Hussman and Milo

January 22, 2015 - single portrait

I met Hussman and Milo in Munich in May 2012. He came as a refugee from the civil war in Libya which has driven about three hundred thousand people away from their cities, jobs and homes since it started in 2011. He came looking for peace and  a new home far away from the horrible experience of war. He told me that his friend who came with him to Germany was crippled by a grenade detonating next to them in the street.

He and Milo, the dog of his German girlfriend, were going for a walk meeting friends to hang out. Just doing what people do.

When I met Hussman and Milo, I was still living in Singapore and was a guest in a foreign country myself. In August that year I repatriated to Germany. The Middle East has not come to rest since. Civil war in Libya isn’t finished, Egypt is split between the Muslim brothers and the military. Syria is such a mess that nobody knows whether today’s partner will be your enemy tomorrow. Every day we receive new horrific information about the crimes of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).

And the media in the West picks it up and makes it topic number one. Reports about lost kids all over Europe joining the Jihad are shown daily. We are exposed to videos with western people being beheaded by men wrapped up in black. The German government rushes the decision to deliver weapons to a hitherto terrorist organization to defend themselves against ISIS. Suddenly the plans of building a mosque in a German city becomes big and bad news. Even in detective movies Muslims are now more often the bad people. It seems the advance of the Islam is omnipresent. We live the siege of Vienna by the Turks in 1683 all over again. We have a new enemy.

Meanwhile on the street in Germany an organization called PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, or in German: Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes) is mobilizing Germany’s middle class. These people are voicing an opinion that is a disgrace to humanity but they are just repeating what propaganda brings to their eyes, daily.

What happened in Paris last week was cruel bloody murder. Nobody should be executed for displaying her or his opinion. Yes, the perpetrators were Muslims. Yet, that doesn’t turn all Muslims to criminals. One of the victims was Muslim as well and I was impressed to see so many people united in humanity independent of their religions and believes in Paris on Jan 11th 2015.

I’m glad more and more people stand up against PEGIDA in Germany to ensure that guys like Hussman, who came here to survive a war in their countries, have a future. We don’t have to bring them our culture and what we call freedom. Let’s just keep doing the human thing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending the criminals that commit terrible crimes. I’m defending the innocent and that we need to differentiate. And that we can not turn our backs on the innocent and judge them because they belong to a certain religion.

› tags: 100strangers / civil war / film photography / hasselblad / islam / libya / munich / pegida /


  1. i hope that one day all the religions will coexist together. but honestly it will never happen. exactly like religious people can’t be in peace with atheists like me.
    i know exactly what is the root of all this evil, but i prefer not to open this discussion here.
    anyway – lovely portrait of the nice guy with his little friend. btw – this is not a single portrait but the group 🙂
    and..Ijon, i hope that your hassey not rebelled to expose this shoot because of the ADS of Nikon on background :

    • Urban Hafner says:

      I believe I agree with you, Victor. Even though you didn’t mention what exactly you believe to be the culprit. But being a fellow atheist makes it somewhat easier to guess. 🙂

      And that is a great shot! Although I’m not totally objective as I used to go into that store in the background to have my films developed.

      • IjonTichy says:

        Thanks, Urban … I was actually on the way to the store to check their used camera department. In the late 90ies I also used to develop my films there. They still do it but are much more expensive than other labs in Munich.

      • Victor Bezrukov says:

        i found this comment only now, so sorry for the delay !
        we understand each other – photography is the best religion 🙂

    • IjonTichy says:

      Hi Victor, thank you for the comment. I know it isn’t an easy post and also to comment isn’t straight forward. I wrote it because the propaganda in Germany against people coming here from countries of civil war is horrible. At lunch I talked to a co-worker and she talked like Islam takes over our society. When I talk to my parents I always hear this hidden racism. The propaganda works well. Middle class is turn its back to our humanist values.
      And the worst is if you would try to live here, you would realize the same. So it’s actually not about religion. It’s about Xenophobia.

  2. Lena Konstantinova says:

    Nice kind faces, wonderful portrait, Ijon! And what about wars and hatred, prefer not to comment…

    • IjonTichy says:

      Lena, not too easy to answer. I also can’t talk for governments, the military terrorists organizations as well as individual criminals. They need to take full responsibility for their doing. And I strongly believe that crimes must be brought to prosecution and nobody should ever hurt another person.
      I still can’t prosecute all people belonging to a certain religion or country or skin color. I believe if all people would think this way, there might be less violence.

  3. Dawn Copley says:

    Ijon- I love the friendly face of Hussman and his furry friend Milo ! I am so happy that he was able to escape a terribly savage war environment as I have read about when he did and by his smile no matter how things were then they were delightfully happy compared to his homeland. I too, am happy that we have places of refuge for people to seek safety in such sad times. Whatever a person believes , be it a religion or philosophy , I only hope that we all work together towards peace , understanding, respect, and kindness towards one another everywhere. That is simply a positive and genuine attitude of live and let live as long as you are not doing anything to someone you would not tolerate having done to you. This consideration is so often forgotten in the fast pace lives and poverty stricken areas of every parts of the country . We all have good and bad and right and wrong to choose between every day. A sense of justice that would make peace for everyone may seem impossible as Victor has said , yet as people we must keep trying ! We can ‘t give up! The emotions we feel for one another in this way of love, care, kindness, sharing, curiosity, Justice , etc… Are what separate us as civilized intelligent humans with or without religion. Without these feelings or a moral conscience we are just wild uncivilized barbarians from ancients days of old who may or may not have worshiped Gods, Goddesses, or nothing at all.

    I just hope as you do Ijon that we all continue to try to treat others as we would like to be treated with consideration, hope for peace and safety, and less pain and suffering anywhere in the world. And, if I can contribute to help this happen just with one person, I will be very happy ! Your photos make me smile ! So you have contributed to the kindness of the world today. Thank you very much ! Dawn Copley

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