Last December, photographer Osman Sağırlı pointed his telephoto lens towards a little Syrian girl and took a picture. Her reaction to this simple gesture — which was to raise her arms in submission — confused Sağırlı at first. When he looked closely at the photo, at the nervous pursing of the lips and the eyes wrought with fear, he realized this girl — not more than five years old — thought the camera was a weapon.
With the full understanding of what weapons do to people, she did what only a child who grew up in a war-torn country would do:
yeniakit.com.tr / Via Osman Sağırlı“I was using a telephoto lens, and she thought it was a weapon,” Sağırlı said, “İ realized 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.”
The girl in the photo was a 4-year-old named Hudea. Along with her mother and two siblings, Hudea took refuge at a camp on the Turkish border. Her father died in a bombing in their home in Hama, a city in west-central Syria.
Some talented Internet sleuthing by a user on Imgur revealed that the picture originated from a newspaper clipping:
yeniakit.com.trIt was found that Sağırlı has worked for this newspaper for 25 years. The clipping reads:
Her face tightens immediately. She bites her lower lip and slowly raises her hands. She stands still without a word. It isn’t easy to console the child who thinks that the camera looking at her is a gun. Her name is Hudea… She is only 4 years old. She lost her dad in the bombing of Hama. She took refuge at the Atme camp at the Turkish border with her mom and [two] siblings.
This tragic picture paints a thousand words — as well as six years of civil war, ten million refugees, and one major problem with war.
But the mystery number is, how many more four-year-olds should be born into this kind of life?