When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Detail of Address To The Nation
Detail of Address To The Nation

Charles de Gaulle was the first world leader to truly understand the power of television, using regular presidential broadcasts as a way to circumvent French legislators, labor unions and other levers of democratic influence.

Since then, prime ministers and presidents, benevolent monarchs and ruthless dictators have used the televised "address to the nation" as an essential tool of modern leadership — to comfort or intimidate, confront crises, unveil policies, announce coups, launch wars. While each may have a different script, the broadcasts share a familiar choreography and iconography: from my desk to your living room, I will lead you through this collective moment in our nation's history.

The Italian photographer Tommaso Bonaventura, shut off from his field work, was watching the COVID-19 drama unfold on his computer and television screens. With people dying each day by the dozens then hundreds in his native country, he joined with others waiting anxiously for the relatively anonymous and inexperienced Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to appear on the screen before the gathered nation.

It was only the beginning: over the next three weeks, at least 70 national leaders have similarly addressed their respective populaces with messages that mix practical information with some semblance of national unity. But the words were not the point.

Bonaventura understood that the very fact of these televised appointments, taken together, could depict an unprecedented moment for the world — a world under attack. He has joined them in a common visual work, freezing the first moment (within 1 second) that each leader appears before his or her nation.

Address To The Nations becomes a singular document of this chapter of human history, appearing to us like a solemn roll call of geopolitical leadership morphing into a cutaway scene from an alien invasion movie.

This is, of course, not a movie. Our enemy is as real as it is invisible, exposing everyone on the planet to the most basic threat to lives and ways of life that we have all long taken for granted. We will instinctively continue to turn to our leaders, even if there's really nothing they can say to change what is happening. Their faces, captured in time, are a sign of how vulnerable we've become.

—Jeff Israely


Address To The Nations © Tommaso Bonaventura / OneShot / Worldcrunch


OneShot is a new digital format to tell the story of a single photograph in an immersive one-minute video.

Follow OneShot:

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

How India’s Women Are Fighting Air Pollution — And The Patriarchy

India is one of the world's worst countries for air pollution, with women more likely to be affected by the problem than men. Now, experts and activists are fighting to reframe pollution as a gendered health crisis.

A woman walking through dense fog in New Delhi

*Saumya Kalia

MUMBAI In New Delhi, a city that has topped urban air-pollution charts in recent years, Shakuntala describes a discomfort that has become too familiar. Surrounded by bricks and austere buildings, she tells an interviewer: "The eyes burn and it becomes difficult to breathe". She is referring to the noxious fumes she routinely breathes as a construction worker.

Like Shakuntala, women’s experiences of polluted air fill every corner of their lives – inside homes, in parks and markets, on the way to work. Ambient air in most districts in India has never been worse than it is today. As many as 1.67 million people in the country die prematurely due to polluted air. It is India’s second largest health risk after malnutrition.

This risk of exposure to air pollution is compounded for women. Their experiences of toxic air are more frequent and often more hazardous. Yet “policies around air quality have not yet adequately taken into account gender or other factors that might influence people’s health,” Pallavi Pant, a senior scientist at the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit in the U.S., told The Wire Science.

“It’s unacceptable that the biggest burden [rests on] those who can least bear it,” Sherebanu Frosh, an activist, added. People like her are building a unique resistance within India.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ