Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
January 31, 2011

Egypt: The Fear Factor

Monday in Al Tahrir (or: “Freedom”) Square.

Typically, a news photo speaks to what’s happening now. In other cases, though, it can be more prospective or predictive. A lot of the images coming out of Cairo today seem to almost be asking “what’s next?” This photo shows the military — at this point, anyway — as the least of Cairo’s problems. Instead, the picture looks past the situation of “the people versus the government” anticipating “the people versus the people.” (I’m not clear how much the photo pegs that tension to the religious parties, though, as the two guys nearest the soldiers – though they’re ringed by at least one guy in a skull cap — look more secular, Unfortunately, the caption gives no explanation.) In contrast to the hopeful “liberation” photos coming out of the Square, this one frames the potential downfall of the government as more of a downfall overall.

This newswire image we just posted on our Tumblr site, by the way, also fears an ignition.

(photo: Felipe Trueba / EPA. Caption: Egyptian soldiers and civilians gather in Al Tahrir Square in central Cairo on Monday.)

  • Wayne Dickson

    An emblem of countryman turning against countryman? driving wedges rather than forging unity? (Yeah, I know. Mixed metaphor.) Reminds me of Teabagger disruptions of well-intentioned congresspersons’ “townhall” meetings.

    And, just as the Teabagger movement has been choreographed by powerful hidden entities that have their own and not the people’s interest at heart, so might organized groups of these protesters be unknowing agents of persons and groups that have at heart anything but the freedom of the Egyptian people.

  • David

    This is one of the only photos that I’ve seen from this situation that shows internal dissent (if that’s what it is) on the part of the loosely-related opposition. So while I think it’s interesting, I wonder what it’s doing here. Is it part of a large body of photography that’s been published that’s making (or suggesting) a statement? Or is it just one of many photos documenting the situation?
    Frankly, I’m happy to see that people on the opposition don’t all necessarily agree with each other (if, in fact, this depicts people in the opposition).
    And to the point of the military, haven’t they already been established as being part of the people, partly due to the fact that every man serves compulsory military service? I think if the people behind the pointing man were the police, this would be a very different story.

  • NPRattlesnake

    …of the ‘extremist’(buzz)egyptian opposition group,’muslim brotherhood: “the muslim brothers”…parsed from any american evangelicals ap prehension, by the primary referrent-signalling of that old ‘bak-2-duh-’sixties ‘muslim brotherhood’ magic:’the bp’s’(buzz,buzz))-as- our ‘bros’n'duh-hood’.
    (…our apologies to the Coen-Bros…)

Refresh Archives

Random Notes