Riot in the Forest

This is the first time I created a story out of something I witnessed. It was in 2006. I was 23 and doing volunteer work in the rainforest of Ecuador. Beautiful and green but with copper and gold underneath. International companies were trying to get rid of the stubborn campesinos, who didn’t want to sell their land. Paramilitary were spreading tear gas to provoke them. A chaotic week of curfew, hostages, and helicopters started. I took many pictures and tried to understand what was happening. The photos of the attack got smuggled out by the ambulance and printed in newspapers in Ecuador and Canada. I made this photofilm here later and never really published it. It is a bit clumsy; I would do it differently today. But I kind of like it. You can see what time did to cheap digital material and I know what time did to my way of telling stories. I wasn’t a journalist then. But those campesinos and their fight for their land made me really want to become one. I had to do a lot of stories about cats and cakes in between. But every now and then I can tell stories about abuses and people who make a difference, people who are struggling with the system, with circumstances or thought patterns. That for me is political.