Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Massoud Hossaini, AFP, Wins Pulitzer For Best Breaking News Photography

Agence France Presse (AFP) photo journalist Massoud Hossaini has won the coveted Pulitzer Prize for best breaking news photography for his devastating photo of a wailing Afghan girl surrounded by carnage after a suicide bombing at a Shiite shrine on December 6, 2011.

The photo, which captures the horror and the anguish of mass death, was captured by Hossaini as he stood feet from the blast. 70 people were massacred and injured that day including many of  the young girl Tarana's family.

According to Hossaini:

''I was just looking at my camera when suddenly there was a big explosion,'' he said.

''For a moment I didn't know anything, I just felt the wave of the explosion as a pain inside my body. I fell down on the ground.

''When the smoke went away I saw I was standing in the centre of a circle of dead bodies.

''They were all together on top of each other. I was standing exactly where the suicide attacker had been.''

Hossaini said he was in ''shock'' and initially ''didn't know what to do''.

''I knew I should cover this, record everything, all the pain, the people running, crying, shouting, beating their chests, shouting: 'Death to al-Qaeda, death to the Taliban!'''

Hossaini said he turned to the right and saw the girl, Tarana, whose age has been given as either 10 or 12.

''When Tarana saw what had happened to her brother, her cousins, uncles, mother, grandmother, the people around her, she was just shouting,'' he said.

Not everyone appreciates this kind of journalism, and in some ways it does make one question the appropriateness of flashing a camera in certain situations, but it's also important to make sure that we serve as witnesses to the horrors in the world.  In spite of photographic evidence of the Nazi Holocaust, there are still those who claim it never happened. Imagine not having proof.

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