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September 18, 2010

There are Press Freedoms and There are Press Freedoms

The peace negotiations themselves are not visual, but Al-Ahram, Egypt’s largest newspaper and government mouthpiece is very cognizant of the images used to portray the negotiations and Mubarak.  So much so, in fact, that they have photoshopped Mubarak into the leadership position in place of the actual photo here:

But another important image from a couple weeks ago at the White House is the one of Mubarak with his left hand to his chin.

Mubarak’s health has been the subject of speculation for many years, but the issue became more acute when he was rushed to Germany for treatment in early May.

Photos leading up to the hospitalization and the first photos after showed Mubarak with a limp hand, as if he had a stroke or brain damage. The White House photo shows a strong and steadying left hand to fight that rumor.

Also with the elections coming up there were stories about Mubarak’s son going to Washington to be introduced as a replacement and to raise his international image.  (Not that there is any relation to his father’s health, but this recent photo in Haaretz is amusing for the hand gesture.)

Image selection and dissection is oh so important in these countries where information is still tightly controlled.

David Degner, Egypt Photographer at

(photo 4: Amr Nabil/AP. caption: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak looks on during his meeting with Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas, not pictured, at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, Monday April 19, 2010. Egypt’s president has resumed his duties after recovering from last month’s gallbladder surgery in Germany. photo 5: Chris Kleponis/AFP/Getty Images. caption: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak listens to remarks after holding meetings with US President Barak Obama on restarting  Middle East peace talks at the White House in Washington, DC, September 1, 2010.)

  • Glenn May

    You can’t blame Al Ahram for presenting a phony image of the meeting. After all, the entirety of U.S. foreign policy is based on phony images. First is the idea we support democracy while in reality we support dictators like those pictured above. Huge aid goes to kings and giant weapons deals to enlightened figures like the Saudi royal family and Mubarak. Then we claim to be fighting terrorism at the same time we bomb or invade into submission any Mideast nation that has the gall to choose the wrong path or wrong leader. And all if to do what? To pursue the twin – and contradictory – goals of keeping Israel dominant without cutting off the oil.
    So laugh all you like at an amateurish photo manipulation. Americans obviously require a much more sophisticated – and much more counter-productive – distortion of reality.

    • David

      Well said Glen.

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