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Photographer's Note

This photo is the last of a series of photos I want to send about Ivory Coast. Each of them tries (and probably struggles to succeed) to illustrate some of the events that happened in Digba (small village close to Daloa) in October 2002, while I was paying a visit to the family of a good Ivorian friend of mine living abroad now.

In October 2002, the village of Digba (15km from Daloa) has been the scene of riots and looting between the “local” ethnic group Bete and the Dioulas. In a matter of a day, the Bete of Digba have chased all the Dioulas, who have been their neighbors for more than 30 years. Houses and mosque have been burned, harvest and other goods looted…(see photo of the day in question ) . That day, the “looting frenzy” has stricken the entire Bete population, from youngster to elders, kids running up and down the village to bring back home the paddys and other goods left in deserted Dioulas’ houses. Well in fact, there has been an exception, there has been one family who hasn’t been part of the looters, one family in which the elder member has made its position very clear: “No one touches any Dioula’s house, any belonging and any harvest from their plot!”. Unfortunately, they couldn’t control the frenzy, thus all Dioulas’ houses have been burned. But they have managed to preserve their (Dioula) neighbor’s field, on which nobody has stolen the harvest. “They will come back. Digba is where they belong, where they have lived all their life, where their land is”.
The day I took the picture (few days after the looting event), these children (some of them being from that family which opposed the fight against the Dioulas) where crossing that long rice field, taking the shortcut to the next village. Their heads seemed like little drops in this rice ocean, just like this Bete family, which stood against the (heinous) mainstream (see photo).

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