Arriving - Refugee Integration in Europe (work in progress) by Ashley Gilbertson

Ongoing work documenting the process of integration in Germany in Die Zeit. The Raslan family, who I met in Serbia as they fled Syria and made their way by sea and land to Berlin, have been settling in for two years now. Challenges evolve and are overcome, and the families skin becomes thicker with every day in Europe.

The work is funded by UNICEF, and serialized in Die Zeit newsweekly. The work can be seen here.

Children on The Line by Ashley Gilbertson

“I remember just a little bit from before the war… I remember the summer and running with my friends in the warm rain.” Says Vadim Ignatenko, a nine-year-old from the battle-scarred city of Avdiivka.

A story I've been working on for the past couple of weeks for UNICEF was published today in Die Zeit newspaper in Germany. 

Fried Chicken in Ghana by Ashley Gilbertson

I wish I could say I've never spent so much time inside fast food restaurants in my life, but that wouldn't be true. I worked in a McDonald's for some years back in Australia and I also love junk food.

I'm told that people who work in these joints don't eat the food anymore, but I say that's bullshit. Even with the well-documented negative health aspects, KFC in Ghana might have been the best assignment of all time. The food portion of my expense account for this story was almost entirely KFC receipts and all my clothes smelt of chicken grease and palm oil. 


In Amish Country, the Future is Calling. by Ashley Gilbertson

For a week, I worked around Lancaster County, Pa., on a story about the Amish adopting technology into their everyday work lives. Our perceptions and their realities are quite different it turns out: smartphone use is permissible, so is working on highly sophisticated computers to cut and shape metal and wood, cars can be okay if the driver doesn't own them, and most homes have solar power - it's most important to be off the grid it turns out. 

The most interesting aspect of it all was at their homes though. There, far away from the fax machines and CNC routers, the family units remain intact and largely non-reliant on modern technology. There's a closeness, an intimacy that I rarely see among the English (us). Silence is uncomplicated, comfortable even.

Family comes first and smart phones and all the rest of it, are second. For now, at least.   

bombs in our backyard, by ProPublica by Ashley Gilbertson

COLFAX, LOUISIANA — Early one evening, I went out for a run. I took a route out by Lake Iatt, passing through acre after acre of logged land, trailer homes and lush green farms. It was an easy out and back, but as I rounded the last corner, I was alarmed by clouds of black smoke that were blowing my way. Explosions crackled in the distance. The sounds put me back in Iraq, where I’d spent a bunch of tours as a photographer, listening to gun battles being fought in nearby towns or neighborhoods.

From Bombs in our Backyards, an ongoing series by ProPublica

Happy Eid by Ashley Gilbertson

Came across a mosque overflowing with people attending the last Friday prayers on one of my favorite blocks in New York's East Village yesterday.

Afrobeats in The NY Times by Ashley Gilbertson

Lagos: Where even the music pirates worry about piracy.   

Was lucky to work with Dionne Searcey, the NY Times West Africa bureau chief on a story about Afrobeats in Lagos. Followed around the internationally renowned star Seyi Shay and a young man from the roughest Lagos slum who's trying to make it. Highlights: meeting a guy who calls himself "Fuckmoney" with no sense of irony; bumping into an Emir and a King one night at a show; and when Seyi Shay's assistant got so stoned he forgot the hotel elevator card and just went up and down unable to get out at the right floor.

The Refugee King of Greece by Ashley Gilbertson

After two weeks in Greece on assignment for UNICEF, I wrote an opinion piece for the NY Times looking at the refugee crisis in that country - essentially Greece as a holding cell for Europe's unwanted refugees.

“Every year, Greece hosts 25 million tourists,” a frustrated aid worker told me, “and to date we have been given 800 million euros in funding for this crisis — but we can’t find proper accommodation for 50,000 people?”

The Little Mayor, ABC News by Ashley Gilbertson

Canada provides some of the most incredible support to refugee families seeking asylum in the world. From material support to emotional support, the Canadian people and government provide as best they can to welcome newcomers. Multiculturalism there is a concept enshrined by law, and Canadians are proud of the cultural mosaic that exists throughout their country.

The piece can be read here, and a slideshow can be seen here.

I Am Ashamed to Be Australian - NY Times Op-Ed by Ashley Gilbertson

From an essay I wrote in response to working with the Refugees in Manus:

 I was 17 when I first came face to face with refugees. It was 1995 in Melbourne, Australia, and it was a Saturday. As usual I was out taking pictures of my friends skateboarding. We rolled up to a spot near the state Parliament. Across the street a protest was taking place — Cypriot women calling for the government to help them find their sons who had disappeared during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. I left my friends and took a photograph of the protesters.

I’ve seen people displaced by sub-Saharan African wars that dragged on for so long that their children and grandchildren were born in enormous, forgotten refugee camps. I’ve photographed the Kurds, who have known only persecution — an entire ethnic group that remains stateless. I’ve followed Syrian refugee families into the tumultuous Aegean Sea. I’ve witnessed people trapped at borders and beaten by the police; children separated from their parents, wandering on busy, unfamiliar roads; families literally running for their lives. Sometimes, when they were not fast enough, I’ve seen people murdered.

And yet, in all that time, I have not seen the level of cruelty toward these vulnerable people that the Australian government is perpetrating against the refugees on Manus Island.