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Italian photojournalist has a Leica camera to thank for saving his life after being hit by an RPG


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXZdAiHbDXE?rel=0&autohide=1&wmode=transparent&enablejsapi=1]

Editors note: Although no injury is shown, there is visible blood on a Leica camera in an embedded image below.


Italian photojournalist and co-founder of the Cesura Lab photographer collective, Gabriele Micalizzi, has a Leica camera to thank for saving his life.

On February 11, 2019, while covering conflict between the United States-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Baghuz, Syria, Micalizzi was hit with shrapnel from an IS-fired rocket propelled grenade (RPG).

In the above video, shared by YouTube channel Gli Occhi della Guerra, wherein Micalizzi recounts the attack. The interview is in Italian, but closed captions can be turned on for an auto-generated English translation.

In speaking with Italian news outlet Corriere della Sera, Micalizzi recounts the incident, saying:

I can tell you the story now, in a corridor of San Raffaele hospital, [thanks to] those who did everything for me. The Kurdish military, the American doctors, the Italian embassy. My Leica camera, too. If I hadn’t been holding it in front of my face, I wouldn’t be here to talk about it: in the impact [the Leica] damaged my eyes, but it served as a shield.

Gabriel Chaim, a CNN visual journalist who was with him at the time, also spoke on Micalizzi’s brush with death with the Committee to Protect Journalists:

Micalizzi was hit by shrapnel from the RPG in his head, his left eye and ear, and different parts of his body. I was a meter and a half away from him and got hit by the blast.

The below image and accompanying caption was shared on the Cesura Instagram page.

View this post on Instagram

Following the recent events regarding our photographer, co founder, friend and brother Gabriele Micalizzi in Syria, we would like to update you on his conditions. Gabriele is currently in Baghdad’s military hospital and is being carefully looked after by their medics for his lesion on eyes and arms. Yesterday we talked with Gabriele on the phone and he confirmed he is feeling fine, he is able to stand up and can see from both his eyes even if blurry. We are extremely happy to be able to dispute the recent news about the loss of his left eye which the media published without the necessary fact checking. Gabriele, the Micalizzi family and cesura would like to thank the people who very quickly and efficiently helped to rescue and evacuate him from the area of the accident. We would like to thank the Farnesina Crisis Unit and Italian diplomatic network for quickly jumping to action, keeping us constantly updated and for organising Gabriele’s return in italy. Furthermore, thank you to the whole medical team at the American hospital in Baghdad who took him in and with great dedication is taking care of him. We would also like to thank the journalist Fausto Biloslavo, @francesco.semprini and @gabrielchaim for the support during the evacuation operations and lawyer Alessandra Ballerini for the constant and precious help. Thank you to all the people who helped us handle this emergency situation in the best way possible. We will still have to wait a few days longer to see Gabriele in Italy again and hug him but the operations to bring him back home are already under way and the hospital ready to welcome him. We are waiting for you Never never never give up Cesura

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Micalizzi’s work has been published around the world, with his credit line appearing in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and more. You can keep up with Micalizzi’s recovery on both his and Cesura’s Instagram profiles.



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