Graphic warning: This post contains an image depicting bloodshed and may offend some readers.
Mohammad Chaar was a typical Lebanese teenager on an outing with few friends when they posed for a selfie together. But this wasn’t just a regular snap shot. It was one taken in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon and the site of recent ongoing political violence, and would be the last one Chaar would ever take.
Moments after the picture was taken, an SUV parked just a few feet from the group of friends exploded, severely injuring standersby, including Chaar.
Another picture of the teenager was taken shortly after the horrific car bombing and showed him lying on the sidewalk in a pool of blood. He died the next day.
The images went viral online and Chaar was dubbed a “martyr” by some, angering many across social media. The reason for the outrage was outlined nicely by Hamed Sinno, who spoke with HuffPo, “I think it’s really important that we stop referring to political victims as martyrs, because I think the label almost resolves any criminality about the murder and reduces it to this political abstraction, which isn’t the case. You have real people dying for absurd reasons […] Especially in the cases of people who aren’t even politically involved. You have a 16-year-old who’s standing on the road at the wrong time. This martyrdom we shroud these victims with ends up negating the actual horror of what’s happening to people in Lebanon.”
Shortly after Chaar’s death, the #NotAMartyr selfie protest campaign started, encouraging people to take selfies with notes expressing their frustration but also sharing their hope for Lebanon’s future.
The protest has gone viral with tons of submissions of people posting their pictures with the hashtag across Facebook and Twitter. Check out the slideshow to see 11 moving and powerful images from Lebanon’s selfie protest .
The before-and-after image below inspired the campaign. Chaar is shown in the red hoodie.