Rena Effendi

We Are Here
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Nationality: Azerbaijan
Biography: Rena Effendi’s early work focused on oil industry’s effects on people’s lives.  As a result, she followed a 1,700 km oil pipeline through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, collecting stories along the way. This work was published in 2009... read on
Public Story
We Are Here
Credits: rena effendi
Date of Work: 05/09/11 - 05/26/12
Updated: 04/21/18
Location: Egypt

Coptic Christians in Egypt number more than 10,000,000, making them the largest (religious) minority group in the country, one that has become more a target for extremists in the past years than ever before. Since the toppling of Hosni Mubarek, acts of aggression and violence, in addition to the usual discrimination and governmental neglect, have instilled fear in the Coptic community at their future prospects of a peaceful existence in Egypt. At the same time, many of the Christians insist that the country, and their rights to live, work and thrive in it are worth fighting, and even dying for. "We are here, and we are not leaving!", so many of the Copts say in response to the spike in religious-based violence against them.

Focusing on the headlines though obscures the fact that there are pockets of tolerance and integration, and that the Christian community is diverse and evolving - activists, priests, farmers, garbage collectors; however, this is still and fundamentally a story of people who feel they are being pushed closer to the edge, people who do not want to or feel like they should budge.


By Rena Effendi —


A Five Day War

By Rena Effendi — When a conflict broke out between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 over the Russian backed self-proclaimed republic of South Ossetia I traveled..

We Are Here

By Rena Effendi — Liquid Land is co-authored with my father Rustam Effendi, a dissident scientist and entomologist who devoted his life to studying, hunting and..

Chernobyl: Still Life in the Zone

By Rena Effendi — The first signs of the Chernobyl nuclear accident of April 26, 1986 were detected in Sweden   two days later , after a cloud of radioactive..

Khinaliq Village

By Rena Effendi — I first came to Khinaliq to document life in Azerbaijan’s highest inhabited village in 2003. Archeological evidence suggests that Khinaliq was..


By Rena Effendi — This story portrays Mahatma Gandhi and his enduring legacy in modern-day India trailing across the sub-continent with an attempt to put “flesh..


By Rena Effendi — For centuries, the small villages in Transylvania have preserved their hay meadows, raised cattle and operated self-sustainable farms. The agrarian..

Cairo: Urban Decay

By Rena Effendi — In 2015, just a year after winning the election, Egypt’s president Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi announced his plan to build a new capital. The new city..

Courage in the Congo

By Rena Effendi — Ravaged by a never-ending war between various militias, rebels groups, and criminal combatants, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where rape and..

Bengali Weddings

By Rena Effendi — This project documents a wide spectrum of wedding culture and traditions in Bangladesh. From luxurious venues and mega-productions to modest..

The Crossing Point

By Rena Effendi — In a small Greek town of Idomeni in 2015, a long and slow trail of people shuffled across fields and irrigation ditches, attempting..

Caspian Mystique

By Rena Effendi — Text extract from the National Geographic Traveler, by: Bruce Shoenfeld Baku has always been at the crossroads of something. Caught between the..

Egypt's First Revolutionary

By Rena Effendi — Akhenaten, the pharaoh that ruled Egypt in 1300 BC and in his reign enforced the worshiping of one god - Aten – the sun disc is considered the..
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