Tightrope Walking

Loss is loss – Pain has no Nation


Nothing replaces the loss of a son, not even another son. Those are the haunting words of Safia Abo Zour, a Palestinian woman whose four-year-old died in a 2011 airstrike in Gaza. In a portrait by photojournalist Eman Mohammed, Safia Abo Zour has one hand wrapped around her five-month-old; in her other hand, she holds the sweater that her older son wore the last time he went to kindergarten.

Eman Mohammed’s current work focuses on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It’s never especially chipper, but her newest project, iWar, is particularly grim. The collection, Eman Mohammed’s first set of portraits, forces you to confront the Gaza wars through the eyes of the survivors, away from the carnage, in deliberate black-and-white interiors, stark and quiet. Each photo features a person who lost someone in the wars, posed with an abandoned relic to show their absence. In a way, the domesticity of everyday life is more unnerving than the violence.



iWar is a work in progress, to be completed in summer 2015. Eman Mohammed will next turn her focus to survivors of the September 11th attack in New York, and then to Holocaust survivors. Though these may be unexpected subjects for a Palestinian Muslim, says Eman Mohammed, she believes pain makes for the strongest connection between people. She says, Pain has no nation. The violence keeps going in a circle. That should be enough to stop future manmade disasters.

Compilation from TED Magazine written by Thu-Huong Ha.

Thomas Büsch

Filmmaker, Founding Member and Secretary General of diyalog, promotion of cultural exchange with Turkey. Since 2012 he is also project manager of InEnArt.

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