Immor­tal Images of the Syria War

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.

War mem­o­ries

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.

Source: Alara­biya

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