Not just a couple of days gone, this picture went viral on the internet. A boy covered in blanket curled up between the graves of his parents is the most dramatic picture so far this year, and the chances you haven’t seen it already are quite low.
“A young boy sleeping with his parents…. #Syria” is how this picture was first captioned and published in a twitter account with over 100,000 followers, claiming the picture is from Syria, where the boy is sleeping between the graves of his parents who were presumably killed by Assad’s regime. Shortly after the tweet hundreds of users re-tweeted this picture. This picture got attention of western twitter and Facebook users and was the picture that decorated many walls and profiles.
With this picture gyrating in the internet, how many users have taken the trouble to verify the origin and authenticity of this picture?
The truth behind this picture was unearthed by Harald Doornbos, who interviewed the photographer in his blog. This picture was originally captured in Saudi Arabia, by 25 year old photographer Abdul Aziz al Otaibi, a Saudi national. The little boy sleeping between the graves was none other than his sister’s son, just posing in between two piles of stones, and who did not lose his parents at all but was only taking part in a project of the photographer.
As Abdul Aziz stated, his motive of capturing this picture was to only depict the irreplaceable love of a child for his parents, the love that cannot be substituted by anything or anybody else, even if the parents are dead.
In order to conclude his project he took his sisters’ son with him to the outskirts of Yanbu, where he build two stone graves and requested his sister’s son to lie between the stone graves and cover himself in a blanket.
Abdul Aziz first published the picture in Facebook during the first week of January, which did not receive much response, and he clearly stated that they were not real graves and he was completely against placing a child between real graves. As a precaution to avoid misconceptions, he also posted a picture of his sister’s son smiling between the graves.
When Abdul Aziz confronted the user of the first tweet, his response was shocking, he DM him as “Why don’t you just let go and claim it is a picture from Syria and gain a reward from God. You are exaggerating.”
Subsequently the user removed his tweet. Though the original tweet of the picture is removed the damage it caused is now irreversible.
Abdul Aziz has been reported saying, “I am really very annoyed by this,” he says, “It is just not fair to take one of my photos totally out of context and use it for your own propaganda.”