Photo of the Week: Nurse Helwa records a baby’s weight

Photo credit: Scott Lewis
Date taken: Unknown, but during the Second Intifada
Location: Birzeit, West Bank, Palestine

Helwa Farah, a pediatric nurse working at the Birzeit Women’s Charitable Society, weighs two-month-old Shams Abu Qash. The society is home to a clinic serving women and children.

The photograph is beautifully composed except that it isn’t staged. The light flooding the room centers on Nurse Helwa, running through her thin hair, illuminating her shoulders, and framing her white coat. To her right is a small finjan of coffee, probably Turkish. In the foreground, the smooth-skinned baby rests calmly on its basin. In contrast is a rough wall, marked with paint flaking and concrete cracking.

This scene in so many ways illustrates the dream of a free life we Palestinians imagine: light, airy, comfortable, and overwhelmingly calm despite the cracks and flakes of decades of occupation.


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