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A Moment of Peace

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23 November 2010

One evening last year in Laos, I saw this monk reading in a window.  With the holiday season upon us, I remembered this moment of peace and thought you might like to share it.

Please click to download a free Moment of Peace.


LONG LIVE THE KING

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23 November 2010

This photo download is for all my Thai friends and associates who have extended such hospitality while I am in the Kingdom of Thailand. Thank you! I made this photo near Mt. Everest inside a guesthouse. I bet the Thai people who put this flag on the wall never expected to see it on Facebook.

Please click LONG LIVE THE KING for a free download.


Moonshine on Ama Dablam

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First Published: 22 November 2010

Recently, I published an image that became popular.  While perusing the photos from that night in the Himalaya in Nepal, a similar but better image popped up.  The moon shining off the mountain grabbed and held my eye, and I thought some people might like to share this moment.

Moonshine on Ama Dablam” can be downloaded for a single personal use.

My Facebook page stays plenty busy.

Heavenly Shower

16 Comments

Published: 16 November 2010

The Himalaya near Mount Everest are ruthless and serene, while the stars tracing above are without love or grudge.  Seasonal tides of fair and foul weather wash in thousands of trekkers, and more ambitious climbers who kletter by night and day.  Many reach their aspirations and many die trying, their bodies abandoned frozen on the mountains like nameless starfish stranded in finality upon a beach.  The names of the unremembered can never be forgotten.

While the Earth turns the heavens seem to shower down onto the mountains and over the horizon.

A copy of this image may be downloaded for a one-time personal use.

 

To Wish Upon a Star

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Monday 15 November 2010

One night during my recent walk to Mt. Everest there seemed to be a million stars.  And so the camera was pointed at the treacherous mountain known as Ama Dablam, or “mother’s necklace,” and at the stars above her shoulders.  The serious climbers consider this mountain more difficult and dangerous to climb than Mount Everest.  Kaksher, my Sherpa guide, had reached the summit of Everest twice, and the summit of Ama Dablam eight times.  Some days after this image was made, a Japanese climbing team got into trouble.  I was told they used a satellite phone to ring help in Japan, who called the Japanese Embassy in Kathmandu.  A rescue helicopter was launched and one climber was brought to safety.  The helicopter returned for the second climber.  As the rescuer was lowered by rope, winds apparently buffeted the helicopter sending the pilot and tethered rescuer down the mountain to their deaths.   Kaksher Sherpa was a friend of the lost pilot, and said was a good man.  Two more helicopters were sent to search, eventually finding the remains of the two rescuers, which were flown back to Kathmandu and cremated at Pashupatinath.  This was all last week.  While the two rescuers were killed, the two climbers survived.

If you look very closely into this image taken days before the accident, you can see four shooting stars.

To download a copy of this image for personal use, please click To Wish Upon a Star.

Mt. Everest

11 Comments

Published: 04 November 2010

Nepal

Before returning for third time to Afghanistan this year, have made another trip to the Himalaya.  I made this image of Mt. Everest about a week ago.  You are welcome to download a copy for personal use.

Please also buy a copy of my upcoming photobook, "Inside the Inferno."

You won't be disappointed.


Wikileaks: Statement from Office of U.S. Secretary of Defence

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This just came in my email from Geoff Morrell:

"We deplore Wikileaks for inducing individuals to break the law, leak classified documents and then cavalierly share that secret information with the world, including our enemies. We know terrorist organizations have been mining the leaked Afghan documents for information to use against us and this Iraq leak is more than four times as large. By disclosing such sensitive information, Wikileaks continues to put at risk the lives of our troops, their coalition partners and those Iraqis and Afghans working with us. The only responsible course of action for Wikileaks at this point is to return the stolen material and expunge it from their websites as soon as possible."

 

The Linda Norgrove Rescue Tragedy

44 Comments

Published: 11 October 2010

Ms. Linda Norgrove was kidnapped on 26 September during an ambush in eastern Afghanistan.  A trusted and knowledgeable source told me he expected there was a high likelihood she would be killed by these particularly brutal people.  Several days ago, during a rescue attempt led by U.S. forces, Ms. Norgrove was killed.  There is some speculation surrounding the circumstances of her death.

Today, I emailed the office of General Petraeus regarding the tragedy surrounding Ms. Norgrove. After two wars, General Petraeus is one of the sources I greatly trust. I did not speak to him directly about this. The general's staff responded immediately with emails and a phone call.  I asked Major Sunset Belinsky in Afghanistan to email an account of the situation.

Read more: The Linda Norgrove Rescue Tragedy

Our Muslim Friends Suffer, Too

60 Comments

Published: 29 September 2010

Terrorism knows no bounds.  This atrocity happened in Iraq and the sadness still lingers in many hearts.

I republish these two emails with permission of CSM Jeffrey Mellinger.

Mohemmed's name has been changed to protect his family.  May God cherish his brave Soul.

SGM Mohemmed al-Ahbab

Read more: Our Muslim Friends Suffer, Too

Even as the World Watched IV: Peaceful, or Pistol?

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Thai Soldier Watching for Snipers in Bangkok (May 2010).

12 July 2010
Chiang Mai, Thailand

During the Thailand fighting in May, the rain of media mixed with the dust of politics, creating mud that left honest people feeling bogged down.  People desiring clarity slogged knee deep, then waist deep, and it kept coming.

My reports avoided politics largely because I do not understand Thai politics.  There can be value in this, just as a Korean, for instance, can come to the United States and observe from a “here and now” perspective and, quite possibly—if he sticks to what he sees and not what people tell him to see—render a more accurate observation from a riot.  The “mouths of babes” are not restricted to children.

Read more: Even as the World Watched IV: Peaceful, or Pistol?

Even as the World Watched III: Getting Hit to Get the Shot

19 Comments

Bullets fly fast


Published: 07 July 2010
Chiang Mai, Thailand

During the Bangkok fighting in May, radio interviewers back America kept asking about the overuse of force by the Thai Army.  I answered that’s not happening, and there seem to be hundreds of journalists crawling over the streets, and I see them with cameras on tripods on balconies (like mine was) or peering through windows.  How could the Thai government hide a herd of elephants in front of all those cameras?

Read more: Even as the World Watched III: Getting Hit to Get the Shot

Even as the World Watched II: Tasting the Kool-Aid

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Photo Caption: Bangkok, May 2010


Published: 05 July 2010
Chiang Mai, Thailand

This journalist was all over the place.  She stood out from the crowd for obvious reasons.  One evening, as the sun was setting, she was walking down a mostly desolate street not far from Dusit Thani hotel, and she was alone with that little camera.  Soldiers were here and there, and I thought, “That’s a brave woman.” She walked by and I never said hello.  On another day, she walked by and I was talking with some journalist whose name I never got, and said that if she took off that helmet and body armor you might think she is just another pretty face, but she’s not just another pretty face, is she?  The journalist said that he had once seen her at another time, and she was curled up on the ground, sleeping by a trash can, and he said she is a brave one indeed.

Read more: Even as the World Watched II: Tasting the Kool-Aid

Even While the World Watched: Part I

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Near Lumpini Park, Bangkok. (May 2010)

Michael Yon
20 June 2010
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Recent violence focused world attention on the Kingdom of Thailand.  As the attention flowed in, foreigners poured out, even though fighting was tightly localized and not focused on travelers.  Tourists literally had to search for trouble to find it.  Of course, some did.

Like other famous countries, Thailand seems to be annotated in peoples’ minds by a single footnote.  This is akin to trying to describe the contents of an Encyclopedia using a single, all-encompassing sentence.  If asked, many people might summarize Americans as rich, arrogant, imperialistic Christians, while we might describe ourselves as peaceful, freedom-loving and generous to a fault.  Likewise, Thailand wears its own name tag – especially so in the touristy areas – yet intricate realities of both countries naturally defy broad strokes.

Read more: Even While the World Watched: Part I

Gobar Gas II

26 Comments

(Unabridged)

Mount Everest, Nepal

Michael Yon
Published 15 June 2010

Brunei, Afghanistan, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam

Among the more interesting coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan are the legendary Nepalese Gurkhas.  Trained and fielded by the British, as they have been since colonial days, Gurkhas are a fascinating admixture: today many are British soldiers used to traveling the world.  Many of them grew up barefoot and poor in remote and primitive mountain villages in the high Himalayas: places that closely resemble parts of Afghanistan, geographically and culturally.  They understand impoverished life in a harsh environment personally, though Nepal has enjoyed some material progress in the last few decades.   That combination of background and experience makes Gurkhas helpful at generating useful approaches to Afghan development.  They know what is possible, and they’ve seen experiments succeed or fail.

Read more: Gobar Gas II

Gobar Gas

2462 Comments

(Abridged version1)

Smart Moms raise smart kids

Brunei, Afghanistan, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam
Published: 08 June 2010

Michael Yon

A Gurkha Idea

Among the more interesting coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan are the legendary Nepalese Gurkhas. Trained and fielded by the British, as they have been since colonial days, Gurkhas are a fascinating admixture: today, they are elite soldiers used to traveling the world. But many of them grew up barefoot and poor in remote and primitive mountain villages in the high Himalayas—places that closely resemble parts of Afghanistan, geographically and culturally. Forefathers of some of today’s Ghurkas fought in the Afghan region during earlier wars. Gurkhas understand impoverished life in a harsh environment, though Nepal has enjoyed material progress in recent decades that is mostly unrealized in Afghanistan. Unlike forces from Europe or America, who often regard Afghanistan as an outpost of 13th Century life, Gurkhas can provide a link between primitive Afghan standards of development, and the possibilities for progress, with insights and connections that might elude most Westerners.

Read more: Gobar Gas

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