Picture of Amal.. When Yemen's journalists re-reminded the world of the Forgotten War

Picture of Amal.. When Yemen's journalists re-reminded the world of the Forgotten War


The Yemen war is no longer forgotten for the world after witnessing the image of the child, picture of Amal the seven-year-old daughter lying on a bed at a local hospital, the picture intensified the tragic situation of the war in the poorest Arab country.

The story raised the pain and anger of the readers, and pressure increased on the Saudi-Emirati coalition to end its war that caused the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22 million, or 75 percent of the population, need some kind of assistance or protection.

Yemenis are hopeful that a picture of Amal will cause a halt to the war, and a professor of history Nabil Saleh told Al Jazeera, "The story of Amal  that reflects our suffering, and we hope that its image will change the policy of supporting war."

The picture contained a human dimension that aroused great sympathy and topped with the major international media, and it was telling the suffering from the most influential angle; the image of a starving childhood, observers say.

Art critic and writer Jamal Hasan said that the picture was "an extreme manifestation of the severe human deterioration, the heavy damage caused by the war to the Yemenis, and an expressive intensity of the most fierce killing, and a predator who is surprised by torturing Yemenis and killing them is hunger, and the picture was like a sad mass."

"The image has been able to tell about the Yemeni tragedy in its tragic form, and its impact was clear, as some said it was not expected that the tragedy in Yemen had reached that limit," he added.

Backstage photo

The picture that brought the world's attention to the tragedy of Yemen is the efforts of local journalists who have dedicated themselves to the humanitarian crisis.

Among them, journalist Issa Al-Rajhi, who has been working assiduously to occupy the human suffering of war, is the greatest concern of international public opinion, far removed from political strife.

Al-Rajhi told al-Jazeera that he was visiting a health center in Hajjah Governorate, where he was surprised by dozens of children whose bodies had been transformed into skeletons, and when he asked about their situation, hunger had killed whole chickens.

"I visited the area and found that the wood leaf (al-Halas) became the main meal for the families, found children who could not carry their bodies, started taking pictures of them, and I felt that I took them in my heart, not with the viewfinder," he added. Al-Rajhi tried to complete the filming, but he did not tear his tears, so he was close to the neighborhood and cried.

I feel pain.

Amal was one of the children that al-Rajhi journalist took pictures of, but after days she died, and as the news of her death spread, readers asked the most popular question for war photographers--including al-Rajhi, who was not known to them--why didn't he save her?

Al-Rajhi, who works as a journalist who cooperates with a number of international media outlets, said, "I wish I had Amal (alone) that she was malnourished, so I carried her on my back and hastened to save her, but I found hundreds of people like her, and it is more than I can."

He adds that his main task is to convey the suffering and hope of 18 million Yemenis threatened by a similar fate and to request the intervention of the international community and organizations to save them, which happened as the Associated Press published the story.

Days later a foreign press team was arriving at the remote village of Amal, deprived of transportation, services, and communication, to show the girl who struggles to die silently on the cover of the New York Times.

Al Rajhi felt sad after the death of Amal, prompting him to return to visit her family, «I was hurt hearing her mother talking about the story of her death, and how she tried to save her, after she carried her and walked on foot for an hour in the rain, and she struggles to die in her lap».

Significant barriers

As local journalists who do not belong to any party, they are denied protection privileges and placed in the face of endless obstacles, and if they encounter them, they try to recall that they are journalists who are transferring the suffering of war, in a country where journalism is an unwelcome adventure.

Photographer Abdullah Hamran told Aljazeera that he maintains good relations with all parties, but his departure from the field represents a challenge that ends only with his return home, adding, "We try not to touch on the political situation so as not to invoke the war, we seek to extinguish it."

But the humanitarian mission of photographer Hamran, often collides with many difficulties, especially because the camera is causing attention in a country that lives a state of war, "and being independent we are prevented from passing more easily at checkpoints and security barriers."

Most local journalists do not belong to well-known press organizations such as the syndicate of journalists or the Yemeni media union, and many of them work in a free and independent manner, but their efforts often overwhelm the well-known bodies representing Yemen's journalists.

Journalists were often behind the humanitarian campaigns on the communication sites, and a few days ago, the journalist Bassam al-Qadhi launched his account on Facebook and Twitter, named #أنقذوا_أطفال_الأزارق #المجاعة_تفتك_بأزارق_الضالع, to draw the world's attention to the tragedy of the southern Yemeni village of Azareq, after The death of a child Ghadeer because of hunger.


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