LOULOU D’AKI

They call us dreamers, but we're the ones who don't sleep

Wall in a private building in Khan Yonis, southern Gaza strip, shows signs of shelling.

“ Well what is my dream? 

I am not really certain about it, although sometimes I would like to become a president, you know the king but a bit more different and more modern. Becoming president is a way for me, to bring change, to help people, to be a leader, and also  “ to know more” (confidential secrets) and many more things. Unfortunately this is just a dream, but fortunately dreams do come true. ”


Cyrus P., Tehran, Iran

It’s a rainy November morning in Gaza and a truce has just been announced after 8 days of fighting. A young man stands in the rubbles of what is left of his home, destroyed in an air strike just an hour before the war ended. Behind him, a framed picture still hangs crooked on the wall. The boy’s name is Ahmed, he is 18 years old and the son of a fisherman. He wants to live in peace and go to college but we are in the Gaza strip and dreams have their limits here, you often have the feeling of being caught up in a game where you always turn out the looser.

On the other side, 95 kilometers and a wall away, is Jerusalem, the city many Gazawi's dream of visiting but who most never will. This is a land of contradictions, a land of walls, a land of visible and invisible borders. From Omri’s Art school you can see the separation wall on a clear day. Omri, who got freed from the obligatory Israeli military service by pretending he was gay during the medical examinations, says that he dreams of feeling at home someplace someday, away from the religious and political tensions he has grown up with.

MAKE A WISH is my very long term project, a photo essay looking at the hopes and dreams of youth, inspired by the fact that youth should be the age of infinite possibilities.

The original idea was the thought that youth is the age of infinite possibility because hopes and dreams are not yet conditioned by experience so you might actually believe in miracles.

As I continued the work across the Middle East in the aftermath of the Arab Spring revolutions, I realised until which extent dreams and aspirations are actually conditioned by society. II find youngsters who are interesting to me for one reason or another. It can be because of what they do, what they believe in, where they live or simply what they appear to be. For each portrait I ask the person to write down his or her dream in my notebook.

 

Abdallah Al-Rhaman, 19 works with his brother Ahmed, together they make a living by performing with horses in weddings and ceremonies, just like their father used to do.

When asked about his dreams and future aspirations he says:
“ To stay with my horse all the time, all my life. My life is horses. ”

View on an empty space still burning after hit in an Israeli air strike in Gaza city, the Gaza strip.

A couple of men pass by the remains of what used to be the National Democratic Party’s landmark, torched on January 28th, 2011 during the escalations that came to topple Hosni Mubarak.

Maryam Sadeghi, 20, studies illustration at the Academy of Art in Tehran.

“ I do not have many wishes because I got everything I wanted, but many little wishes do exist...My last wish...is death. I came to this egoistic world where everybody think about themselves…I hope that when I die, I shall find the world that I was always looking for. ”

A combat soldier alone in the rain during an exercise.

Two Turkish women talk on a lawn while president Erdogan delivers a speech during a mass rally a day after ockupants were evicted from Gezi park in Istanbul.

Discarded life jackets on a beach in Lesvos. Most refugees who arrive in boats from Turkey shed their drenched clothes, bags and life jackets once they disembark, before continuing towards the main port of the island for the Athens bound ferry.

17-year Omar from Syria arrived at Skala beach in Lesvos with clothes dripping wet. He says: ’ I came here because I have diabetes and need a doctor.’

Passengers, most of whom are refugees, disembark a ferry coming from Lesvos at arrival in Pireus port of Athens at dawn.

Amin, 17, from Afghanistan sits by the port in Mytillini where he and his friends wait to get a ticket for the next ferry to Athns.

’ I am going to Sweden to continue my education and to play football. My favorite team is Real Madrid. I hope one day there will be no war in any country.’

Afghan men sit next to the port in Mytillini, Lesvos after a swim and wash up in the water. They arrived by boat from Turkey and as many others they wait to get a ticket on the next ferry to Athens.

Afghan boys wait next to Tovarnik railway station a few days after the Hungarian border crossing closed and thousands of refugees crossed the Serbian border into Croatia instead, on the look for a new route towards Austria and Germany.

Bahman takes a morning dip in a waterfall after a night at mount Daraband where he often goes to escape the city on weekends.

A poster of Yasser Arafat inside the print department of Industrial Islamic Orphanage School.

Nachman is a musician, the second son of a converted Irish catholic father and a Jewish mother.  

“ I want to become a somebody. ”

Palestinian girls and boys in the old city wait for a rare cultural event to start in Al Quds university.

Ahmed Zayed, an 18-year old fisherman stands in the rubbles of what used to be his home in Gaza, hit in an Israeli airstrike a few hours before the truce after the 8-day operation Pillar of Defense. His dream: “ To live in peace and go to college”.

Hervé from the Ivory Coast stops in the middle of the railway as he arrives at the Greek/Macedonian border. He says: ’ At first I look, then I go. I’m an adventurer on my way to Switzerland to see what awaits me there.

Cairo cat on a pile of jute bags in Mukkatam neighborhood.

Afternoon in Dokki - Giulia’s staircase.

Usama, 21 has been an active member of El Nasser Salah El Dine brigades during 4 years.

His dream: “ That all my land comes back to the Palestinian people and to go toJerusalem. I want it so bad”.

View on an old city mosque at prayer time.

A construction worker is seen next to Al Saleh mosque where he constructs a wall.

“ I want to keep on doing what I do.”

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