Ruth Pollard

Print/Text Feature Writing Short (under 4000 words)

Fairfax Media

If this happened in Europe, the world would not be silent

Ruth Pollard spent a day at the morgue in Shifa Hospital in Gaza, capturing both times of noisy high drama and moments of quiet, desperate grief as frightened families, often covered in blood and dust, located and identified their loved ones. She tells the stories of individuals affected by a conflict that is often reported in terms of the daily toll of dead and injured, and shocking footage of whole town blocks razed to the ground. Through the stories of these people’s deaths, Pollard explores the horrifying choices families must make in the midst of air strikes and shelling – to stay in their house or risk a journey through the bombardment and, agonisingly, to stick together or split up. The director of the morgue, Hamdi Khalout, allowed Pollard to shadow him for a day, and became a central part of the story, talking about his fears that one day he will walk into the examination room, open a body bag and find one of his own children.

Judges’ comments: “Ruth Pollard’s feature on the grim day she spent with the director of Shifa morgue is unforgettable. Through her careful observation and vivid description we experience the human side of the Gaza conflict. It is a compelling read, and reflective of the courage Pollard demonstrated in securing access to this war zone morgue and the sensitivity she displayed during her time there. From powerful details to the big picture, this is outstanding, sensitive journalism, beautifully written.”

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