Following an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, in early August, stunned civilians and journalists scrambled to assist the injured and find the source of the massive blast. One photographer, Bilal Jawich, left his home outside Beirut after the explosion and went searching for the epicenter. An experienced photojournalist, Jawich says “professional intuition” prompted him to investigate Al Roum Hospital, a site close to the explosion.
Making his way through the disaster zone, Jawich captured images that shed a ray of hope: new Life amidst the devastation that killed at least 135 people and injured thousands. The images show a lone nurse holding three vulnerable and defenseless newborns. Jawich told CNN, “I was amazed when I saw the nurse holding three newborns.” He added, “I noticed the nurse’s calm, which contrasted the surrounding atmosphere just one meter away.” Close by the nurse lay several injured people and bodies of people killed in the blast.
Recalling the scene, Jawich described the emotional intensity and panic. He explained, “However, the nurse looked like she possessed a hidden force that gave her self-control and the ability to save those children. People stand out amidst these violent and dark and evil circumstances and this nurse was up to the task.” Later that day, Jawich was able to speak with the nurse, who had been working on the maternity ward when the blast occurred. She, like so many people in the hospital, was injured and knocked unconscious by the explosion. Jawich says when she became aware of her surroundings again she “found herself carrying these three children.”
The explosion damaged an estimated 80 percent of the hospital and 50 percent of the equipment, knocking out much of the electricity and communications. In these harrowing conditions, the nurse in Jawich’s photo worked to secure aid while continuing to cradle the three babies. Her perseverance in the face of such dire circumstances has inspired people around the world in the aftermath of the disaster.
Jawich shared the image on Facebook, writing in the caption, “16 years of press photography and lots of wars. I can say I didn’t see what I saw today in Ashrafia area, especially in front of the Al Roum Hospital.” After the image was posted, people around the world reposted the unforgettable scene. Many described the image as “heartbreaking yet hopeful,” with several writing that they would never forget the image of the nurse protecting the defenseless babies.
As the image circulated online, people wondered about the health and safety of the babies’ mothers. Al Roum Hospital suffered many casualties in the blast, but reports indicate the mothers and babies were reunited and transferred to other hospitals. George Saad, emergency preparedness and disaster manager for the hospital, told CNN immediately following the disaster that 12 patients, two visitors, and four nurses were killed in the explosion. At least another two people were in critical condition.
Despite the abortion industry’s message that new Life is an inconvenience, the birth of babies and the selfless actions they inspire are a perennial source of hope in difficult times. Texas Right to Life has shared many other moving stories of new Life inspiring hope, sacrifice, and courage in the face of tremendous adversity. Whether during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic or following natural disasters in our state, newborn babies are a source of hope.
Often caring for newborn babies in challenging circumstances requires tremendous heroism and sacrifice from the people around them, like the nurse in Jalwich’s photo. That sacrifice and heroism, far from being an inconvenience, is the very best of human nature. When we are moved to defend the most vulnerable, we are all reminded of the preciousness of every human Life. Despite darkness and tragedy, the sanctity of human Life remains and gives the world hope.