Omran Daqneesh will soon be forgotten
Photos conveying violence continue to surface, yet no one can put an end to the violence
How long will the shock of Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh’s photos last? Will we remember his gaze, the dust that covered him, his bloodied forehead and beautiful hair for just a few days, or perhaps a little more?
One could not but be touched by the photos of Daqneesh, who escaped death following bombing either by the Syrian regime or Russia in Aleppo. He was in shock and unable to even shed a tear as he sat on a chair in an ambulance.
His photo made us cry a lot, while he himself could not cry or voice his fear. However, the real sorrow is that despite global media attention, the effect of his photo will quickly fade away and meet the same fate as thousands of others taken in Syria in the past six years.
This happened with the photo of Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi who drowned in the Mediterranean, and with 11,000 photos documenting what the regime has done in its prisons.
For the past six years, we would grieve over a photo then forget about it the next day. Laziness and lack of interest soon prevail over emotions, so pressure to reach a solution decreases.
For the past six years, we would grieve over a photo then forget about it the next day. Laziness and lack of interest soon prevail over emotions, so pressure to reach a solution decreasesDiana Moukalled
Modern war coverage
Perhaps the Spanish civil war was the first conflict to be covered with close-up photos of the battlefield and civilians. It has been decades since photojournalists began documenting wars and circulating their brutal images.
With the war in Syria, thanks to the development of cameras, smart phones and social networking sites, it is possible to circulate photos across the globe in seconds. This has happened a lot during the conflict.
In Syria, photojournalists, citizens and activists have made exceptional efforts to cover events in order to convey the truth of what is happening. In risking their lives to take these photos, they all share the desire to have them contribute to ending people’s suffering and not repeating tragedies.
However, in Syria a photo’s ability to achieve change has been destroyed. Photos conveying violence continue to surface, yet no one can put an end to the violence. We have been touched by Daqneesh’s photo, but when it comes to the Syrian tragedy, the only thing we are capable of is looking the other way.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Aug. 22, 2016.
Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.