Monday, August 20, 2012

Here's where I stand on the Eid harassment photos

Women were harassed during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in Cairo. It's abhorrent and should be stopped. I fully support that. I also fully support spreading harassers' pictures across the globe and calling their mothers AND aunties.

However, it DISGUSTS me that whoever caught these images on camera - of women being harassed, boys grabbing women's behinds, etc - did not bother to blur the victims' faces before spreading the images across the internet. Did it not occur to you that these poor girls' privacy has already been invaded enough? Would you post a picture of your little sister - who looks barely 14 - having BOTH of her breasts grabbed by two different boys behind her? Would you want that picture to go viral? No? Well I've seen that picture floating around tonight.

The argument that it takes too long to blur the faces and it's better to just get the pictures out there is COMPLETELY inexcusable, in my opinion. As a photographer, especially if you're trying to call yourself a photojournalist or a journalist, it is your RESPONSIBILITY to act ethically, and that includes protecting your sources and protecting victims, ESPECIALLY if they're underage. Take the 10 seconds (or 5 minutes) to either blur or black out the victims' faces and/or eyes. Is your five minutes really worth potentially prolonging a young girl's horrifying experience?

I've heard the argument that these images and information should be shared at all costs. I understand the argument, I understand the argument that seeing the shock, horror, violation on the victim's face makes the image more powerful.

But ethically, it's still wrong. Imagine being that 14-year-old girl. Now imagine if one of your classmates (or cousins) stumbles upon that picture. You already know how prevalent sexual harassment is in Egyptian society AND how often women are blamed for it. Do you think her classmates will support her? Or will they snigger behind her back? Now: do you really think spreading that girl's face was worth it?

I understand that there is a fine line there, especially when people are whole-heartedly, and with good intentions, trying to support something so essential as ending sexual harassment. But unless the victim has given permission, it is just further violation of their privacy.

Some people will disagree with me, either for the reasons above or for other reasons. I get that. It's your right.

But please, have some respect.

Edit: If these girls want to tell their stories, more power to them - but the choice should be theirs. It shouldn't be made without their knowledge or consent.


  1. Asalamu Alaykom,

    You're absolutely right. This is what I've been saying for a long time. Showing the face of a victim is victimizing them again. The lens distances the photographer from the scene so maybe the person capturing the wrong-doing forgets that they themselves could be actors in the drama. They could actually put down the camera and stop what's going on. Somehow it doesn't seem likely though. Maybe what's best is to have a camera person AND a band of others around them so both the image and the perpetrators are caught. Lastly, any man who wants to help end sexual harrasment and abuse of women needs some women as advisers. That empathy women have for one another will help not only end the main issue but difuse the resulting problems of not viewing a group of victims as individual people with rights.

  2. I agree with you and you are right,,,,,,,,,,,,

  3. I'll say nothing about Egyptian politics except that I think you are moving in questionable direction and that the 'end game' will not be in the interest of your country.

    What I really want to do, is to present my country to you an other Egyptians: Norway and Norwegian nature, - very different to what one finds in Egypt.

  4. if you add current information than it undoubtedly benefited for us...

  5. Mercedes Star Diagnose
    I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me.

  6. Digimaxo is a Website Development Company Bangalore Offers Website Development Services in Bangalore
    Web Design Company Bangalore

  7. Are you tired of seeking loans and Mortgages,have you been turned down constantly By your banks and other financial institutions,We offer any form of loan to individuals and corporate bodies at low interest rate.If you are interested in taking a loan,feel free to contact us today,we promise to offer you the best services ever.Just give us a try,because a trial will convince you.What are your Financial needs?Do you need a business loan?Do you need a personal loan?Do you want to buy a car?Do you want to refinance?Do you need a mortgage loan?Do you need a huge capital to start off your business proposal or expansion? Have you lost hope and you think there is no way out, and your financial burdens still persists? Contact us (

    Your Name:...............
    Your Country:...............
    Your Occupation:...............
    Loan Amount Needed:...............
    Loan Duration...............
    Monthly Income:...............
    Your Telephone Number:.....................
    Business Plan/Use Of Your Loan:...............
    Contact Us At :