Not only winning international awards, the iconic picture of Munzir El Nezzel playfully lifting his son, Mustafa, who was born without limbs, has also given the family the opportunity to build a new life in Italy after becoming a poignant symbol of the suffering of the war in Syria.
The shocking yet touching image taken by Turkish photographer Mehmet Aslan, titled Hardship of Life, captured an intimate moment of affection between a father and son, who have both lost limbs.
The photo, which was named photo of the year at last year’s Siena International Photo Awards (SIPA) has prompted a fundraiser that has raised around 100,000 euros ($114,000) to provide prosthetic limbs for both father and son.
Mustafa, six years old, lost his limbs due to a congenital deformity caused by medications that his mother took during pregnancy after being sickened by nerve gas. While his father, 35, had his leg amputated after being hit by a bomb attack in Syria.
The organizers of the photography festival have assigned the Catholic diocese to handle paperwork, provide financial support and seek visas on humanitarian grounds in accordance with the Italian sponsorship requirements for the family.
Mustafa landed at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport on Friday, along with his father, mother and two sisters, ages one and four, respectively. They will be resettled in Siena, a city in the Tuscany region of Central Italy.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, El Nezzel said that he was very grateful for the possibility of sending his children to school. He added that his biggest wish was to one day be able to see his son stand up and give him a hug with prosthetic limbs.
According to The New York Times, the prosthetic leg that will assist Mustafa with mobility will be designed by prosthetic experts at the Centro Protesi Inail in Vigorso in Budrio, Northern Italy.
Specialists quoted by the American newspapers said that Mustafa would need long-term treatment to be able to walk independently but that his father would be able to recover most of his walking ability within a few weeks.