As a journalist and photographer, I’m passionate about telling people’s stories.
It’s personal for me. When I was 11, war was waged on my homeland of Kosovo by the Serbian armed forces of Yugoslavia, led by that country’s then-president, Slobodan Milošević. And that’s when I first took up my camera to document its atrocities and consequences.
Today, Serbia is led by Aleksandar Vučić, formerly an information minister in the Milosevic regime, a regime that, between 1990 and 1999, committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo.
It is tough to record the story of people whose livelihood is devastated by the consequences of war and then leave without being able to offer a 50$ cash with them for their necessities. Your money will also be used for people in need. – Vudi Xhymshiti
Back then, Vučić went on TV to deliver threats of more mass violence and to justify those crimes. Today, he is standing by the Russian Federation, which has annexed Crimea, supports armed separatists in eastern Ukraine and, in February this year, launched a full-scale military assault on Ukraine in an effort to occupy the entire country.
I’m proud that Kosovo has become an engine for peace but has also been relentless in not letting Serbia get away with its crimes. Meanwhile, the Russian Federation is trying to undermine stability in the Western Balkans, using Serbia and its chauvinist leadership as its proxy.
As a photojournalist, I’ve always been drawn to telling people’s stories. And for me, there is no more powerful story than that of war and its consequences. I’ve spent my career documenting the effects of conflict on civilians, and I hope that by sharing these stories, we can help prevent future wars.
I’m currently in Ukraine. My trip has been self-organised, and it was made possible only because there are others who share my commitment to bearing witness and holding the powerful to account.
The financial burden is big – often daunting. Yet I never compromise on my mission, which is to get in, get the story, and get myself and my crew out safely.
The essential expenses of a trip include vehicle hire, petrol, insurance, sustenance, phone data, and technological devices, when required, as well as on-the-ground production assistance from the likes of an interpreter and a fixer.