This image has haunted me since it appeared in my newsfeed a few days ago.
It has gone viral, but it appeared in my feed just the once. And once was enough—the image is seared in my mind’s eye and comes forth each time I offer a loving-kindness meditation to the people of Nepal.
But, despite the caption that’s been accompanying it on social media shares, this photo is not of two Nepalese children. It has also been cited as Burmese orphans and victims of Syria’s civil war.
In fact, they are Vietnamese children and the photo was taken in 2007 by Na-Son Nguyen in a village in the mountain area of Hà Giang province. The little boy is consoling his scared sister while their parents go to work in the fields.
It is an emotive image and of course there are questions around ethics if the photo was deliberately mis-credited to arouse a partiular response. (It may have been an accidental assumption.)
But, right or wrong, for me this photo’s association with the Nepalese earthquake has been powerful.
It has been a critical reminder that children in Nepal, just like this pair, are at great risk right now—as are many other children around the world.
The picture helps us to connect with the suffering of children, no matter who they are or what their particular circumstances.
Photo © Na-Son Nguyen