Small-scale tobacco farming has been a traditional occupation, with a high-end variety Bashi-bali used in many of the major cigarette brands. ‘‘We just don’t need the mine,’’ Shukria Mehmed, 60, said, her clothes and hands soiled brown from picking tobacco. ‘‘We already have all that we need.’’ Image by Dimiter Kenarov. Bulgaria, 2011.

This Week
Grabbing Gold

From Eastern Europe to South America, soaring gold prices have triggered a global gold rush. Industrial mining companies—quite a few of them based in Canada—are muscling aside small local operations and laying waste to large swaths of previously pristine countryside. It is an under-reported crisis that has been on the Pulitzer Center’s radar for more than a year, and it now seems to be gaining some media traction.

In a front-page story for the International Herald Tribune, Dimiter Kenarov writes about a small corner of Bulgaria where residents are worried that plans by a Canadian company and its Bulgarian subsidiary to start up a large-scale mining operation will destroy their traditional way of life. The mining company says there is nothing to fear, but history suggests otherwise.

Nadja Drost picks up the story in South America, visiting La Toma, Colombia, where a determined group of Afro-Colombian women are fighting to hold on to the gold-rich land that has sustained their community for centuries. Nadja’s report is available on PBS’s Women War & Peace website.

The Kurds and the Quake

Jenna Krajeski recently reported from southeastern Turkey on a group of Kurdish children—now young adults—who were released from prison after receiving harsh sentences for minor offenses. She follows up with a report on the political fallout from the earthquake that struck the Kurdish area late last month. Writing for The New Yorker, Jenna notes that the quake’s devastation produced a few heartening moments of ethnic solidarity, but that the deep fissures in Turkish society are probably earthquake resistant.

FotoWeek DC, which begins today, features the work of several Pulitzer Center grantees. In addition to the panels and discussions listed on the right, several of our photojournalists will next week visit nearly two dozen schools in the Washington, DC area as part of our educational outreach initiative.

Until next week,

Tom Hundley
Senior Editor
thundley@pulitzercenter.org