This shocking picture was published on July 31 by Reuters Media Express service. The caption is the following:
“Ali Mohammed al-Tawaari, a six-month-old malnourished boy, cries as he is weighed in a malnutrition intensive care unit in Sanaa, Yemen July 30, 2015.
Born just before the outbreak of Yemen’s devastating war, Ali Mohammed al-Tawaari may well not survive it.
Damaged by a lack of skilled medical care at a critical moment in his early weeks, the six-month-old infant struggles for life in a hospital in the bomb-damaged capital Sanaa.
Ali suffers malnourishment and complications from a botched circumcision performed by an unqualified practitioner.”
While I was watching it and deciding whether to republish it or not, I recalled Susan Sontag’s last book, Regarding the Pain of Others (2003). I’m quoting her:
“Someone who is perennially surprised that depravity exists, who continues to feel disillusioned (even incredulous) when confronted with evidence of what humans are capable of inflicting in the way of gruesome, hands-on cruelties upon other humans, has not reached moral or psychological adulthood.
No one after a certain age has the right to this kind of innocence, of superficiality, to this degree of ignorance, or amnesia.
There now exists a vast repository of images that make it harder to maintain this kind of moral defectiveness. Let the atrocious images haunt us. Even if they are only tokens, and cannot possibly encompass most of the reality to which they refer, they still perform a vital function. The images say: ‘This is what human beings are capable of doing — may volunteer to do, enthusiastically, self- righteously. Don’t forget’.”