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15 May 2007

Excuse me ma'am, may I shoot your butt?!

There is a Flickr Group called "24 Hours of Flickr", where all the members were supposed to take photos on 5/5/2007 and submit the best shot they took then to the group, and they will pick the best ones and publish them in a printed book later on. So I decided to go down to the street on that date and started taking photos of Cairo streets. But while I was taking photos near the Corniche, a police soldier started to ask me why I was taking photos, and then asked me politely to finish quickly before an officer sees me.

Yesterday they wrote in Al Arabiya news site that an Egyptian guy was arrested for shooting women butts in the street

So let me ask you now, do we really have here in Egypt a certain law that tells people when they are allowed to take photos, and when they are not allowed to? Even in that women-butt-obsessed guy case, I know that it is sick, but is there a certain law against doing so? What if he was shooting their faces instead? I am sure that many countries have different rules and laws, but do we really have such thing here in Egypt, or it is just random?

*** Update ***
Zeinobia's comment inspired me to add this. Away from the law, let me ask you, is it ok to shoot people you don't know in the street? Or, shall you take their permission first? What if it is a group of people, shall you ask each one of them? What if you are taking a photo of the pyramid and there is someone standing near by, shall you ask him/her too?

I know it is common sense. But sometimes common sense in not very common.

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  1. lately I've discovered that the law doesn't matter in Egypt until you reach the cassation court.

    not to mention that no one knows what the law is in this country no one even knows the total number of legislations in effect but people estimate around 60 thousand laws, decrees, and amendments

    when it comes to rights for public spaces we almost have non

    for instance you are not allowed to photograph potential military targets or to take photos while in potential military target.

    what is a potential military target? well all bridges and flyways are, all highways and autostrades are, all bus stations, all infrastructure hubs for communication, energy and other utilities (not to mention every single fixed and moving security patrol and military police checkpoint).

    this basic leaves only slums, fields, deserts, mountains and beaches.

    now slums are mosi2a lesom3et masr so that's another crime. the rest I'll leave for you as homework

    being legal in this country is ridiculous (and don't get me started on how many ways you can skin a blogger using qanoon el 3oqobat).

  2. I was going to take my camera and take some shots as I joined that group too but I was sick and I couldn't go anywhere
    you know I wanted to talk about this ,but it is not about the security ,it is about the people them , why the people see it strange when some Egyptian takes some photos ,I can't forget the comments I heard when I took some shots for the cairo university from making fun of me to harassing me
    but you know I don't give a damn now

  3. I love taking pictures, much to my friends' dismay. I have attempted to take pictures whilst walking with a group of friends, more than once, before... but I have to admit, my height and looks usually mean that Im mistaken for a non-Egyptian and I'm given leeway.

    Thing is, in response to your question, I think that people are allowed to take whatever pictures they want as long as they are in a public place. If people don't want others taking pictures of them, then they should plan to be invisible in some way.

    If I can see it, and it's in a public place, I should be allowed to capture it on film (or memory card). And that's that.

    As for the laws, Alaa has a point. It is annoying. Usually when I feel that the situation might get dicey, I attempt to take the picture "fel khabatha keda" without anyone noticing or whilst I am in a car or somewhere where people can't get to me, in any way.

    I hate to do this, but I'm usually not in the mood for a police officer to get all cocky and decide to do something to my camera... which wasn't cheap when I bought it!

  4. This is sooooooooo disgusting. This guy must be hanged. What a pig!