Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Tomas Munita: Egypt's Discontent

Photo © Tomas Munita-Courtesy The New York Times

Tomas Munita's photographs of Cairo are dark, saturated, brooding and shadowy. One of them shows a couple of policemen peering through the rear window of a bus parked near a mosque in a Cairo tourist area...and to my mind, an analogy of the current situation in Egypt. Shadowy powers, whether military or otherwise, incapable or unwilling to act.

The accompanying article by Neil MacFarquhar paints a bleak picture of a revolution that, after having taken the world by storm, has now stagnated...and is seemingly going nowhere.

Paralyzed by the weakness of a caretaker government that takes its marching orders from the shadowy military rulers known as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Egypt's economy is heading nowhere...and that's a charitable way of saying it. Stuck in an outdated autocratic mindset, the civilian and military authorities are both unwilling and incapable of instituting any meaningful societal and economical change.

The article quotes Emad Shahin,a professor at Notre Dame University as saying “Egyptians said they had a leaderless revolution, and they were so happy about it then. They are now paying a price for that.” In theory, perhaps that's true.

I watch the unfolding events in Egypt as most others do...with dismay and sadness. All I see for the time being for Egypt is what we witnessed in Myanmar. A subservient "civilian" government controlled by a shadowy military institution, or an outright military take-over of the government. As the fable goes, a wolf in sheep's clothing is still a wolf.

Egypt deserves an infinitely better future.

But back to photography. Compare Tomas Munita's photographs to Jehad Nga's work (mentioned earlier on this blog).