Letter: Hidden stories behind Somalia's suffering

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your front page (3 September) carried a moving photograph of an emaciated little Somali boy being washed by (presumably) his mother. A picture may well be worth a thousand words but in this case, as so often in press and television, it is reduced by the anonymity of those featured. They become as a result just walk-on extras in a drama being acted out before us or, worse, merely objects of pity.

The little boy and his mother have names and their own story to tell. They were not always as we see them now. While appreciating the difficulties that photographers and reporters may be working under, it is surely crucial that the humanity and individuality of those featured in this way are recognised. Even better would be to read or hear a few words from them.

Yours faithfully,


Little Bookham, Surrey

3 September