This is this year’s World Press Photo of the Year for 2012, taken by Paul Hansen of the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. It’s a photo taken on November 20th of the funeral of two Palestinian children in Gaza City. The children are brothers: two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and his older brother Muhammad. They were killed in an Israeli missile strike, which hit their house. Their father’s body is also being carried further back in the picture.
This is a very tough photo and I had a small debate over whether or not to post it on here. Not because of controversy related to Israel vs. Palestine in contemporary politics, but because this is a picture of two very small, dead children and the grief that surrounds their death. It is a heartrending and personal moment, and often on here I choose not to post images that are graphic or of dead bodies, out of respect to both my readers’ preferences and to the subjects of the photos. I decided to post this one for a few reasons. It won the award, making it now a very public photo which many will see and discuss. Primarily, though, I chose to post it because I think everything about this picture is important and that it’s supposed to be seen because we are not often enough treated to a visual understanding of life as a Palestinian under occupation in Gaza or the West Bank. It matters that this photo exists for us to see and think about and it matters that we see suffering of this nature. If you are displeased that I’ve shown this photo (for reasons not including some incensed assumption that by showing you Palestinian children killed by Israeli missiles that I must support Hamas or hate anyone who is Jewish, because neither is true or makes sense), I’m sorry for showing you something you did not want to see. It was genuinely because I think it’s important that you see it.