Lion Heart -- A Photo Essay
April 22, 2005 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Lion Heart is the nickname given to Saleh Khalaf, a nine year old boy maimed by an explosion in Iraq. Deanne Fitzmaurice's photo essay about his ongoing recovery won the 2005 Pultizer Prize for Feature Photography.
posted by McGuillicuddy (19 comments total)
[this made me cry happy]
posted by PissOnYourParade at 10:55 AM on April 22, 2005

posted by Gyan at 10:56 AM on April 22, 2005

Oh wow. Awesome, awesome, awesome work here.
posted by Tuwa at 11:00 AM on April 22, 2005

Incredible how much is captured in just 20 images.

Thanks, McGuillicuddy.
posted by vacapinta at 11:09 AM on April 22, 2005

That's amazing.
posted by psychotic_venom at 11:19 AM on April 22, 2005

*blows nose and hopes no one walks past desk for a few minutes*

Man. That completely undid me.
Thanks for the post. Truly incredible work.
posted by Specklet at 11:20 AM on April 22, 2005

posted by gnutron at 11:32 AM on April 22, 2005

(What Specklet said.)
posted by blendor at 11:52 AM on April 22, 2005

Easy to see why it won.

Incredible photos. The pic with Saleh and his new friends... man.

Anyone know of an in depth story on this?
posted by BobFrapples at 11:52 AM on April 22, 2005

Bob: here is the San Francisco Chronicle coverage.
posted by Nahum Tate at 12:00 PM on April 22, 2005

BobFrapples, the SF Chronicle story is here: Operation Lion Heart.
posted by mogget at 12:01 PM on April 22, 2005

Double sniffle!
posted by ramix at 12:26 PM on April 22, 2005

I found one of the first pictures of this boy in the pages of a Time magazine. He was laying on a bed, with his body all injured and I could not help but to weep. I kept those pages of the magazine with me for a long time to pray for this boy. I am glad that he is recovering.
posted by dov3 at 12:30 PM on April 22, 2005

posted by kavasa at 5:42 PM on April 22, 2005

I'm probably in a bad mood - but don't forget how he came to be injured. I'm likewise glad that he's recovering, but this story is utter spin: "Child, one of many, maimed by American bomb" turned into "America is gloriously generous to one poster child maimed by bomb that just happened to be lying around".
posted by raygirvan at 6:37 PM on April 22, 2005

I'm with raygirvan,

Though usually upbeat, Saleh was sensitive about his appearance. One afternoon, when he saw other children staring at him, Saleh became angry and upset. Nurses sought to soothe him by taping a felt tip pen to this arm so he could draw pictures. Saleh drew an airplane dropping bombs.

That, friends and compatriots, was a bomb funded with our tax dollars, flown by a servant of our elected government.

I know pretty much everyone here was against this war, this isnt meant as "sheesh guys didnt you know war was bad" invective, but jeez people don't fall for the spin. Its like they've Disneyfied the suffering, and its gross and sickening.
posted by BadSeamus at 9:46 PM on April 22, 2005

There is spin in these photos and the articles, but I think it goes both ways. Neither the San Francisco Chronicle nor the journalists and photographer are likely proponents of unilateral preemptive war. Thankfully, there are soldiers and Americans that make us proud in this story, but I can't imagine seeing this story as propaganda. Rather it delivers a glimpse at victims of war and their recovery.

When I finally saw Saleh with a beaming smile running toward his mother, I recognized some basic truths about human suffering and capacity for healing. There are images of what it means to be a soldier, a doctor, an American, and an Iraqi. But mostly the images speak to me about what it means to be human in the present mixed-up world where America represents the world's Great Devil and occasional saviour.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 7:31 AM on April 23, 2005

Spin all they want, the kid is tough and the family has a long road ahead of them. I hope it has lots of joy and the kid goes to college, etc. etc.

The story is the kid.

Thanks for the post. This is very humbling.
posted by fluffycreature at 8:06 AM on April 23, 2005

I must point out that as good as the photos are, the story by the ever-wonderful Meredith May is as moving as a story can be.
posted by cccorlew at 9:12 AM on April 23, 2005

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