'I have to do my work.': AP's Glowing Profile of Green Helmet Guy

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Aug 12, 2006 12:58 PM

Oh, Green Helmet Guy, I had no idea the parading of dead children in front of the cameras was so altruistic.

Luckily, there's the AP to explain it:

After hours of digging in the blistering heat, Salam Daher emerged from the wreckage with the body of a 9-month-old baby, a blue pacifier still pinned to its nightshirt.

He held the infant up and, click, an Associated Press photographer snapped another picture of Daher, in his trademark green helmet, displaying a civilian victim of Israeli bombs for the world to see.

Daher, a member of the civil defense for 20 years, has been photographed with bodies of the dead in two wars now — first in 1996 and most recently with the baby on July 30 __ both times after Israeli attacks in the village of Qana six miles southeast of the city.

For that reason, some Web sites have labeled him the "Green Helmet," and accused him of being a member of the Hezbollah guerrilla group, and of showing off bodies as propaganda.

"But that isn't true," he told The Associated Press. He is not affiliated with any party, he said. "I am just a civil defense worker. I have done this job all my life."

And, about those silly bloggers:

After hours of digging, Daher emerged with the youngest victim. In a parched voice, he shouted something in Arabic and held the child up for the photographer.

To many in the West, such photographs are surprising; but they are not unusual in the Middle East, where grief and drama are often intertwined, and that can include displaying of bodies.

Bloggers have accused rescue workers and volunteers of showing off victims for the media. The Lebanese make no apologies for wanting the world to see the civilian suffering in the Israeli onslaught aimed at uprooting Hezbollah.

Rewatch the video, folks. You have to be a very special kind of apologist to claim this guy is a "rescue worker."