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‘Dead Palestinian Children’ Wins 2012 World Press Photo Prize

In 2011, a World Press Photo exhibit in Beirut closed early after Lebanese authorities ordered the removal of an Israeli photographer’s prize-winning work.
'Dead Palestinian Children' by Paul Hansen.

'Dead Palestinian Children' by Paul Hansen.
Photo Credit: World Press Photo

The international jury of the 56th annual World Press Photo Contest has selected a picture by Paul Hansen of the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter as the World Press Photo of the Year 2012. The picture shows a group of men carrying the bodies of two dead children through a street in Gaza City. They are being taken to a mosque for the burial ceremony while their father’s body is carried behind on a stretcher. Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and his older brother Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike. Their mother was put in intensive care. The picture was made on 20 November 2012 in Gaza City.

World Press Photo is an independent, non-profit organization based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Founded in 1955, the organization is known for holding the world’s largest and most prestigious annual press photography contest.

After the contest, the prizewinning photographs are assembled into a traveling exhibition that is visited by more than a million people in 40 countries.

Back in May of 2011, a World Press Photo exhibit in Beirut closed early after Lebanese authorities ordered the removal of an Israeli photographer’s prize-winning work. The Lebanese General Security Directorate ordered the organizers to remove the work of Amit Shaal because he is Israeli. Erik de Kruijf, a World Press project manager, said the organization preferred to close the exhibit 10 days early rather than face censorship.

In addition to selecting the World Press Photo of the Year, the contest determines winners in the following categories: Spot News, General News, People in the News, Sports Action, Sports Features, Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, Portraits, Arts and Entertainment, and Nature.

The award jury gave prizes in nine themed categories to 54 photographers of 32 nationalities from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Malaysia, Palestinian Territories, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA, and Vietnam.

The members of the jury announced the winners at a press conference held at the World Press Photo office in Amsterdam on 15 February.

Mayu Mohanna, jury member from Peru, said of Paul Hansen’s winning picture: “The strength of the pictures lies in the way it contrasts the anger and sorrow of the adults with the innocence of the children. It’s a picture I will not forget.”

Santiago Lyon, vice president and director of photography at The Associated Press, spoke of the selection of prize winners: “When I look at the results, as chair of the jury, I think that the World Press Photo of the Year, and all the other photos that were given prizes, were solid, stellar examples of first-rate photojournalism that is powerful, that is lasting, and that will reach whoever looks at them.”

The judging was conducted at the World Press Photo office in Amsterdam. All entries were anonymously presented to the jury, who discussed their merits over a two-week period. The jury operates independently and a secretary without voting rights safeguards the fairness of the procedure. The contest drew entries from professional press photographers, photojournalists and documentary photographers across the world. By the mid-January deadline, 103,481 images had been submitted by 5,666 photographers from 124 countries.

Paul Hansen is a photojournalist based in Stockholm, Sweden. As a staff photographer for the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, his assignments and self-initiated projects take him all over the world. He has covered Haiti, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and made more than a few visits to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He was awarded the title “Photographer of the Year” six times in Sweden and the POY 2010 “Newspaper Photographer of the year.”

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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25 Responses to “‘Dead Palestinian Children’ Wins 2012 World Press Photo Prize”

  1. Rosalie Laughton says:

    Mayu Mohanna, jury member from Peru, said of Paul Hansen’s winning picture: “The strength of the pictures lies in the way it contrasts the anger and sorrow of the adults with the innocence of the children. It’s a picture I will not forget."
    It is a tragedy when anyone is killed. Were the anger and sorrow of the adults caused by the callousness of Hamas, who uses its own civilians as human shields?

  2. Julian Kaye says:

    Choosing the picture out of context is what makes it anti zionist.

  3. In what "context" are dead children not shocking and memorable?

  4. This is what happens when Israel withdraws from Palestinian areas, and the area makes war on Israel.

  5. Julian Kaye says:

    Pictures of dead children are indeed sickeningly shocking, that is not what I am referring to, when presented out of context, portraying Jews who are defending their country as child murderers is also sickeningly shocking.

  6. Julian Kaye says:

    Pictures of dead children are indeed sickeningly shocking, that is not what I am referring to, when presented out of context, portraying Jews who are defending their country as child murderers is also sickeningly shocking.

  7. Alan Winters says:

    probably a staged phony photo these arabs usually use.

  8. Keith David Reitman says:

    I agree…WELL SAID!

  9. Sarah Rivkin says:

    How about a photo of the Arabs celebrating their dead young "martyrs" who have blown themselves and others up to smithereens of smoldering flesh where there are no whole bodies left to parade before the media.

  10. I'm sure the photographer just happened to be standing there and had nothing to do with the staging.

  11. I'm sure the photographer just happened to be standing there and had nothing to do with the staging.

  12. Mark L. Shane says:

    if the photo was of Israeli children murdered, their faces would be happy and pass out candies please….. These hamastan animals who claim to love death more than life have their resultant wish but are showing sadness and remorse-Do they pose here too? tSo if it is true and they are sad…. sadness is a contradiction and the anger flies. When you hide behind children why be surprised, or sad about their deaths. What do little chidren do in porn heaven?

  13. Mark L. Shane says:

    if the photo was of Israeli children murdered, their faces would be happy and pass out candies please….. These hamastan animals who claim to love death more than life have their resultant wish but are showing sadness and remorse-Do they pose here too? tSo if it is true and they are sad…. sadness is a contradiction and the anger flies. When you hide behind children why be surprised, or sad about their deaths. What do little chidren do in porn heaven?

  14. Ilana Leeds says:

    This posed photo of sick clowns carrying the innocent dead is a disgrace. I would not want an award from such a ridiculously anti semitic organisation that cannot allow an Israeli photographer's work be shown in an exhibition.
    What about the photographs of israeli children and adults coping with life after one of the homcidal suicide bombers have injured them, parents who have had to bury their children, children who buried parents or grandparents and siblings. This photo is just a crock of melodramatic posed crap.

  15. Alyssa Rubenstein says:

    Not surprising this would come from two anti-Semite enclaves, namely Holland and Sweden!

  16. Ethan Perks says:

    I have no doubt that if the children had been Israeli, this photo would would be forgotten.

  17. Ethan Perks says:

    Michael D Blum; The context that Israel never celebrates the deaths of Palestinian children. On the other hand the Palestinians as well as other Arabs make heros of killers of Israeli and Jewish children. They get streets named after them and Al'Jazeera throws them birthday parties!

  18. Angela Wine says:

    Quoting others' excellent comments "Were the anger and sorrow of the adults caused by the callousness of Hamas, who uses its own civilians as human shields?"
    "Choosing the picture out of context is what makes it anti zionist".
    "Pictures of dead children are indeed sickeningly shocking, that is not what I am referring to, when presented out of context, portraying Jews who are defending their country as child murderers is also sickeningly shocking".
    "How about a photo of the Arabs celebrating their dead young "martyrs" who have blown themselves and others up to smithereens of smoldering flesh where there are no whole bodies left to parade before the media.
    "This posed photo of sick clowns carrying the innocent dead is a disgrace. I would not want an award from such a ridiculously anti semitic organisation that cannot allow an Israeli photographer's work be shown in an exhibition. "
    "What about the photographs of israeli children and adults coping with life after one of the homcidal suicide bombers have injured them, parents who have had to bury their children, children who buried parents or grandparents and siblings. This photo is just a crock of melodramatic posed crap".
    AND SO ON.

  19. Stupid photo of racist terrorist arab muslims carrying fake dolls. Even if the dead children were real, the blame goes to these savages who use children and innocents as human shields. These racist ingrates deserve everything they get and more. Maybe one day they will become civilized.

  20. how about some pictures of the arabs celebrating the scum arab murderers of israeli children, even supporting the throat slashings of the 3-month old fogel baby in the crib and the fogel toddler along with the rest of the fogel family. amsterdam, where they're high on the drugs they love so much and so often.

  21. How about their own parents throwing them into harm's way?
    Their terrorists using them as human shields?
    Photographers staging grief for maximum effect pretending that it is news then photoshoping it to increase the dramatic effect even further?
    Politically motivated, politically correct organizations giving them prizes to gain political favours and demonstrate correctness?

  22. Rembrandt's "Night watch" looks a little more spontaneous.

  23. I'm sure that Israel could produce many photos like this.

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