.

“It’s a way for people to vent,” he reflects. “After their stressful jobs, or with the intention to get something off their minds, people come here with the same intentions as those who go to shooting clubs, only we go to watch football and support our team. I think it’s meaningful. From the sidelines it may look violent, since we shout and light pyrotechnics, but we shout so they can hear us. We burn flares so they can see us. That’s what support is about.”

Jonas is clearly not a fan of the media and how it gives ultras a negative connotation by portraying their lifestyle as violent.

“Media wants bad news, because it is an easier sell. If a conflict between the police and fans erupts, they won’t even look into who’s the culprit,” he says. “Of course the fans are the bad guys, because police have the status of untouchable public guardians. That’s a normal view, but since there’s a lot that’s wrong with police in most countries, Lithuania included, everything gets complicated.”

Under scrutiny

The police, on the other hand, have a different opinion about Jonas’ fan club. Always hovering around the part of the stadium where the fans gather, they constantly observe them as they arrive.

“Once I arrived at the stadium, and a police officer, who I didn’t even know, greeted me by name. They monitor us very closely, maybe even take pictures of us,” a young fan from the fanclub said. “They’re annoying.”

This timidly hostile view of the police seems to be shared by many of the fans. Before the game they often glance at the officers in a belligerent way and murmur some remarks about them.

“There were times when I was involved with some violent stuff, but I won’t talk about it,” Jonas says while putting on his jersey before heading to the stadium.

It’s time for one of the most important matches in the Lithuanian football league. Klaipėdos Atlantas and Vilniaus Žalgiris are set to play at the home stadium of the latter team.

After passing the security checkpoint just outside the stadium, Jonas enters the area of the stadium reserved for the fan club. He seems to feel at home here. The constant smile on his face while he meets his friends quickly changes to an expression full of excitement by the time the match starts. The chanting begins, flares are lit and everything fades into a mist of excitement and smoke.

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People of Kathmandu 4
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Noe Falk Nielsen
02 Apr 2015

Rickshaw driver in Kathmandu taking a rest from his job on 2 April 2015. With an unemployment rate of 46% people work long hours to earn enough their keep.

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People of Kathmandu 5
Kathmandu, Nepal
By Noe Falk Nielsen
02 Apr 2015

Homeless man resting at a small shrine in Kathmandu on 2 April 2015. Around 2.8 million people or close to one tenth of the population is living in slum in Nepal. With a growing population and growing urbanisation this number is destined to rise leaving more people living on the streets.

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Lithuania ultras 06
Vilnius, Lithuania
By Nanook
02 Apr 2015

When Jonas is not working, he wakes up early to go to his office and polish up his presentations and material shown in lectures for his students.

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Lithuania ultras 07
Vilnius, Lithuania
By Nanook
02 Apr 2015

The smoking area is where Jonas spends his only breaks at work.

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Lithuania ultras 08
Vilnius, Lithuania
By Nanook
02 Apr 2015

"I don't see my colleague often" - Jonas describes why his office is always so empty.

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Lithuania ultras 09
Vilnius, Lithuania
By Nanook
02 Apr 2015

Jonas's wife Ramånä isn't a big football fan but has been to a couple of matches with her husband.

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Lithuania ultras 10
Vilnius, Lithuania
By Nanook
02 Apr 2015

The family bought a bike for their youngest member Aistä—. She just turned 2.

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Lithuania ultras 11
Vilnius, Lithuania
By Nanook
02 Apr 2015

Jonas doesn't like watching football on TV, he'd rather play it or see it live.

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Lithuania ultras 13
Vilnius, Lithuania
By Nanook
02 Apr 2015

Memorabilia plays a big role while supporting the club at the stadium. It is often used in various choreographic moments created by the fans.

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Lithuania ultras 14
Vilnius, Lithuania
By Nanook
02 Apr 2015

Fanclub consists of people from very varied age groups. Most of Jonas's good friends are older fans.

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Lithuania ultras 18
Vilnius, Lithuania
By Nanook
02 Apr 2015

A drum with DIY drum stick, chants and merchandise colored accordingly to match the clubs color scheme - these are the weapons of choice for a fan supporting the team in the stadium.