By photographer Peppe Iovino.
On Saturday 18 October, I went along to the Roath district of Cardiff for the ‘Road Block’ event, a series of arts events that took place through the day from the morning to the late afternoon. Alongside Albany Road and many of the neighbourhood streets there were live stages with local bands and young artists, painting and drawing workshops for families, literary exhibitions and forums in some pubs and schools, open art galleries, photography exhibitions and many other kind of events.
For a day the streets became a live museum, for many art tastes. It was a really well done experiment of urban arts, I think, and through art events they made the people feel the soul of the neighbourhood.
‘Road in Block’ was part of a bigger art festival called Made in Roath going on between the 15 to the 22 of October with a series of arts events all made by local artists to highlight Roath’s art scene.
On the way to Roath’s Road Block, I passed a group of Kurdish migrant families who were demonstrating in Queen Street. Their protest was to make the public aware about the terrible situation going on in their country. Children were standing alongside their families in the protest. They were chanting, holding posters saying ‘save Kobane’, ‘save Kurdistan’, and ‘ISIS is making genocide while the world watches’.
Speaking with one of the fathers he told me that they are very afraid of a genocide because not so far from Kurdistan (in the Kobane border city) the ISIS terrorist group are are killing hundreds and hundreds of Kurdish people whose only crime is being in the area. “It is nothing to do with religious beliefs,” he told me, “they don’t have any religious purpose, they just want power, they are hungry for power.”
He told me he had spoken to his brother yesterday, who had told him that the situation was very serious there – that hundreds of their people are being killed daily without any humanity or religious purposes; he said that ISIS would stop at nothing and the Kurdish people were not well armed to fight them. He said that the Kurds needed help from Western governments. He said they just felt like cannon fodder with the terrorist group well-armed, making daily massacres while international armies just watch.
He said that Ankara’s government was making their situation of Kurdish people worse by closing their borders. “We are very afraid of a genocide actually,” he said. “We don’t see any way out that’s better for our people, and if we do not receive help soon from international governments, we need some way to fight ISIS. That’s why we are here – there are many protests like this one in many other UK cities today to spread information about what is happening and ask for the UK government’s help.”
The man said it was not easy to explain to his sons why they were coming out today with pictures of dead bodies for the protest, but he said it was important that everyone needed to know who pays the price in these kinds of wars: on the front lines, it is always someone’s sons.
About the photographer: Peppe Iovino is a Photojournalism student studying at the University of South Wales, based in Cardiff. He was born in Naples, Italy and is very passionate about the storytelling power of photography. He has lived in many different European cities, but now has come to Cardiff to commit to study in the field he loves. You can find Peppe’s other works on his Twitter @PeppePhotoJ_USW.
Sign up for the weekly We Are Cardiff newsletter