One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words II: Moments before the Wild Grief

When I saw the footage from Ramattan that PATV ran at PMW for my analysis, I noticed that Houda can be seen in the footage, standing quietly looking at the evacuation of what is presumably her dead family. Only after the last body has been removed does she then enter her wild grief and run erratically in the direction of the body near the sand dunes. Here is the photo of her just before her iconic moment.

houda before grief

Now I will grant that she may be in shock in this picture and then something snaps. That’s a possibility. I think that when you view the entire footage of her performance, however, the camera’s attention plays a greater role in her movements than the internal dynamics of overwhelming grief according to this more generous but naïve hypothesis. This latter, “spontaneous grief” hypothesis cannot explain how, before we see her here, she has already had the presence of mind to ask the cameraman to asked him at the site of the tragedy to photograph her mourning over her dead father, “to show the world Israeli crimes.

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