We published inaccurate photo for Sabra and Shatila massacre anniversary

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In September we published the following photograph in a post on the 29th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre. Seham stuck the foto in the way we all do, by searching images on line and grabbing the first dramatic color photograph.

Sabra and Shatila
Sabra and Shatila

Steve Russi writes:

I have been researching the Sabra and Shatila massacre and I came across a post on Mondoweiss dated September 16, 2011.The post showcases a tragic and compelling photograph of an anguished woman kneeling over her dead children.  However, the photograph has nothing to do with the horrific event.  I also see that the error is repeated with a post to GlobalVoices crediting Mondoweiss for the photograph as it highlights the killings of the toddlers.
With an emotionally charged subject matter, it can be remarkably difficult to distinguish fact from deception, and even harder to establish and maintain credibility.  I don’t know what your editorial policies are, nor do I have any idea whether Seham was aware of the inaccuracy, or if she simply repeated an earlier deception (as did the poster to GlobalVoices).  Nonetheless, I thought I would bring this to your attention — I believe you have a challenging mission, and I believe errors of this nature have the potential to undermine your efforts.
The information regarding the photograph in question is set forth below and can be accessed at in their 1983 photo archive.
  • Year 1983 
  • Photographer Mustafa Bozdemir 
  • Nationality Turkey 
  • Organization / Publication Hürriyet Gazetesi 
  • Category World Press Photo of the Year 
  • Prize World Press Photo of the Year 
  • Date 30-10-1983 
  • Country Turkey 
  • Place Koyunoren 
  • Caption Kezban Özer (37) finds her five children buried alive after a devastating earthquake. At five o’clock in the morning she and her husband were milking the cows as their children slept. A few minutes later, 147 villages in the region were destroyed by an earthquake of magnitude 7.1 on the Richter scale; 1,336 people died. 

We are thankful to Russi and regret our error and any pain that it may have caused Turkish survivors of the ’83 earthquake.

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Nobody died in Sabra and Shatila. Israel had nothing to do with it.,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1599&bih=904&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=vXfvTrDFEqj30gH9veG2CQ

When you google Sabra and Shatilla^^

Steve Russi, if you would say what’s the nature or the orientation of your research, perhaps some qualified people here would be happy to give you a hand. You didn’t need 4 months to determine that Seham’s photo was wrong; none of the children showed signs of having been butchered. You’d be interested in Robert Fisk’s testimony for your research as he was there: “… But these people, hundreds of them had been shot down… Read more »

Steve Russi, if you want accurate pictures with all the blood, Haitham Sabbah posted a few on his blog and you can view them at: I hope those pictures posted by H. Sabbah will make up for the innocent mistake by Seham. Dr Franklin Lamb and his wife Janet Stevens were also there. Lamb wrote at length about the horrors committed by Lebanese criminals that were helped by the Israelis. About photos, Lamb wrote:… Read more »

Seham and Phil — apologize also to anyone misled or upset by the photo you DID show, and then show a bunch of correct (and worse) ones, as Cliff suggests.