The Girl in This Pulitzer-Winning Photo Still Has Nightmares
After a horrific suicide bomber attack at a crowded shrine in Kabul, the “Girl in the green dress”, the focal point of a Pulitzer Prize winning photo, still has nightmares about that fateful day.
The now 11-year-old Tarana Akbari still remembers the day with clarity, as she screamed and cried amidst 70 people who were killed during the explosion on December 6, 2011. AFP photographer Massoud Hossaini captured the moment right after the bombing when Tarana, in a green dress, cries in pain and fear.
While her picture has now become world-renowned, the little girl shrugs off the honor with a sad smile. Her only thought? “How come I am alive. I can see all the dead bodies around me but only I survived,” she said.
In the small 2-bedroom home that she now shares with her family, she is still haunted by dreams of the past and the present.
Last weekend, when Taliban suicide bombers attacked the capital in a vicious 18-hour assault, Tarana relived the horror of her memories.
“It made me frightened again,” she said. “I am not happy, because that day when the bomb went off destroyed my family.”
Her seven-year-old brother Shoaib was among the seven relatives and countless victims killed in the December attack. Both Tarana and her 4-year-old sisters carry lifelong scars across their bodies.
With the constant pain in her legs, Tarana is unable to attend school anymore, although she hopes to return soon. When asked about her future, Tarana finally smiles and responds that she would like to be a teacher some day.