Miss­ing lens­man

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

OUR PRAYERS are with the fam­ily of South African pho­to­jour­nal­ist Shi­raaz Mo­hamed, who has gone miss­ing in Syria and is feared to have been ab­ducted. We re­ported yes­ter­day that the lens­man was kid­napped near the Gift of the Givers Foun­da­tion’s Al-Hi­lal Hos­pi­tal by peo­ple who claimed to “rep­re­sent all groups in­side Syria”. He was ap­par­ently sin­gled out from the group he was trav­el­ling with and taken away for “ques­tion­ing” re­gard­ing a “mis­un­der­stand­ing”. He has not been seen since. It must be the most heart­break­ing thing for any fam­ily. Jour­nal­ism is one of the most dan­ger­ous oc­cu­pa­tions in the world. And no mat­ter how care­ful we are and how hard we try to stay safe, tragedy is never far off.

A few years ago, an­other South African pho­to­jour­nal­ist, An­ton Ham­merl, also went miss­ing while on as­sign­ment in war-rav­aged Libya in 2011. Mo­hamed’s kid­nap­ping opens old wounds and raises ques­tions about why he was taken away.

Gift of the Givers have been good to the Syrian peo­ple in the past four years, pro­vid­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian sup­port in the war-torn coun­try.

We jour­nal­ists travel the world to get as close as pos­si­ble to the story. Noth­ing can prepare us for this kind of tragedy. We hope that our col­league will be found alive.

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