Correspondent in Rome
The photo became famous throughout the world and became a symbol of the war in Syria. Father Munzir Al-Nazzal, 35, mutilated, without his right leg, he raises his son, Mustafa, who was born without limbs, in his arms towards the sky. “When you’re older your legs and arms will grow,” the father told Mustafa, because it’s easy for a child to make him dream and tell him a story with a happy ending. That photo of the Turkish Mehmet Aslam, which captured a moment of joy, the exchange of smiles between a father and a son, even though their lives were marked by war and exile, won the Siena International Photo Awards.
The organizers of the award launched an appeal on the ‘gofundme’ platform to raise funds.
While, the Italian embassy in Ankara and the UN High Commissioner for the refugees were mobilized, with the aim of locating the family and starting the reception program in Italy. In the end, little Mustafa’s dream has come true. On Friday afternoon, the family arrived at Rome’s Fiumicino airport from Istanbul.
In 2014, Munzir was in the market in Idlib, when a bomb dropped by the regime’s planes exploded. President Assad. Muznir was seriously injured and lost a leg. Three years later, his wife Zeynep, who was pregnant with Mustafa, suffered a aerial attack with chemical bombs when he was with relatives in Khan Shaykhun. Later, the couple was forced to flee to the Bab Al Hawa refugee camp, on the Syrian-Turkish border. “The doctors explained to us that it was very likely that the malformation was due to sarin gas. We know of four other girls born without arms and without legs,” Munzir Al-Nazzal said.
For the last three years, the couple together with Mustafa, 5 years old, and two other daughters, 2 and 4 years old, lived in a small rented house in Turkey, on the border with Syria, with the subsidy of the Red Crescent ( the Turkish Red Cross). “That money is barely enough for milk and diapers. There are days we don’t eat. I am a cripple and no one offers me a job. Mustafa needs surgery and electronic prosthetics. The NGOs take photos of us and then they leave saying that they will help us, but it is not true,” Munzir lamented recently in an interview with the newspaper ‘La Repubblica’. But the photo of the Turkish Mehmet Aslam made the difference and has marked his destiny. The image of the smile of the father and little Mustafa, who for an instant cancel the difficulties of their lives and the horror of the war, aroused a wave of shock. The photo was published in major newspapers around the world.
“For the father and his son there is now hope of returning to a new life,” he said. Luigi De Mossi, the Mayor of Siena who co-sponsors the Siena International Photo Awards. The family will spend the first days in that Tuscan city, guests of Caritas, during the time necessary for quarantine and clinical examinations. They will then move to Budrio Vigorso Prosthesis Center, in the province of Bologna, a structure of the Italian Social Security, in which the most modern orthopedic techniques are found, to complete the reintegration of the person in the world of work, in the family and in society.
“For the upper limbs, the path is a little simpler than the lower limb prosthesis, where there is a total absence of joints from the pelvis downwards”, explained Giorgio Teti, director of the technical area of the Budrio, explaining that the path rehabilitation will take 60 days for the child, while the father is expected to take 30 days. For its part, Luca Venturi, fundador of the Siena International Photo Awards He explained that “so far more than 100,000 euros have been raised, but it is important to understand that this amount is nothing compared to what it will take for the child to grow with new limbs.”