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Gaza in flames: Meet the brave photographers showing the world

There are very few words to capture the ongoing conflict happening in Gaza, the photos don’t even encapsulate the sheer horror. Still, what the photographers on the ground there enable is for the world to see the human rights atrocities taking place. They spread awareness of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so that hopefully a resolution can be reached and humanitarian aid can be given.

The conflict is far more complex than one article can explain. Essays, books, and entire series have been written on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Still, we can all admit that what we are seeing is truly horrific and demoralizing on a human level.

The pictures and videos we see are due to the bravery of the photographers on the ground covering the conflict in Gaza. Without them, much more of the world would be silent. We pray for the people in this war-torn area. And we highlighted the photographers risking it all below.

Trigger Warning: Some of the images below are extremely distressing. Still, these instances are still occurring today. Who are we as members of the human race to turn away?

Mohammed Abed

Mohammed Abed is a Palestinian photojournalist. He studied journalism at the Islamic University in Gaza, worked for Reuters from 1991-2001, and has been associated with AFP since 2003.

Being a Palestinian photojournalist, Abed has innate ties to the area. And he captures his photos of the Gaza conflict with poise and purpose.

Family mourning, children injured, homes destroyed and people crying out for help. Once again, these photos in Gaza are extremely distressing, but the world needs to see them.

And for Abed and all other photojournalists at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they won’t seek praise, but we must commend their work in exposing the world to these brutal human rights violations.

Khalil Hamra

Khalil Hamra is an Arab photojournalist and AP photographer. He won the Pulitzer Prize and was recognized by the Overseas Press Club of America with its Robert Capa Gold Medal for the series covering the war in Gaza 2009.

Given his extensive time covering the area, Hamra has an intrinsic feel for taking photos of the Gaza conflict.

Still, from what I can gather, Hamra does not make his personal feelings known. He just reports.

While impartiality is always strived for in journalism, of course that does not make that feat easy or always feasible. But Hamra showcasing the horror in Gaza without personal comment allows viewers to draw their own conclusions, which possibly has the chance to affect even greater change.

Mahmud Hams

Hams is an AFP photographer stationed in Gaza. He has been showcasing the irreversible destruction the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has wrecked in Gaza.

As are most photos in this harrowing chapter, many of Hams’ photographs are hard to stomach. Wounded children, parents praying and crying. Pure humanity on display in the most dire of times.

Though as a photographer, it is his job to capture the truth, and then viewers’ jobs to make judgements from there. Many of the photos have done just that for people, recognizing that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not so much a battle between two equal sides, but a conflict emerging from increasing apartheid tendencies by the Israeli government for over half a century.

But Hams does more than just capture destruction; he captures resolve. And by capturing the entirety of situations and keeping his eyes and mind ready to learn more, he fulfills his role as an essential photojournalist.

Anas Baba

Anas Baba is another prominent AFP photographer. Like her peers, she has taken photographs at the heart of the Gaza conflict.

One of her photos of Israel’s defense system in action against Hamas’ rockets went viral, and for good reason. It showed a scale to the entire conflict that many people internationally did not yet know.

Belal Khaled

Khaled is a Palestinian photographer and works as a senior videographer for TRT Arabi, an Arabic language channel for Turkey and the Middle East.

He captions one of his collection of posts on Twitter as:

In Gaza , we creat [sic] art from the middle of the death.

Belal Khaled

Kahled has an artistic eye, and an innate understanding of how to authentically capture a moment. His photos teem with honesty. They scream the culture that they present.

Use photos and historical text to educate yourself on the conflict in Gaza

Ultimately, we can only all draw our own conclusions. We must educate ourselves beyond what we see on social media. We must read historical texts, smart, honest current news articles, and analyze photographs like those captured by the aforementioned photographers.

What everyone should be able to agree on is that Palestinians are in danger, even if a ceasefire has been reached. The world needs to send humanitarian aid and work towards a long-term solution, because the situation is dire right now and has been for quite some time.

Sometimes prose is not enough to explain the horror and sadness on display. Poetry often has a greater chance at speaking to people. With that said, follow below for an honest reflection of how the youth feels.

Poem by Chloé Sautereau

the youth will only ever be young once
to grow up and pursue what they dream to do
they are not responsible for precedent
and yet they are the ones to live through what ensues

wanting to help,
they are those made helpless
hoping to grow,
today, for them, the sun won’t glow
obscured by the fire, the pain, the hatred,
by the things we were taught were not to be perpetuated

while they are the richest
when it comes to perspective and depth
while they are the wisest
in knowing/drawing the line between love and theft
it is in smoke that they must witness their future dissolving
though it is these children that should be reaching for the stars, dreaming