Thursday, May 05, 2005

That Picture

Mike Yon, the photographer who took the heart-wrenching picture of the soldier carring the dying girl away from an "insurgent" suicide attack in Mosul, has a blog. He writes as well as he shoots.

[Hat tip: Greyhawk]

Here's his description of the scene that took place around that picture:

Major Mark Bieger found this little girl after the car bomb that attacked our guys while kids were crowding around. The soldiers here have been angry and sad for two days. They are angry because the terrorists could just as easily have waited a block or two and attacked the patrol away from the kids. Instead, the suicide bomber drove his car and hit the Stryker when about twenty children were jumping up and down and waving at the soldiers. Major Bieger, I had seen him help rescue some of our guys a week earlier during another big attack, took some of our soldiers and rushed this little girl to our hospital. He wanted her to have American surgeons and not to go to the Iraqi hospital. She didn't make it. I snapped this picture when Major Bieger ran to take her away. He kept stopping to talk with her and hug her.

The soldiers went back to that neighborhood the next day to ask what they could do. The people were very warming and welcomed us into their homes, and many kids were actually running up to say hello and to ask soldiers to shake hands.

Eventually, some insurgents must have realized we were back and started shooting at us. The American soldiers and Iraqi police started engaging the enemy and there was a running gun battle. I saw at least one IP who was shot, but he looked okay and actually smiled at me despite the big bullet hole in his leg. I smiled back.

One thing seems certain; the people in that neighborhood share our feelings about the terrorists. We are going to go back there, and if any terrorists come out, the soldiers hope to find them. Everybody is still very angry that the insurgents attacked us when the kids were around. Their day will come.

Among many fine posts on his site is this one.

"Doctor Viana," I said, "the famous American doctor who studied in London and lived in Paris before coming to live in San Francisco." She didn’t seem to follow me, so I made it simple. "You will be a doctor," I said, "you are very smart."

As I walked away, I wondered where courage is born to dream with such determination while living in a tent without running water tottering on the border between Iraq and Iran.