GQ honours Palestinian journalist Motaz Azaiza as Man of the Year

GQ honours Palestinian journalist Motaz Azaiza as Man of the Year

GQ Middle East's decision to redefine its prestigious Man of the Year status with purpose has been met with praise, after honouring Palestinian photojournalist Motaz Azaiza and his courageous work.

Azaiza is among many brave journalists risking their lives to share the realities of living in Gaza during the war. He has become a symbol of strength, using his platform to inform and inspire others to make change in the world.

"Much like his peers on the ground in Gaza, he reminds us that no matter who we are or where we’re from, it’s us – ordinary people, men, and women – who have the power to enact that very change that we want to see," GQ's editor Ahmad Ali Swaid wrote.

"As he continues to bravely speak truth to power, we pray for his safety and for those around him."

GQ also featured 15 voices who praised Azaiza, with rapper and patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign Lowkey saying: "History will remember his name."

American writer and activist Shaun King wrote: "Even though Motaz is literally the same age as my oldest kids, he’s my hero. He hates being called that, but in the face of over 60 Palestinian journalists being murdered, he puts his life on the line 24 hours a day to be sure the world sees the beauty, pain, and devastation of Gaza. And in the process, he’s made tens of millions of us around the world feel like we have a new friend."

American-Kuwaiti journalist Ahmed Shihab-Eldin added: "Living up to his middle name ‘Hilal’ which means crescent moon in Arabic, Motaz has shone a light on Gaza amidst the most obscene form of cruelty and darkness and also has shined a much-needed light into the broken hearts of millions around the world, giving us a sense of hope."

Meanwhile, Mona Chalabi poignantly wrote: "Tenderness is an underrated part of the job of journalism. Every day, I witness Motaz summoning softness while doing such hard work – finding a gentle song in his throat, making a child laugh."

She continued, "I will not say he’s an inspiration. I think Palestinian suffering has often been held up as something to make us feel a certain way – grateful for our peace, hopeful about their resilience, sad about their losses.

"What Motaz and other Palestinian journalists are doing right now is much more powerful, he is motivating us to act. We must report with more integrity, endurance and energy than we ever have before. Palestinians deserve our best work if not for the audiences who see our work now, than for future generations who will know the truth of this injustice."

The publication also honoured Plestia Alaqad, Hind Khoudary, Wael Al-Dahdouh and countless unnamed heroes, whose courage and resilience have not gone unnoticed.

They also named several journalists who are no longer with us, including Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah who was killed by an IDF missile on 13 October 2023 and Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh who was killed in May 2022 by Israeli forces.

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