For August we have three dispatches: Adam Dean on the Uighurs in China; Lisa Wiltse about her work at Double H Ranch, a camp for children with life-threatening illnesses, and David Bathgate continues to send timely dispatches from Afghanistan.
Adam Dean is based in Beijing and was astonished to receive a government e-mail inviting him and other journalists to travel to Urumqi to see firsthand the devastation caused by ethnic riots that started July 5 between the Uighurs, a traditionally Muslim, Turkic people and the Han Chinese. These riots had been especially brutal and explosive. Chinese police had poured into the city of Urumqi and Dean witnessed mob violence and the results of smoldering hatred.
Double H Ranch is part of the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps founded in 2001 by actor/philanthropist Paul Newman. All the camps serve children with serious medical conditions and their families, providing year-round support.
For the summer, Lisa Wiltse has a job as camp photographer and counselor. She has taken on a difficult but illuminating task – as she works as a photographer there are many times when she helps the children directly and puts the camera aside. She has sent a dispatch that is part of a longer project.
David Bathgate has returned to Afghanistan many times. In 2009 circumstances are decidedly more dangerous as the U.S. refocuses on the country. The increasing violence affects both soldiers and civilians. He tells the story of one deadly explosion. Bathgate was embedded with Charlie Company whose mission it is to keep the Taliban from taking the village of Barg-e Matal. Keeping a lid on local violence will make it safe for the local people to go to the polls for the Afghan presidential election on August 20.