Iqbal Tamimi – Google does not know that Arab and Palestinian Mothers Exist

Posted: 03/19/2009 by editormary in Features, Newswire, Opinions and Letters, Palestine, Resistance, Somoud: Arab Voices of Resistance, War, Zionism
Tags: , , , , ,

On the 21st of March the Arab world celebrates Mother’s Day. On this day also the length of the day becomes equal to the length of the night. Nature is sending us a hint of optimism that everything is possible and as much as we feel despair, there is an equal chance of hope.

I thought of researching some photos from Google to celebrate women and their children. I started with the terms “Mother and child” in a research in Arabic and I found all kinds of mother and child pictures available from every country and animals as well, including chimps and monkeys, but not one of an Arab woman or a Palestinian woman with a child.

I thought of shifting to the English search in Google engine, again the Arab woman was not there at all. Is it possible that thousands of screaming mothers in Gaza next to their children’s corpses have been dropped from the memory of Google? Was this an intentional attempt not to include us as mothers from a general search? Mothers and children of remote areas I have never heard of were there in hundreds of pictures, but not one Arab woman with her child… not even one mother from Lebanon crying over her children during the attacks on South Lebanon, not one woman crying over her killed children in Iraq, not one photo of any Arab woman with a child in Darfur or Iraq.

Have we been condemned sterile? Are we denied the honour of being mothers by Google?

I would like to remind Google on Mother’s Day that Mary the Mother of Christ, who happens to be the most important icon of motherhood in history, is a Palestinian Mother. How come none of almost 2000 pictures of Palestinian Mothers and their killed children on the Net could not manage to find their way to Google’s engine?

Talking about conspiracy, I guess this one example shows how common it must be to manipulate the media. Imagine if every researcher of women and their children stumbled upon photos of thousands of Palestinian Mothers hugging their killed children – what that would that lead to? Yes, it will offer people an extra eye and a great chance to know that there are people oppressed and crying for help, this will move the hearts of people who have a clean conscious that they might spend some time to know why all Palestinian Mothers are stained with blood, and investigate why their children are laying there wounded or killed. People will start to wonder why there is no picture of children playing, drawing, flying a kite, enjoying a meal, smiling or studying. People might wonder why women’s pictures show mothers without homes, mothers cooking on open fires in the wild, mothers inside prisons, mothers who do harvest flowers in black so that another mother from the FIRST world can enjoy mother’s Day and get a beautiful bouquet of flowers gathered by another Mother in Palestine who could not afford to take a day off on Mother’s Day, because she is the sole supporter and provider of her family because men are either dead or in prisoners by Israeli authorities.

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers around the world, and a special Happy Mother’s Day for my heroines, the Palestinian and Arab Mothers.

  1. mary says:

    I second what you say at the end of your article Iqbal.

    I remembered this photograph of a beautiful Palestinian mother with her surviving little one in the horror of Cast Lead. I cannot find another one of her with her dead child where her expression was most tender.

    “Samera Baalusha (34) carries her surving child Mohamad (15 months) while she waits to see the body of her daughter Jawaher Baalusha (aged 4) during the funeral held for her and four of her sisters who were killed in an Israeli missile strike, on December 29, 2008 in the Jebaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip.”

    ( from )

  2. Richard says:

    I too tried googling ‘arab mother child’ and got very few hits, as you did. But then I I googled ‘Balosha family’ as a result of Mary’s link, and got 109 hits (most of them repeats of just a few photos).

    I also googled ‘polish mother child’ and got only one photo.

    So I don’t think it so sinister as it may appear. Google can only find its images from picture captions and local context, so if the combination ‘arab mother child’ is missing from those, it just can’t find them.

  3. Iqbal Tamimi says:


    You missed the point Richard, it is about searching the general term ‘Mother and Child’ regardless of knowing their country or background….the outcome has no results of Arab or Palestinian mother and child photos, even though this part of the world shows one of the highest incidents regarding Mother and child subjects having in mind the many attacks on Lebanon that recorded mass killings and witnessed Sabra and Chatella massacre, Palestine which shows on daily bases recorded incidents of children and their mothers….Gaza was just one of those examples that have happened few weeks ago, Iraq which suffered occupation and many mother and child concerns since USA lead invasion, besides other countries like Sudan for example.
    The Arab world is a very big area with great interest; otherwise all those invasions would not have happened. Hence it makes sense to expect more than a photo or two when searching in general. In 2000, the Middle East’s population was 349 million.
    Average number of children per woman (total fertility rate)
    in the Middle East and North Africa, 1990: (Source: Population
    Reference Bureau)

    Morocco – 4.8 Egypt – 4.7 Saudi Arabia – 7.2
    Algeria – 6.1 Sudan – 6.4 Iraq – 7.3
    Tunsia – 4.1 Yemen – 7.4 Iran – 6.3
    Libya – 5.5 Oman – 7.2 Afghanistan – 7.1
    Turkey – 3.6 Cyprus – 2.4 Lebanon – 3.7
    Jordan – 5.9 Kuwait – 3.7 Syria – 6.8

    Seriously…all those can’t be represented in a photo or two????

  4. Lee says:

    From hear in the UK, I got seemingly uncensored image results using the terms ”mother and child’ (general pics, as you might expect with the general term), ‘palestinian mother and child’ (857000 hits, the first page showing IDF pointing automatic weapons at children, death, despair and the like). I used the terms without the quotes used hear, as using quotation marks in google and most other search engines indicates “exact match” requirement. Can’t try in arabic as I am not an Arab. It is entirely possible that Israel is filtering and/or has arrangements with Google, much like China.

    Kind regards

  5. Andrew says:

    Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.

  6. Romero says:

    I just want to say your article was very good and honest. I pray for all the mothers in the world and especially for those who are suffering because of the ignorance of others.

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