We Strive to Build Our Homes
Gibe III, the tallest dam in Africa, was predicted to hit 500,000 people who lived along the Omo River and the surrounding area of Lake Turkana. Environmental and human rights organizations called it “a slow genocide” 20 years after Rwanda. This border of Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan has the most diverse ethnic groups and culture in Africa, but it is also one of the most barren areas since ancient times. During obstacles of the construction of Gibe III, the Ethiopian government suppressed local protests with the army and police, and expelled international journalists, researchers, and non-governmental organizations. This investigative reportage, with over 50,000 texts, 80 negative and positive films, documented the lives of people living by the water before the forced relocation of the village. It covered the stories that the locals risked their lives and told us that they had to tell. The reportage also looked back at Taiwan’s anti-reservoir and homeland protection movement in the early days of the lifting of martial law. It interviewed and combed through the life changes of key actors in the past 30 years, and documented their reflections. Taiwan’s democracy and freedom of speech were better than Ethiopia, but the battle for the right of speech were unavoidable.
Both reservoir disputes reflected different visions of what a “better home” means. Even in the same country, the collective dream do not always represent individual dreams. People competed against each other’s discourse, striving with history. In 2020, Ethiopia has experienced antigovernmental movement, had a president who won the Nobel Peace Prize, but once again was disputed by dictatorship and genocide suspicions; Taiwan had passed the general election, watched the change of Hong Kong and encountered the global pandemic, people’s ideas about the future seemed never the same.
- Addis Ababa, ET
- Jinka, ET
- Areas along Omo River and Lake Turkana, ET
- Kaohsiung, TW
- Producer, Journalist and Composition: Yunjie Liao
- Imagery and Layouts: Lungyin Lim
- Fixers and Interpreters: Anonymous
- Sponsor: WeReport/ The Association of Quality Journalism, and multiple backers