By: Diana Moukalled
We can’t look away once we lay our eyes on the picture.
What first attracts our attention is her green eyes, crying of pain. Blood has dried on her face, which is wrapped with bandages. Her palm is raised in front of her face as if she is protecting herself from an imminent yet inevitable danger.
The picture only displays her face and nothing else. We are attracted by her gaze and the blood that has dried leaving behind marks that will long be engraved in her and our memories.
It is a photograph of a Syrian lady from Idlib, who has lost her husband and two children in a Syrian régime attack.
It is one of the many photos displa
ying daily Syrian pains. It won the prominent Pulitzer Prize for journalistic photos last week. Photos of Syrian death and destruction have won a great deal of prizes this year as well. How can the photo of the father from Aleppo who sat on the street crying and hugging his dead child not pain us whenever we remember it?
Each war has its photos and immortal icons.
It is these photos that reside in our collective memory. We cannot recall a specific war or tragedy without recalling these photos.
How can we recall the Vietnam War without remembering the photo of the little girl who was running and screaming with pain following the Napalm shelling? Or how can we recall Sudan’s famine without remembering the photo of the child who slowly crawled as an eagle lurked awaiting her death? These photos among others helped a lot in attracting the world’s attention and urging it to do something.
However, only the Syrians were of little luck. These scenes and photos that circulated across the world failed to limit the cost of death in their country and failed to appeal to the sentiments of the Syrian régime.
The photos were taken by professional photographers, and a murderous régime contributed to making them a reality. It is a régime which is not stupid at estimating the power and the influence of photos. But the régime has reached an extent of madness and violence where it thinks it is capable of inventing whatever it wants of these photos. How else can we understand that carefully prepared video for Mother’s Day in which Asmaa al-Assad appears hugging mothers of Syrian soldiers killed in the régime battles?
Mrs. Assad appeared elegantly in her castle smiling, surrounded by women and exploiting their tragedies. The first lady’s media department did not forget to display Asmaa as vibrant and the video was artistically directed in order for the viewer to feel as if Asmaa was the one mourning the death of someone dear to her.
It was dramatically directed in a manner that clearly suggests it is acceptable for Syrian mothers to have lost their sons for the sake of the country, but in fact they lost their sons for the sake of a family, the Assad family.
The photo of the lady from Idlib and the other photos that won the Pulitzer Prize are full of pain and blood. The photo of the first lady however is cheery and bright, but it is so bright it has become lifeless and drowned in cruelty.
The photographed woman from Idlib is called Aida.
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