“The Photo”

Mother and soldier son at a checkpoint in Cairo, Egypt.  (European Pressphoto Agency)
The European Pressphoto Agency image that has captivated the world: A mother kisses her soldier son at a Cairo checkpoint in early February 2011.
The world has watched events in Egypt unfold this past week with rapt attention as a 30-year regime stumbles to its inevitable end.

But a picture from the European Pressphoto Agency that appeared on the front page of The Wall Street Journal this past Tuesday transcends the political aspects of the events and speaks to us on a far more fundamental level.

The story told by the photo is simple enough: A mother kisses her soldier son at a Cairo checkpoint on a day when protesters are gearing up for a huge march on the Egyptian capital city.

But it’s an image that’s “gone viral” and has bounded about the worldwide web.

Why?

What is it about this picture that is so compelling? After all, it portrays a pretty mundane occurrence in the world of political events and regime change. But there’s something about the image that strikes right at the heart of our shared existence as human beings and our connections to family.

We don’t know these people at all. The location may be exotic … the culture and dress “foreign.” But the photo is about something much deeper – and it’s a connection that binds us all.

In this case, it’s a picture that’s worth a million words.

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