Yearend 2015: A picture and its story
Updated: 2015-12-25 15:38
Ghazal, 4, (L) and Judy, 7, carrying 8-month-old Suhair, run away after the shelling of a Red Crescent convoy in Damascus, Syria May 6, 2015.[Photo/Agencies]
Bassam Khabieh: I was covering the Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy's visit to the the Douma neighborhood of Damascus, which was carrying medical aid and supplies used to give psychological support to children affected by war. Every time the aid convoy arrived, children would gather around it, happy that they were going to be supplied with food and medicine.
Before the shell landed on the convoy I was sitting on the pavement relaxing; the children gathered around me so I could photograph them. While I was taking these photos, the shell exploded. It killed a female volunteer and wounded many people and volunteers nearby. The children were terrified and began to scream and cry, especially when they saw a female volunteer covered with blood from a head injury.
The challenge to portray this image was just like the challenges we face daily in time of war. I knew that there might be another shell falling within a matter of seconds; then one did exactly that a little further away. Do you want to protect yourself, like everyone else, by walking into a shop or home? Help carry the injured or be satisfied to take photos while others transfer them to ambulances? Do you want to calm screaming children? Or do you just want to cry because of what's happened? All these questions need answers in a matter of seconds before you can capture such an image.
In this particular photograph, it was the first time I had seen how children's innocent laughter could turn into screams, fear and tears. It was a very sad moment when I put my eye to the viewfinder to take pictures of laughing children; then when I looked back after taking the picture, I saw the same children crying, distraught. It takes only a few seconds for life to turn to ashes and blood.