(Original caption: “Affluent Lebanese drive down the street to look at a destroyed neighbourhood 15 August 15 2006 in southern Beirut, Lebanon.”)
When this photo was chosen as best news picture of the year, I had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it’s not very well framed and unless one is familiar with Lebanon, it could be very confusing as a news image. On the other hand, as someone who lives in Lebanon and experienced part of the war first hand, I was somewhat drawn to it.
In any case, the BBC has a story about the image, explaining who the people in the car are. As it turns out, four of the people in the car are residents of the area and had to flee because of the bombs:
This was the first time they returned to the suburbs and they were eager to check on their apartment and their belongings.
The driver was Jad Maroun, his sister Tamara, is the blond girl sitting in the front, in the winning picture.
…Bissan, Jad’s other sister … was sitting in the back of the car in the winning picture, taking pictures with her mobile phone.
She recorded a short video of their drive. On it you can hear people commenting on their appearance and the girls screaming back: “We live here!”
Although Christians, the Marouns actually live in the dominantly Shia southern suburbs and their apartment block is now surrounded by flattened buildings.
Liliane Nacouzi … is a friend. A Christian, she’s the only one who had never been the area before.
She held a tissue to her face in the winning picture because of the fumes from the fires still burning in the rubble.
Nour Nasser, the only Shia in the group … was hidden behind Liliane in the car. She also lives in the southern suburbs of Beirut.