Friday 10 November 2017

A Week in Pictures Middle East and Africa November 10, 2017

Looking directly into the camera with the confidence and beauty of a model, a migrant in Libya demands our immediate attention in Ahmed Jadallah’s striking image. I asked myself, does the red line in the background detract from the picture? For me, no. As soon as I try to look away the red line draws me back into these piercing eyes that seem to hold so many questions.

A migrant arrives at a naval base in Tripoli after he was rescued by Libyan coastal guards off the coast of Libya, November 6, 2017.   REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

A combination of strong, simple shapes, primary colours and the visual surprise of a man’s head popping up from a sea of red make this picture irresistible. Immediately, we want to know what is going on in Khaled Abdullah’s eye-catching picture. Is this man being swallowed by a giant pillow? Why does he have a rifle? And why does he have a picture on a stick poking out of the barrel of his gun? It’s only the caption that saves us from a lifetime of frustration.

A Houthi follower emerges from a gap in a flag as he attends a rally organised to show support for the Palestinians in Sanaa, Yemen, November 6, 2017.   REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

I love pictures that immediately raise questions in our minds. We just want to know what is being said to President Mugabe by his wife Grace in Philimon Bulawayo’s wonderful picture, and at the same time we want to know what he’s thinking. The temptation might be to crop this even tighter to just the lips and eyes but then we’d lose the bright yellows of their matching berets, which would be a shame. There is temptation also to use this picture in a speech and thought bubble caption competition, but that would only cheapen this great image. 

President Robert Mugabe listens to his wife Grace at a rally of his ruling ZANU-PF party in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 8, 2017.   REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

 A tightly shot detail picture can often be one of the most revealing images in a sequence of  images in a visually led story. James Akena’s picture of a father holding a treasured but tiny black and white image of his murdered son is one such case. The young man’s face on this slightly damaged photograph is held up against a clean blue and green background. We look at him and wonder about his short life. It takes a while for us to notice the missing nail on the middle finger of his grieving father: more pain.

South Sudanese refugee Simon Wani holds up a picture of his son who he claims was killed by rebels in South Sudan when he returned in search of food from Palorinya settlement in Moyo district, northern Uganda October 25, 2017.               REUTERS/James Akena

The conflict in Libya is far from the front pages but the struggle for power by different political and militant factions rages on. Esam Omran Al-Fetori’s front line pictures as the Libyan national army battles Islamic Militants are very powerful so I can’t select just one. I will say no more as they speak for themselves. To see more click here.

A military vehicle belonging to the Libyan national Army fires towards the positions of Islamic militants during clashes in Khreibish district in Benghazi, Libya November 9, 2017.   REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori 

Members of the Libyan national Army take position during clashes with Islamic militants in Khreibish district in Benghazi, Libya November 9, 2017.   REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

A member of the Libyan national Army runs during clashes with Islamic militants in Khreibish district in Benghazi, Libya November 9, 2017.   REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

On occasion a spectacle itself is enough to make great pictures. Crowds of worshipers descending to worship at a shrine is one such example. Abdullah Dhiaa al-Deen photographed the commemoration of Arbaeen and went a step further to make one of the most eye-catching pictures of the week. Looking through an archway of red tiles and light, we are drawn into a seemingly endless crowd, for me, with a complete sense of awe. The celebrations are estimated to be twice the size of the Hajj pilgrimage, with 22 million people expected to converge on the holy city of Kerbala.  

Shi’ite pilgrims pray at the Imam al-Abbas shrine during the commemoration of Arbaeen in Kerbala, Iraq, November 9, 2017.  REUTERS/Abdullah Dhiaa al-Deen

 Just published now is Abdullah Dhiaa Al-Deen story on the culmination of hundreds of thousands of Shi’ite Muslims gathering in Kerbala and I just had to add this image. It the exception of the printed picture in the background this could have been from hundreds of years ago, amazing. See the whole story here

 Muslim men beat themselves with their hands September 24, 2017 in mourning for Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed who was killed in a 7th century battle in Kerbala, Iraq.   REUTERS/Abdullah Dhiaa Al-Deen

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