World Press Photo 2012 mother and son speak

The BBC’s world service found the mother and son ( Fatima al-Qaws and Zayed) of this years World Press prize winning photograph. The main BBC website has explained on the photo with a somewhat short but interesting article —> here

Photo Samuel Aranda –

[Fatima al-Qaws] “On that day, 15 October 2011, there were demonstrations and the demonstrators were attacked. I knew something had happened because there was a power cut. I am always worried because my son always went out to demonstrations, they go out all the time, and because he had been wounded previously I went to the field hospital.

“I looked among the dead people and among the wounded. I went around many times and finally I found him in a small hall not far from the mosque. He had difficulty breathing and I knew that he had suffocated from the tear gas thrown earlier on. So I just took him into my arms and held him very close to me. I didn’t know what had happened to him. Because he had been injured before I was extremely worried.

“I wasn’t aware of what was happening around me, my concern was my son. There may have been people around me but my only concern was my son. I was really upset, but at the same time I was thinking that my son had become a martyr like all the other martyrs of Yemen, all the young people who had fallen.

“First of all I didn’t know anything about the photo that had been taken. But I got a call from my sister in the United Arab Emirates, she told me that her son saw the picture and he thinks that it is Zayed and myself.

“I didn’t believe it at first, especially as it was a veiled lady so no one knows. But then I saw it on Facebook and some friends and young people who were using Facebook sent me the photos on my mobile phone. So this was how I found out about it.

“I do remember that moment, I remember the moment that I embraced him because I thought he was dying. I was crying, but I wasn’t crying because I was sad, I was crying because I had found my son and he wasn’t dead yet.

“People ask me, ‘Were you crying under your veil, were you crying when you saw your son?’ I was happy that he was still alive and could be saved.

“It makes me very happy to see this picture, to see also that it has won such a prestigious award. It makes me proud. Proud for being a woman, proud for being a mother and proud for being Yemeni. I am very proud that this photo is going around the world and that many people have seen it.

“Especially it makes me even happier that Western people have chosen that photo. That would be a real surprise if the photographer comes to Yemen and I will get to meet him. I will thank him that he has made us known to the world, especially the women of Yemen.”

Her son Zayed added, “When I saw the picture I was really taken back to that day. It makes me happy, but I remember what happened on that day, because the picture explains everything, the love of the mother and the wounded son and what happened on that day in Yemen.

“Of course I will go out to demonstrations because nothing has changed, corruption is still around.”


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