Syrian Baby's Photo Inspires People Around the World to Cover One Eye

A global campaign took Twitter by storm in solidarity with baby Karim who lost his eye and mother in a bombing

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Syrians covering one eye with their hands in the rebel-held town of Douma in Syria's besieged eastern Ghouta region, as part of a campaign in solidarity with a baby boy, Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye, as well as his mother, in government shelling on the nearby town of Hammouria. December 19, 2017.
Syrians covering one eye with their hands in the rebel-held town of Douma in Syria's besieged eastern Ghouta region, as part of a campaign in solidarity with a baby boy, Karim Abdallah, Dec. 19, 2017.Credit: HANDOUT/AFP
Reuters
Reuters

An image of a Syrian baby’s striking scar trailing down what used to be his left eye has sparked a global campaign of solidarity, with people around world posting photos on Twitter of themselves covering one eye.

Amer Almohibany, a Syrian freelance photojournalist documenting Syria’s six-year war said he was haunted by a baby named Karim who lost his eye and mother in the bombing of Eastern Ghouta, a besieged rebel enclave near Damascus.

A picture taken on December 24, 2017, shows Syrian baby Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye as well as his mother in government shelling on Ghouta, being pictured inside his family home in the town of Beit Sawa in Syria's besieged eastern Ghouta region.
Syrian baby Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye as well as his mother in government shelling on Ghouta, Syria, December 24, 2017.Credit: AMER ALMOHIBANY/AFP

“His image was permanently etched in my mind,” Almohibany told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

“I was putting my eye on the viewfinder and I was truly crying as I am seeing Karim through my camera ... I knew that his story was not going to pass through like any other.”

The UN says about 400,00 civilians besieged in Eastern Ghouta face “complete catastrophe” because aid deliveries by the Syrian government were blocked and hundreds of people needing urgent medical evacuation were not allowed out.

Almohibany, 28, posted a photo on Twitter last week of himself covering his eye, along with photos of two-month-old Karim with the hashtag #SolidarityWithKarim.

A child poses covering one eye with his hand in the rebel-held town of Douma in Syria's besieged eastern Ghouta region, on December 18, 2017, as part of a campaign in solidarity with a baby boy, Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye, as well as his mother, in government shelling on the nearby town of Hammouria.
A child poses covering one eye with his hand as part of a campaign in solidarity with a baby boy, Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye, in Douma, Syria, on December 18, 2017.Credit: HANDOUT / STR/AFP
Syrians pose covering one eye with their hands in the rebel-held town of Douma in Syria's besieged eastern Ghouta region, on December 18, 2017, as part of a campaign in solidarity with a baby boy, Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye, as well as his mother, in government shelling on the nearby town of Hammouria.
Syrians pose covering one eye with their hands as part of a campaign in solidarity with a baby boy, Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye, on December 18, 2017.Credit: HANDOUT / STR/AFP

The campaign inspired others to respond, including Britain’s United Nations (UN) ambassador Matthew Rycroft who tweeted a photo of himself with one hand over his eye, seated at a UN Security Council meeting.

“When we sit around the #UNSC and warn that inaction will mean more people are going to die. More schools bombed. More children scarred. This is what we mean,” he posted.

“We must see an end to the bombardment.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement this week that, the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta has reached “a critical point”, with limited aid, a frightening food shortage and soaring food prices.

As images of injured, starving or dying children only stay in the news for fleeting moments, Almohibany does not think his picture will trigger real change. But he will keep “showing the truth” of the innocent victims of war, he said.

“I was so happy with people’s interactions,” he said.

“I felt like we are not alone in this trap, someone is listening to me, my voice is not dying.”

children pose covering one eye with their hand in the rebel-held town of Douma in Syria's besieged eastern Ghouta region, on December 18, 2017, as part of a campaign in solidarity with a baby boy, Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye, as well as his mother, in government shelling on the nearby town of Hammouria.
children pose covering one eye with their hand as part of a campaign in solidarity with a baby boy, Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye, in the rebel-held town of Douma in Syria, December 18, 2017.Credit: HANDOUT / STR/AFP
This photo provided on Monday, Dec. 18, 2017 by the Syrian anti-government activist group Ghouta Media Center, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a man in Eastern Ghouta, a rebel-held suburb near the Syrian capital Damascus, covering his left eye in solidarity with Karim, who was injured weeks ago in a government bombing of the market of his hometown. Karim lost his mother and one eye in the bombings and is now becoming the face of a solidarity campaign with Eastern Ghouta, which has been besieged for nearly five years.
Syrian poses covering one eye with his hand as part of a campaign in solidarity with a baby boy, Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye, in Douma, Syria, on December 18, 2017.Credit: Uncredited/AP
Syrian poses covering one eye with his hand as part of a campaign in solidarity with a baby boy, Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye, in Douma, Syria, on December 18, 2017.
Syrian poses covering one eye with his hand as part of a campaign in solidarity with a baby boy, Karim Abdallah, who lost an eye, in Douma, Syria, on December 18, 2017.Credit: Uncredited/AP

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