Been looking at this pic from 1976 a lot this week as its photographer, Sam Nzima, passed away. This afternoon this image from Gaza (by AFP photographer Mahmud Hams) was all over my timeline. FFS, humanity. pic.twitter.com/S8minNQNMP— lisa van wyk (@swimlittlefish) May 14, 2018
Legendary South African photographer Sam Nzima, who captured the photo of a black student carrying a younger, fatally wounded student in his arms during the historic 1976 uprising against apartheid, died at the age of 83 in a hospital in Nelspruit.
The iconic photo, which resonated across the world and has been credited for encouraging the fight against the racial discrimination system previously followed in South Africa, showed 16-year-old Mbuyisa Makhubu picking up the dying 13-year-old Hector Pieterson in his arms while attempting to get away from the gunfire of the law enforcement agencies during the Soweto Youth Uprising. Pieterson’s sister was also seen next to the boys, her face painted in horror and anguish.
It was a galvanizing photo that, unfortunately, continues to draw comparison with similar brutality being carried halfway across the world.
Israeli forces have killed over 50 Palestinians and wounded thousands in what is being called the deadliest day in Gaza since the 2014 war – and the images of the inhumane massacre have a chilling resemblance to Nzima’s work.
Left: Soweto, June 1976, pic Sam Nzima— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) May 14, 2018
Right: Gaza, May 2018, pic Mahmud Hams pic.twitter.com/pgIcW31eiO
The violence came after Palestinians protested the United States opening its embassy in Jerusalem, recognizing it as Israel’s capital. As the photos from the protest and the subsequent slaughter show, the protesters were mostly unarmed – but when has that ever stopped Israeli troops from using live ammunition against civilians?
The photo from Gaza that sparked contrast with the 1976 has been taken by AFP photographer Mahmud Hams and showed a distraught Palestinian protester carrying an injured protester as the smoke billowed in the background.
The Palestinians are fighting an apartheid regime established by Israel that subjugates and terrorizes them – just like what was happening in South Africa until 1994.
According to a United Nations report, Palestinians living in East Jerusalem experience "discrimination in access to education, healthcare, employment, residency and building rights." In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinians are governed by "military law" — even as Jewish settlers living in the same locations are "governed by Israeli civil law."
In a 2010 interview with the BBC, Nzima explained how he rushed when he saw the child fall down.
“I didn't know who it was. I saw a child falling down,” he said. “I rushed there with my camera. And I saw another young man pick him up and as soon as he had picked him up, I started shooting the pictures. It was a very high risk because this picture was taken under a shower of bullets.”
More than 100 Palestinians have lost their lives while fighting for their rights since the Great March of Return protests began at the end of March.