Walter Hinteler wrote:
I mean, it's a demonstration, which was announced yesterday.
Of course, if one dislikes a topic of a demonstration or demonstration per se, one certainly can critically analyse all and everything (what about the children, there and alone at home? ...).
But it's one of the most important rights we've got in a democracy - and the freedom of assembly doesn't need tickets which only can be got after certain examinations, isn't it?
Your reactions are almost always interesting Walter.
How you interpreted my comments to be a criticism of freedom of assembly, or of the Egyptian demonstrators is beyond me.
Human emotions are easily manipulated, and photography has proven to be a masterful tool for such manipulation.
I doubt you seriously believe that each and every one of the people in the massive crowds in Cairo is an honest, stout-hearted advocate for justice and democracy.
I looked at the photo which is intended to evoke certain emotions and far more prosaic questions came to mind.
There has been some discussion in this thread of the West perceiving people in places like Egypt as "the other." If I am correct in predicting the general reaction to this photo from a Western audience then either it assists in debunking the notion of a perspective of "the other" or highlights a twist to the term.
If, as I surmise, the general reaction is a positive one then it certainly implies a great deal of empathy for these people. It's highly unlikely that a Westerner looking at this picture is thinking: "I wonder why all of these funny, dark wogs are gathering around a tank when their nation is in turmoil," or "Look, you can see the potential for violence boiling in this heathen crowd. Surely they don't comprehend the notions of justice or democracy!"
No criticism intended, but JPB observes that most of the signs seem amateurish or hand-made and responds positively to the possibility that this means the protestors are not organized and their uprising has been spontaneous.
One might assume that this actually means the crowd is not much more than a leaderless mob, driven by passion rather than reason; with little to no idea of what is to come next, and which could erupt in violence at any time.
Which view is more or less valid?
Compare this to the reactions many Westerners have had for similar photos (minus the tank) of Tea Party rallies (or, to be fair, Anti-War protests).
It is far less likely for there to be a relatively uniform Western reaction to a photo of a Tea Party rally or an Anti-war demonstration than to this photo.
Because these Egyptians are "others" who we cannot comprehend as having multiple dimensions or motivations?
Because we want to view the demonstrations in Egypt as a positive expression of basic human yearning for freedom and self-determination?
Sometime, perhaps, "the others" get the benefit of our doubt and unfamiliarity.