This 4-year-old child had to surrender to a camera because she thought it was a gun.

What if you suddenly run into a photojournalist and you were asked to pose for a shot? Like come on, you’d pose for the most awesome photoshop CNN would share all over the world; and even have the chance to brag about it with your pals that, “Hey guys, I was on CNN today!” Kudos. But that wasn’t the epic story of a 4-year-old Syrian girl who raised her hand to surrender, apparently thinking that the camera was a gun.

Related media: Photo Of Child “Surrendering” To Camera Goes Viral


Say Cheese! [Hands Raise] Oh!

Parents normally advice their kids about simple household morals like: ‘Cover your mouth when you cough. Sneeze into your tissue. Say excuse me if you bump in to someone,’ and not like: ‘Raise your hand in surrender if you see a gun.’ Being realistic, the average stereotypical 4-year-old child is so cute and adorable that he or she would smile (laugh) and bump into you, and even have a few questions to ask you. Awww! Those interrogative cuties!

So it was very suspicious when a 4-year-old Syrian girl instinctively raised her hand when she was being photographed, as if she had seen a gun, or maybe what?

Image: Osman Sağırlı / Nadia Abu Shaban @NadiaAbuShaban

Yes, the image above was a photograph taken by Osman Sağırlı, a Turkish photojournalist for Turkiye newspaper, who took the photo in December 2014 at the Atmeh refugee camp, near the Turkish border.

“I was using a telephoto lens, and she thought it was a weapon,” Sağırlı told the BBC. “I realised she was terrified after I took it, and looked at the picture, because she bit her lips and raised her hands. Normally kids run away, hide their faces or smile when they see a camera.”

He says he finds pictures of children in the camps particularly revealing.


An Image That Touched The World

As you’d expect, the image went viral and it was first tweeted by Nadia Abu Shaban, another photojournalist based in Gaza, on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 12:54 PM (GMT), and the image quickly spread across the social network — “I’m actually weeping,” “unbelievably sad,” and “humanity failed,” the comments read. The original tweet has been retweeted over 23,000 times and still counting today. The image has since been shared on all social networks — Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and on — touching the hearts of millions around the world.

There’s been countless arguments claiming that the image is “fake” and was allegedly staged just to receive the media attention it had. When the BBC traced the source of the image, Sağırlı confessed that the image was really a 4-year-old Syrian girl called Hudea, together with her mother and two other siblings who were forced to flee fighting near her home in Hama some … (90 miles) away.

The image was first published in the Türkiye newspaper in January 2015, where Sağırlı worked for 25 years, covering war and natural disasters outside the country. It was widely shared by Turkish speaking social media users at the time. But it took a few months before it went viral in the English-speaking world, finding millions of audience that were really touch by such a scene.


What Has Our World Come Of?

In 2016, there was a photo of another young Syrian boy whose corpse was found ashore. Seeing images like this on the internet is really depressing. What our world is coming to is more like the Apocalypse just begin, (thinking of COVID-19? that’s just nature trying to get back at us). The image of this 3-year-old boy was a casualty of the Syrian civil war — he drowned together with his 5-year-old brother and mother as they were trying to flee to safety.

“You know there are displaced people in the camps,” as Sağırlı continues. “It makes more sense to see what they have suffered not through adults, but through children. It is the children who reflect the feelings with their innocence.”


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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Mon, Apr 15, 2019.


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