Eman Mohammed is an award-winning photojournalist and Senior TED fellow, currently based in Washington, DC. Eman is a visual artist, born in Saudi Arabia and educated in Gaza City, Palestine where she started her photojournalism career at the age...
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Safia Abo Zour, Gaza War 2011 "Nothing replaces the loss of a son. Not even another son." Safia Abo Zour,25, holds her five-month-old baby ( Mohammed) with one hand and holds with the other the blouse her Older son (Mohammed,4) wore the last time he went to kindergarten. Mohammed had just turned four years old when he got killed during the second war in Gaza in 2011 after an airstrike targeted his family's house in Al Zaitoun neighborhood; Safia named her new baby "Mohammed" after his brother.
Doris Jones, Oklahoma City bombing: “My son-in-law went to identify my daughter’s body. She had long brown hair, but when he saw her, it was dyed red from bleeding. I was in denial. I thought, ‘She isn’t Carrie.’ I never knew that while expecting my first grandchild, I would lose both my daughter and her unborn child.”
Doris Jones was standing next to her daughter Carrie Lenz’s symbolic chair on the site where she was killed 20 years ago during the Oklahoma City terrorist bombing. Carrie was 26 years old and six months pregnant. Oklahoma USA
Ziad Deeb, Gaza War 2008-2009: “I couldn’t hear, see or speak. I just blinked and 12 members of my family were shattered into pieces as if they never existed.” Artist Ziad Deeb, 29, lost all 12 members of his family during an Israeli air raid. The sole survivor, Ziad suffered lost both legs to severe injuries in the bombing.
Islam Qreqe,14 months old, sitting on a burnet motorcycle, where three of her family members were targeted, bombed, and killed by a rocket fired from an Israeli aircraft drone during the war on Gaza in January 2009.
Islam's father, Moataz Qreqe, was riding the motorcycle with his two-year-old son and brother ( Munther Qreqe ) when it was targeted by an Israeli rocket during an airstrike at Jamal Abdul Nasser Street in Gaza City. The bodies were completely scorched.
Four months later, Islam was born and named after her two-year-old brother.
Moemen Faiz, Gaza 2007 "Amputating both of my legs only made my way to achieve my dreams harder and full of obstacles, but it didn't end it. Amputating my heart would, not my legs".
Moemen Faiz, a Palestinian photographer and visual artist sitting next to a wheelchair with his two cameras by him, Moemen lost both of his legs on Eid Al Adha evening during an airstrike in his neighborhood in 2007. Moemen went to Saudi Arabia shortly afterward to seek treatment in the hope of getting artificial limbs. Still, the critical amputation condition didn't qualify him at the time. He continues to work as a photojournalist in his wheelchair.
Mariyam Albur, Gaza War 2008: “My husband wasn’t just a policeman. He is the love of my life. They might have killed him, but he is still my hero.” Lieutenant Mariyam Albur, 34, joined the Palestinian policewomen force after her husband was killed on duty during the Gaza War from 2008 to 2009 while he was on duty. She continues to work as a policewoman in Gaza in the hope of spreading his message.
Saadi Abo Zour, Gaza War 2011: "Samar went to the kitchen to make us tea. She never came back. I'm still waiting for her," Saadi Abo Zour,28, with his son Ehab and daughter Rawan with their mother Abaya in the background. Saadi's wife (Samar,20) was killed in an air strike that targeted her house in the Al Zaitoun neighborhood. Samar suffered a severe head injury before a second air strike targeted the family's house again. Her body was found on the doorstep of the neighbors. Palestine
Olivia Pereze, 9/11: “My dad won’t be here at my graduation or to walk me down the aisle at my wedding or even hold my first child. He won’t be here at any milestone of my life. He was robbed from me and left this gaping hole that I have to mind myself.” Anthony Pereze was on the 103rd floor of the north tower when he was killed in the 9/11 attacks. His daughter Olivia had just turned ten. NYC USA
Moses Brings Plenty, Native American genocide: “The counselor at my school asked us what we want to be when we grow up. I answered, ‘Either a doctor or a firefighter.” He said, ‘You can’t.’ So I asked him ‘Why?’ He answered, ‘Because the Indian is dead. Your people are dead.’” Actor, drummer, and singer Moses Brings Plenty, 43, help the Native American community recover and share its culture with the rest of the world with public speaking engagements and festivals celebrating Native American rituals, dances, stories, and history.
Chris Rinck, Armenian Genocide: “We’re more connected to our history because we’ve watched those who survived to breathe through the pain of losing their loved ones. We’ve been trying to understand this part of us all through life but never talk about it.” Third-generation Armenian Chris Rinck, whose grandparents emigrated to the United States, started collecting stories from cousins who survived or witnessed the Armenian massacre being committed. She is holding onto documented materials in the hope that the genocide will be officially recognized in history and the historical souvenirs of the survivors honored. She holds her great-uncle’s Armenian cross: he was killed for owning it.
Alexander Jack, 9/11: "a woman walked up to me that day, said she was a nurse, then told me ( take off your shirt and pull your pants down) she wrote my social security number all over my body, and it hit me the danger I was in. Alexander Jack,61, a demolition specialist, was 49 on 9/11 when he joined the on-ground firefighters and rescue team to help search for potential survivors; a month later, he went home with significant heart and lung problems, laryngeal spasms, and vocal cord dysfunction. Alexander kept his work helmet covered with dried blood from a survivor he held on his shoulders while rushing him out of the tower's location.
Galena Crouser, Native American genocide: “I grew up feeling robbed. Do you know what it is like to be unable to be who you are? You can’t speak your language or have your color.” Galena Crouser, 40, of the Hunkpapa/Oglala tribe, works as an executive director at the Indian American Center in the Midwest to spread awareness and accurate facts about the Native American genocide in an attempt to connect the public and younger Native American generations with the culture.
Um Haitham Abo Zour, Gaza War 2011: "I saw blood on the floor, but I could only hear a big whistling sound. I saw my daughter-in-law- and couldn't recognize her face. She died while I looked into her eyes trying to know who she was .. " Shahd Abo Zour,3, and her younger brother Mohammed Abo Zour 1.5, sitting with their Grandmother Um Haitham next to her mother's favorite blouse. Sahar abo Zour,20, was killed during the second war in Gaza in 2011 when an airstrike targeted her family's house in the Al Zaitoun neighborhood. Sahar's younger child (Mohammed) was three months old when his mother was killed. She was bleeding heavily after getting injured from a previous airstrike on the same neighborhood and lost her life in the second while she was holding her newborn baby.
Entesar Hamouda, Gaza War 2008: "when you lose your child, you are no longer a mother, you become a brokenhearted woman till infinity, nothing more, much less" Entesar Hamouda,43, sitting next to her Son's photo (Feras Hamouda) and the jacket he last wore before getting killed at the age of two during the first war on Gaza Jan.2009. For 20 years, Entesar's attempts to have a baby failed. After her third miscarriage, she decided it was time to give up and let go of her dream of motherhood. Two months later, she found out she was pregnant with a baby boy. Feras was born in 2006 and killed 25 days after his second birthday.
Samira Balousha, Gaza war 2009: "I kissed my daughters' goodnight and walked away. Minutes later, a missile targeted the mosque next door. My husband yelled hysterically,'‘ They are dead" I asked him, who? He answered,'‘ All of them.
"My five daughters were buried in their beds—all five of them." Samira Balousha, 38, lost five daughters—Jawaher, 5, Dina, 7, Samar, 6, Ikram, 14, and Tahrir, 18—during an Israeli airstrike in 2009. Samira, her husband, and two other daughters survived.
Mohammed Khader, Gaza 2008: "They took all I've twice, first when the Israeli army blew up my house with dynamite and then when they shattered my memories and life removing away the rubble." Mohammed Khader,41, held a photo of his house's ruble before it was removed for safety reasons. Mohammed spent 18 months living under the rubble of his home after it got destroyed during the first war on Gaza in the Ezbet Abed Rabo area of northern Gaza city.
"Broken Souvenirs" is a symbolic archive of portraits showing the long-lasting mental aftermath that war victims and their loved ones experience when "it's all over."
The project is a series of portraits mirroring the missing part of the photo in whatever way the victim's family or survivors choose to show in the picture. In addition to their quotes for the testimonies, the project examines the six degrees of separation theory, where the individuals portrayed are all within six degrees of separation or less from other stories portraits in the project, reflecting the closeness of the effect of war on nations around the world regardless of their race, religion, nationality, color and so on.
One of the main goals of Broken Souvenirs is to bring more attention to the void created by mental anguish and unseen injuries caused by man-made violent life-altering events, such as wars, genocides, and domestic terrorist attacks.
My vision is based on the concept that pain has no nation, expanding from my home in Gaza Strip to the United States to reach 9/11 victims, the Armenian genocide, the Oklahoma bombing, The native American genocide, Afghanistan and Iraq war, and North Korea, Rwandan, the Holocaust and elsewhere. Countries that had experienced wars in the far past or the ones that are still known as war zones.
The idea is to set a reminder to tell the sensitive stories of lost souls, examining the ongoing trauma and agony of violence faced by relatives, loved ones, friends, and survivors regardless of their religion, color, race, or nationality. Highlight the devastating mental injuries and their detrimental impact on our world within six degrees of separation within various nations. Echoing that even when our world is divided by our differences, we are unified by pain as it has no nation.