Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Washington Post

I’ve just spent a bit of time this morning, time I really didn’t have, looking through articles on the publication of a seven-year-old girls circumcision. To say that I’m sickened and outraged would not provide a level of understanding to my feeling at this particular moment.

Tewfic El-Sawy, over at The Travel Photographer, first brought this to my attention in his wonderful blog. I’ve not been over there in some time and was catching up this morning when I saw the posts. He has some links to other writers that are equally outraged. What I didn’t see were any US based commentary (other than Tewfic’s) that spoke of the hypocritical editorial decision to publish these images.

I travel quite a bit in my job and am fortunate to see other view points other than what we get force fed here in the US. That, and the fact that I was exposed to a variety of cultures as a kid, provide me with a willingness to see other viewpoints. I also spent time in the Navy traveling the world and going to places I would have otherwise never been exposed too. All of that provides me with a deep appreciation of world viewpoints.

And what I’ve found over the travels and years is that we aren’t very different when it comes right down to it. We all want to be treated with respect, we almost always respond in kind when a smile is given and we just want to get along in life without a lot of hassle.

But what I increasingly see is a complete disregard for anyone from another part of the world that doesn’t have a voice to defend themselves. In this case, Andrea Bruce might have been exposing an abhorrent practice that provides that voice. But when she took images of the the seven-year-old girls face, submitted them for publishing and then took an award for the photographs, she became part of the hypocritical nature of this country in particular.

I won’t go into the arguments that others have made. If you want to see what the issue is read here, here and here. But I will say to those that are reading this and think “What’s the big deal?” I’ll ask you to do as Tewfic did and think about your own daughter ,or son, or family member, and tell me what the big deal is. But of course that wouldn’t happen in the US because we would all be in an uproar about protecting the kids. But a seven-year-old Kurdish girl doesn’t deserve the same respect. And that, given the state of the world affairs, is the crux of the problem. When we stop caring what happens to the individual we stop caring about what happens to the whole.

1 comment:

Benjamin said...

Larry, thank you for posting this and showing yourself to be a concerned photographer of the world