Yes … You are the most beautiful of all

By mere coincidence, while I was going through photos that my friends publish through Instagram,  I saw here picture….It was taken by FLAIR MEDIA cameraman and photographer Nabeel, in a refugee camp near Erbil, North of Iraq.

Nabeel, commented on his own photo says ….. Shahlaa , the girl in the picture  suffers of vision deficiency!!! 


She insisted that Nabeel takes a photo of her, and she said to him:  Uncle – the term is used  by children in the middle east , especially in the arab speaking countries to refer to  grown up men –  Uncle am I a beautiful girl …. 

I tried to increase the size of the photo , but with no good result…. so, I commented on the picture and asked Nabeel to send me the original picture that he took…. few minutes later, he sent it …. 

I gazed and gazed at the photo, I looked at it as any professional photographer would do…. Professional photographers would clearly notice details, even the slightest….But, that does not mean at all that , they can conceive all the times, what is beyond the picture itself….       

I looked closely to  her smile…. her facial features…. I saw a magnificent  symmetry of her nose, her perfectly and naturally lined eyebrows, the size of her ear…. Her ear in particular that consisted a steady stand to her braid…. 

The picture made me wonder on the meaning of beauty… the shape of beauty … and the taste of beauty … and how through history the standards varied between different cultures, philosophies, and schools of art…. 

I wondered, those who  speak  of the beauty of the Monalisa… do they really mean the beauty of the lady in the drawing…. or perhaps her mysterious smile that depicted the work of the master Leonardo at that times….

 But, what made me wonder even more of Shahlaa’s smile… is her persistence  that her photo is to be taken… and her innocent smile to the camera…. and mostly her question…Unlce… I am pretty … right? Am I beautiful…

I never asked Nabeel of his reaction…. I never asked him if he bowed to her or not… if it was me I would have bowed and went down on me knees to Shahlaa …. And I thought… Shahlaa did not really ask Nabeel a question… She intact was mocking human attitude in some way…. I am almost sure that she her words were sarcastic… Uncle, you the man with the camera… why haven’t you notice me !!! How could not you notice my presence, my being… How could you ignore me, you who call your self a photographer….

Shahlaa’s  words…. made me even wonder about a very ancient yet modern concept or philosophy… Sight and vision… Looking and seeing…. Who among us, has a more deep and profound perception of sight and vision… If we look and comprehend what we see, Shahlaa would have found herself in need for words to draw our attention , our mere “looking at our surrounding”…. If and when we see and comprehend, not only look…. We would have told Shahlaa  – without her asking- that You my child is the most beautiful of all 


Layth Mushtaq


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