2015 Photo Contest, Contemporary Issues, Honorable Mention

Mothers of Patience


Fatemeh Behboudi

23 March, 2014

Zahra Banazadeh (68), the mother of 19-year-old Hamidreza Raee Banazadeh, has waited for him for around 27 years. Every new year, she—as with many Iranians—visits a former war zone, such as this one near Shalamcheh, one of the main sites of the Iraqi invasion. Such locations are seen as holy ground.

The Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the 20th century. More than 10,000 Iranians were reported missing in action in Iraq. Casualty figures are highly uncertain, though the numbers of dead on both sides ran into the hundreds of thousands. In Iran, people who were killed in the conflict were declared martyrs for their country, and therefore for Islam. Over 10,000 Iranian soldiers were reported missing in action, without a corpse being identified. Bodies are still being discovered and repatriated. Many mothers of missing soldiers live in hope of seeing their sons again, or finally having a body that they may bury.

About the photographer

Fatemeh Behboudi

Fatemeh Behboudi was born in Tehran, Iran. She studied photography and, after graduating in 2007, has worked for several Iranian news services including the Iranian Quran News A...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
Focal length
35.0 mm
Canon EOS 5D Mark III

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