DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Prize Photo

The photo below has moved me very much. Ever since I first saw it about a week ago, I have been draw to revisit it

It is one of the prize winning photos of the World Press Photo Contest. It was taken by Samuel Aranda in Saana, Yemen, October 5, 2011. He was working for the New York Times.

(Click on photo to enlarge)















This photo I find both draws me to look at it and, at the same time, makes me want to look away. I feel uncomfortable for being a voyeur of such a touching human moment. Here we see a scene which has two images which each makes us uncomfortable such that we want to look away while at the same time we are drawn to stare. The first is a man, near naked, and obviously suffering ( he was a victim of the uprising in Sanaa ,Yemen.) We ought not to be intruding on another's suffering, (as if he were road kill on the highway) particularly when he is so helpless and unable to defend himself and his right to modesty. The second person, is a woman, in contrast, completely covered including a hiqab. The gloves would indicate she is a medical assistant but she is offering more that medical assistance.

She is offering succour to another human's pain and suffering. For me, a western person, unfamiliar with women presenting themselves in a Niqab, I am drawn to stare at her, wondering who she is. At the same time. I feel I should look away for she dressing in this manner to protect her modestly and doesn't deserve to have a stranger staring at her. Do I really need to see more of her to judge her humanity?

We often think woman in a Niqab as hiding her humanity, and yet, this scene is a demonstration of her showing her humanity to this man in a very tender way as it he were a child. In fact, he is as helpless as a child and in a way she has set aside her modestly and drawn him to her. We need not see more to understand the quality of her humanity.

I continue to return to this photo and look at it. The more I look; the more I think I learn. It is without a title so I like to call it "Compassion", or, The Muslim Pietà

If you want to see other prize winning photos you can find them here.

6 Comments:

At 8:32 PM, Blogger Loretta said...

A truly touching photo. It proves to me that we are all human,with the same feelings of love and compassion for our fellow man.

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger Owen Gray said...

I heard an interview with the photographer who took the picture, Philip. He talked about what was happening at the time the photo was taken. It was harrowing.

Sometimes photos lie. This one doesn't.

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger Anvilcloud said...

It is certainly a poignant photo, disturbing on several levels. The plight of the man is disturbing, but so is the plight of the woman. How pathetic to be forced to give succor through the armor of the veil! I cannot view her garb as protecting her modesty; I see it as being victimized by ridiculous man-made (and I do mean man, not mankind) proscriptions.

Sorry to unload (sort of), but as I go on in life, I find that I condone our ancient superstitions less and less.

I'll be alright. :)

 
At 11:08 AM, Blogger Gattina said...

No matter what cloth she wears or what religion she belongs to, she is a mother, with the same feelings all mothers of world have.
Usually these women wear black gloves.
I have seen a few in Egypt and Morocco, they are not very well liked. Underneath they wore Jeans and baskets ! I saw it when one bent over.

 
At 1:00 PM, Blogger Ginnie said...

A very powerful photo. It is also extremely unusual for a muslim woman to be seen "touching" a man. I wish I had heard the interview with the photographer.
Thanks for posting this, Philip, it brings our world's suffering closer.

 
At 11:57 AM, Blogger KGMom said...

I agree that the photo is a modern pieta.
Madonna and child all over again.

 

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