Stories: Conflict

  • Blood Diamonds and Religious War: Diamonds and Division

    The Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world, but it is also rich in natural resources. One of the official mining sectors has collapsed amid the country's ongoing conflict, and now both sides are benefitting from the illicit trade of gold and diamonds. Clashes over control of the many mines have also created religious...

  • Mozambique: A Step to a Landmine-Free World

    A single step can change a life forever. Lazaro Virniz Rice was a soldier on patrol with the Mozambican army when he walked into a field next to the road. He stepped on a landmine, causing an explosion that blew off his left foot. A de-mining team works in central Mozambique to remove the deadly legacy of war. That...

  • Ukraine’s Greek Catholic Church Looks to Boost Sway—by Equipping Military

    As the train bringing the wounded soldier home from the front line grinds to a halt, the crowd on the platform bursts into patriotic song. Maj. Ruslan Androsyuk’s three-year-old son jumps into his arms, unsteadying him as he limps from the carriage. Relatives and friends wave balloons and Ukrainian flags, welcoming Major Androsyuk back after a mine...

  • An Uncertain Path to Reconciliation

    Lea Lucresse, 28, sat in a line of three dozen people in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic one day in September. She was exhausted and quiet, her eyes downcast. She had recently arrived at the John XXIII center, which opened in April 2013 to serve as a listening post for victims, from her home in Mobaye, a multiple-day trip...

  • Fighting Over the Spoils of War

    Notre Dame des Victoires Church, or NDV, is in a small parish about a 10-minute drive from the city of Bambari in the center of the Central African Republic. A French priest established the Catholic outpost in 1857. There’s a large red brick cathedral, a nearby house where clergy sleep and rows of classrooms where villagers once sent children...

  • Harvest of Fear

    One day in September, Ahmed Adam, 23, sat on the ground in the regional capital, Ndélé, and rolled a cigarette. Adam was restless. Earlier that week he returned from the capital, Bangui, about 400 miles away. He was happy to be home. But with no money or means to buy what he needed to restart his life, he said,...

  • God’s Oligarch

    If being the subject of international sanctions is causing Konstantin Malofeev any stress, he’s not showing it. “The sanctions are a very stupid instrument that only Obama and his administration could believe will have any impact. It has not damaged my business,” he says. The 40-year-old multimillionaire, though, does allow that the sanctions have “had...

  • Sloviansk: A City With PTSD

    Psychologist Tatyana Aslanyan is on a mission to treat a city that seems to be suffering from a collective form of post-traumatic stress disorder. “Everyone, in some way or another, shows the symptoms,” she told me at the Donbass State Pedagogical University in Sloviansk, the eastern Ukrainian city where she is an associate professor. The concrete university is...

  • Prayer, Techno Music and Skinny Dipping: Celebrating Jewish New Year in Ukraine

    Rabbi Nachman, founder of the Hasidic Breslov movement, taught his followers to vanquish sadness through private prayer and celebration. On his deathbed in 1810, he asked that Jews visit his grave annually to mark Rosh Hashanah. After the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, what had been a trickle of pilgrims exploded into tens of thousands. “Coming here...

  • Protesters and Counterprotesters at Moscow’s Big Anti-War March

    When I first arrived at Pushkin Square about an hour before the start of a planned anti-war rally on Sunday, I thought I might have been in the wrong place. The plaza beneath the statue of Russia’s favorite poet was dominated by supporters of the separatists in eastern Ukraine, brandishing the Dixie-esque flag of...