Dan Eldon

Last updated

Dan Eldon
Born
Daniel Robert Eldon

(1970-09-18)18 September 1970
Hampstead, London, England, UK
Died12 July 1993(1993-07-12) (aged 22)
Mogadishu, Somalia
Cause of death Beating
OccupationJournalist, artist, activist

Daniel Robert "Dan" Eldon (18 September 1970 – 12 July 1993) was a British-Kenyan photojournalist, artist and activist, killed in Somalia while working as a Reuters photojournalist. He left behind a series of journals, which Chronicle Books used to publish four books, among them The Journey Is the Destination, The Art of Life, and Safari as a Way of Life.

Contents

Early life

Dan Eldon, born in London, on September 18, 1970, was the son of Kathy and Mike Eldon. Mike was an Israel-born British citizen of Jewish descent, and his American mother was Protestant of German and Irish immigrant descent. [1] [2] When Dan was seven years old, Eldon and his three-year-old sister Amy moved to Nairobi, Kenya with their parents. The couple later divorced; Mike Eldon is now married to a Kenyan woman, Evelyn Mungai (Transparency International, Kenya), and Kathy is now married to American designer, Michael Bedner.

In Kenya, Dan Eldon attended a British school, but soon convinced his parents to transfer him to the International School of Kenya, which included children representing over 40 nationalities. In 1982, an attempted coup in Kenya put the family in the midst of political upheaval. Eldon, aged 12, arrived back in Kenya from a summer holiday several days after the coup and experienced some of its aftermath. In his teens, Eldon joined his mother, Kathy, a freelance journalist for the English-language newspaper, the Nation, in Kenya. Soon, Eldon was taking pictures, which were featured in local newspapers and magazines.

At 14, Eldon started a fundraising campaign for open-heart surgery to save the life of Atieno, a young Kenyan girl. Together with his sister and friends, he raised $5,000 for a successful heart operation. At the age of 15, Eldon helped support a Maasai family by buying handmade beaded jewelry made by the mother, Kipenget, and selling it to fellow students and friends. It was during this time that Dan began creating journals filled with collages, photographs, and drawings. He often used satire and cartoons as commentary. He kept the journals as personal statements, which he shared with only a few people.

In 1988, Dan graduated from the International School of Kenya, winning the International Relations and Community Service awards. Voted most outstanding student, he addressed his class, emphasising the importance of crossing cultural barriers and caring for others. [3]

Travel

Throughout his life, Eldon travelled extensively, visiting 46 countries. In addition, he studied seven languages in and out of school.

In the autumn of 1988, Eldon began his “year off” before university. He called it a “year on”; for him, it felt more challenging than college. He left Kenya for a job at Mademoiselle magazine in New York.

In January, Eldon enrolled in Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California. That summer, he and a friend researched a journey that would lead Eldon and a group of young people from Nairobi to Malawi, driving a Land Rover across five countries. [4] They found that staying in local jails was the safest solution to security problems, and often spent the night locked up in cells to the amusement of the prison guards.

With the information he had obtained on his trip, Eldon, who had transferred to UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles), set up a charity named Student Transport Aid. This attracted the interest of local television stations and newspapers. With the help of 15 friends, he raised $25,000 for a venture to a refugee camp in Malawi. The friends, representing six countries, met in Nairobi and travelled thousands of miles in three vehicles. There, they donated one of their vehicles to the Save the Children Fund, as well as money for three wells and blankets for a children's hospital. Team members included Christopher Nolan (director of the Batman Dark Knight Trilogy), Roko Belic (Oscar-nominated director of Genghis Blues ), Elinor Tatum (publisher of the New York Amsterdam News), Amy Eldon Turteltaub (producer and author), and Jeffrey Gettleman (Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times bureau chief for East Africa).

Eldon returned to UCLA in the autumn of 1990 and began to plan another venture, which necessitated a move to London in January. He attended Richmond College and in the meantime, purchased another Land Rover for a trip to Morocco that summer. He aimed to buy bracelets and belts to sell in America for Student Transport Aid. He was attacked by Moroccan thieves and delayed by Land Rover malfunctions. He spent a fitful summer in Marrakesh, before arriving home in time to ship $5,000 worth of goods to America, which he sold on the beaches of Southern California.

In 1991, he returned to UCLA for one academic year, all the time planning his next trip, which was to be across the Sahara. Early in 1992, he moved to Mount Vernon, Iowa, to attend classes at Cornell College.

Film career

In April of that year, Eldon flew to Kenya, where he was a third assistant director on a feature film, Lost in Africa . As the most junior person on the production crew, he was often awake at 5:00 a.m., and was usually the last in bed. [5]

During the summer of 1992, the famine in Somalia raged. Eldon flew to the Kenyan refugee camps. The international news agency, Reuters, spotted his work, and he was soon working for the company, shooting the increasingly desperate situation. He followed the story closely and was present at the US Marine landing, where a barrage of international photographers and journalists were waiting for the American soldiers as they left their landing craft in Mogadishu.

Eldon stayed in Mogadishu through the spring. During this time, Eldon's pictures were featured in newspapers and magazines around the world. On 12 June 1993, his photo made a double-page spread in Newsweek magazine, as well as the covers of newspapers everywhere.[ specify ] Meanwhile, Pakistani peacekeepers died, making the conflict an international incident, the violence and horror of which was very hard on Eldon. He was nicknamed Warsame, Mayor of Mogadishu by Mogadishans for his friendliness.

Death

Despite having "had enough" by June, Eldon stayed to cover events. On 12 July 1993, he, Associated Press photographer Hansi Krauss, Reuters soundman Anthony Macharia, and Reuters photographer Hos Maina covered the United Nations raid to arrest rebel leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid at a house he was believed to have been occupying. [6] Survivors of the raid went to the journalists' hotel requesting them to take pictures. In a convoy, under the protection of Somalis, Eldon and a group of colleagues went to the bombed area. As they began to take photographs, a mob attacked the journalists. Eldon and his colleagues Krauss, Macharia and Maina were stoned and beaten to death.

Film adaptation

It was announced in The New York Times on 28 December 2007, that Eldon would be the focus of a biographical film entitled The Journey Is the Destination, the title of which is based on a page from Dan's journals featured in the book of the same name published by Chronicle Books. The film was directed by Bronwen Hughes and produced by Martin Katz, Kathy Eldon, Richard Arlook and Kweku Mandela (a grandson of Nelson Mandela) and was shot in South Africa from July to September 2014. The film, starring Ben Schnetzer, Kelly Macdonald, and Maria Bello, premiered in 2016 [7] at the Toronto Film Festival and was released on Netflix in October 2017.

Related Research Articles

Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography

The Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography is one of the American Pulitzer Prizes annually awarded for journalism. From 2000 it has used the "breaking news" name but it is considered a continuation of the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography, which was awarded from 1968 to 1999. Prior to 1968, a single Prize was awarded for photojournalism, the Pulitzer Prize for Photography, which was replaced in that year by Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography and Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.

United Nations Operation in Somalia II was the second phase of the United Nations intervention in Somalia, from March 1993 until March 1995, after the country had become involved in civil war in 1991.

Jubba Airways airline

Jubba Airways is a Somali airline. Previously headquartered at the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, it is now based in Nairobi, Kenya, with additional branches in various other global areas. It operates domestic passenger and cargo flights within Somalia, as well as to destinations in the Middle East.

African Express Airways is a Somali-owned Kenyan airline with its head office at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Embakasi, Nairobi, Kenya. It is a short-haul airline, which caters to business and leisure travellers and operates daily departures.

Ali Mohammed Ghedi Somalian politician

Ali Mohamed Gedi, popularly known as Ali Gedi, was the Prime Minister of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia from 2004 to 2007. He was relatively unknown in political circles upon his appointment as prime minister in November 2004. He is affiliated with the Abgaal subclan of Mogadishu's Hawiye clan, one of Somalia's four most powerful clan 'families'. He narrowly survived a suicide attack on his home that left at least seven people dead on June 3, 2007.

Battle of Mogadishu (2006) Battle of the Somali Civil War

The Second Battle of Mogadishu was a battle fought for control of Somalia's capital city, Mogadishu. The opposing forces were the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT), and militia loyal to the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). The conflict began in mid-February 2006, when Somali warlords formed the ARPCT to challenge the ICU's emerging influence. The ICU's influence was largely generated by wealthy financial donors who sought to enable the Islamic Courts Union to seize power in the country to bring stability. The battle is referred to as the Second Battle to distinguish it amongst the nine major Battles of Mogadishu during the decades-long Somali Civil War.

African Union Mission to Somalia Peacekeeping mission

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is an active, regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations Security Council. It is mandated to support transitional governmental structures, implement a national security plan, train the Somali security forces, and to assist in creating a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian aid. As part of its duties, AMISOM also supports the Federal Government of Somalia's forces in their battle against Al-Shabaab militants.

Mustafa Haji Abdinur is a Somali journalist and radio correspondent. He was awarded a CPJ International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2009.

Mary Anne Fitzgerald is a British journalist, development aid worker and author, best known for her international war reporting in Africa, and two successful books.

Wajir Airport airport in Wajir County, Kenya

Wajir Airport is an international airport in Wajir County, Kenya.

Laila Macharia is a non-executive director at the Africa Digital Media group, ABSA Kenya and Centum Investments, the largest listed private equity firm on the Nairobi Stock Exchange. Raised in Kenya, Namibia and Somalia, Macharia is a Serial Entrepreneur and Angel Investor, investing in the education, health, finance, property and data sectors.

Operation Linda Nchi military operation

Operation Linda Nchi was an operation - in many ways an invasion - in which the Kenya Defence Forces entered southern Somalia beginning in 2011. The Kenyan government declared the operation completed in March 2012, but its forces joined AMISOM in Somalia and are not expected to leave before 2020.

<i>Nairobi Half Life</i> 2012 film

Nairobi Half Life is a 2012 Kenyan drama film directed by David "Tosh" Gitonga. The film was selected as the Kenyan entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards, but did not make the final shortlist, and is the first time Kenya has submitted a film in this category.

Westgate shopping mall attack deadly 2013 attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya

On Saturday, 21 September 2013, four masked gunmen attacked the Westgate shopping mall, an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya. There are conflicting reports about the number killed in the attack, since part of the mall collapsed due to a fire that started during the siege. The attack resulted in 71 total deaths, including 62 civilians, five Kenyan soldiers, and four attackers. Approximately 200 people were wounded in the mass shooting.

Patrick Quarcoo, popularly known as PQ, is a Ghanaian Kenya-based serial entrepreneur. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Radio Africa Group, which is an umbrella of among Kenya's leading media channels on print, digital, TV and radio. This include KISS 100, Classic 105, X FM, Radio Jambo, East FM, the Star newspaper and KISS TV. Quarcoo and his Radio Africa Group co-founder, William Pike also own two radio stations in Uganda, Capital Radio and Beat FM. He came to Kenya from Reuters Uganda in the 90s to start up a media company. In 2012, Quarcoo was awarded an international recognition award at the Ghana UK-Based Achievement Awards.

India–Somalia relations Diplomatic relations between the Republic of India and the Federal Republic of Somalia

India–Somalia relations refers to the international relations that exist between India and Somalia.

Mayor of Mogadishu

The Mayor of Mogadishu is head of the executive branch of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. The mayor's office administers all city services, public property, police and fire protection, most public agencies, and enforces laws within the city. The current mayor is Omar Muhamoud Finnish, who was appointed on 22 August 2019 and succeeded the Martyr Mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman, who was killed on 1 August 2019 due to a suicide bombing occurred 24 July 2019 inside the mayor's office.

Mohamed Ali Nur, popularly known as "Ambassador Americo", was the Somali Ambassador to Kenya from October 2007 to April 2015. He was also a candidate in the 2017 Somali presidential election.

Osborne Macharia is a self-taught Kenyan commercial photographer and digital artist whose work focuses on themes of Afrofuturism in culture, identity, and fictional narratives. He has been called "a master at creating alternate black universes."

References

  1. "Young photographer exposed Somalia's horrors". CNN.
  2. "Dan & Amy Eldon". The MY HERO Project. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  3. New, Jennifer: "Dan Eldon: The Art of Life", page 74. Creative Visions, 2001.
  4. New, Jennifer. "Dan Eldon: The Art of Life", page 147. Creative Visions, 2001.
  5. New, Jennifer. "Dan Eldon: The Art of Life", page 198. Creative Visions, 2001.
  6. Smith, David (30 December 2007). "Wizard to play the magician of Somalia". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  7. ""The Journey is the Destination (2016)", Internet Movie Database".

Books