Photo Of The Day

Photo: Tyler Hicks, The New York Times – September 23, 2013 A woman tried to shelter children from gunfire by Somali militants at the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in an attack that killed more than 70 people. Tyler Hicks made this photo from a floor above, in an exposed area where the police feared for his safety.

Photo: Tyler Hicks, The New York Times – September 23, 2013
A woman tries to shelter her children from gunfire by Somali militants at the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in an attack that killed more than 70 people. Tyler Hicks made this photo from a floor above, in an exposed area where the police feared for his safety.

Attack at Westgate Mall

On 21 September, masked gunmen opened fire at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall.

Plainclothes officers rushed into the mall and Hicks accompanied them, knowing that many terrorists remained inside and fearing not only guns but explosives around every corner.

The upmarket mall was popular among expats and the Kenyan elite. In a siege that lasted four days, at least 60 people died and up to 200 were injured. The four main perpetrators of the attack were killed, and a number of other men were later tried as accomplices. The four gunmen were all of Somali origin. The Somali jihadist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was a warning to Kenya to pull its troops out of Somalia, where they were part of an African Union peacekeeping force in conflict with the militants.

On how Hicks ended up taking the photo of the woman sheltering her children

It’s a very exposed vantage point so I didn’t spend a lot of time there. But I looked down and saw this incredible scene of a young woman with two children hiding on the floor of a cafe. You could see shell casings all around them from bullets and they were just petrified, they were completely still and … to me, that photograph really sums up what happened there. Outside of the frame, all around them and on the floor of this mall were bodies, a man next to an ATM … a woman still holding a shopping bag who had been killed, and they somehow managed to avoid that.

On how the woman kept her kids quiet for five hours throughout the attack

The music that plays in the shopping mall — just kind of this tranquil music — was still playing throughout this whole thing, so amidst the gunfire and all the action that was happening; you had this kind of mall music that played throughout the entire attack. She actually was singing along with those songs to her children to keep them calm and quiet — especially the young boy who she said rarely can sit still for five minutes and she had to keep him calm and quiet for five hours.

Tyler Hicks travels the world. He has seen sights, and undergone experiences, that none of us could ever comprehend.

He has recorded them — in all their brutality and gruesomeness — for all the world to see. The thing about war photography, and the thing about combat, is in a still image when you strip away everything, when you take away all the sound and explosions, and bullets, and the adrenaline, and the personal experience of being there, sometimes you’re left with something very different. When I look at these pictures later, and I do look at these pictures a lot…I remind myself. I think I owe it to myself and to these people to always remember this. Sometimes people say, ‘you should try to compartmentalize things and try to put this behind you.’ And I say “No, that would be disrespectful.

It’s a terrible — and terribly important — business.

Full Story: http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2014/04/24/306437432/tyler-hicks-tells-the-story-behind-his-pulitzer-winning-nairobi-mall-photos?ft=1&f=1008


Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

33%