During six months (from October 2010 until April 2011) I photographed for the French and International press the post electoral crisis in Ivory Coast.
After months of meetings, electoral hopes followed by conflicts and violence; the country, which has reached a fragile democracy, is still extremely divided.
Further to the time I spent in Ivory Coast, I did not want to only see this country through what the media would show.
How its population, despite the current divisions, can make-up and live together again?
Today, symbolic acts of collective reconciliation are so tame that inhabitants from the Ivory Coast only have their own memory, their suffering and worse their feeling of injustice to manage their situation.
Is Ivory Coast selling out its future by refraining to deal with their duty of memory? How can one build a future, if the past is not accepted and responsibilities not dealt with?
I have travelled to Duékoué in the western part of the country. Here, over 800 people from the Guéré ethnic group were killed by the armed forces of Guillaume Soro who is today a loyal of the president Alassane Ouattara. No soldiers were ever brought to justice and the families of the victims are rising up against such injustice.
In the PK18 area of Abidjan, the population also feels abandoned. They were the first victims of Gbagbo’s Security Force during the trigger of the civil war. Today they are still waiting for an official recognition of their sacrifice and complain to have never received the help promised by the government.
Michaël Zumstein, French-Swiss photographer born in 1970, graduated from the Ecole Supérieure de Photographie de Vevey (Switzerland).
Whether working on commission for the French or foreign press or on his personal projects, Zumstein’s work follows a heritage of photojournalism of objective observation that allows himself to honestly render situations and look beyond stereotypes.
While Following the conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Ivory Coast, and Sudan, he focused on the « ambiguous relations between Africa and the West ».
Along with his work on the African continent, Michaël Zumstein covers French political and social news.
For more than a year, he has been photographing a series of stories on the Cité des Courtilières in Pantin. Witnessing the tensions between the youth and the police, he has covered the events at Villiers-le-bel or Clichy-sous-Bois.
Elsewhere, Michaël Zumstein animates photographic studios in Africa for the World Press Photo.