Global Lens Reflections on life, the universe, and everything

Daddy’s picture

Farah Faris, who is 20 months old, looks at a photo of her dead father on a cell phone belonging to her mother, Rana Ramzi. The girl's father was killed February 29, 2008, in Mosul, Iraq, while working as a driver and assistant to the Chaldean archbishop of Mosul, Archbishop Faraj Rahho, who was later found dead. Rana Ramzi and her three children fled Iraq in May and live as refugees in Lebanon. They have received assistance from the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center. The family is hoping to resettle in coming months in the United States.

There's nothing particularly dramatic about this image, but it was an emotional moment for me as a photographer. I was in Beirut in 2008, as part of an assignment in Lebanon and Syria documenting the lives of Iraqi refugees. I was with a translator from the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center, visiting some refugee families in their apartments. We went to visit Rana Ramzi, whose husband Faris was killed earlier in the year in Mosul while working as a driver and assistant to the Chaldean archbishop of Mosul, Archbishop Faraj Rahho, who was kidnaped and later found dead. Rana and her three children and her mother fled Iraq shortly after that for Lebanon. When we got to the apartment, Rana's mother answered the door and let us in. We spent what seemed like a long time talking with her, waiting for Rana to come out of a back room. When she finally did, she had her 20-month old daughter Farah with her. Rana seemed disraught, and apologized for leaving us waiting. Her daughter kept wanting to play with her mom's cell phone. Rana finally explained to us that when her daughter had heard my voice in the next room, she had asked her, "Daddy?" Rana explained to her, once again, that daddy wasn't there. Farah settled for the next best thing, which was to excitedly look at a photo of her father on her mother's cell phone.

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