December 16, 2005

Cracking The Veil




What it is about Middle and Near East elections that cause photographers to suddenly get woman crazy on or right before election day?

We saw it previously in Iraq (Girls of the Constitutionlink) and Iran (The Moin Girls vs. Rafsanjani’s Babeslink), as well as during the democracy demonstrations in Beirut (In Love With Lebanonlink).  As opposed to Iran and Lebanon, however, the Iraq election eve images focused primarily on religious women (in many examples, showing the love for Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani).

I’ve been thinking the prevelance has to do with Islamic women being
more emotionally demonstrative on such occasions. (The photographers,
many of whom are local stringers, probably know to anticipate the
novelty.) With all the concerns
regarding woman’s rights under Islamic law, however, I wonder if these
images are also popular in the West because (most of) the audience
simply cannot relate to the fact a women would really adhere to such
prescribed modesty.

Perhaps the expression of personality serves as reassurance to those who couldn’t believe it otherwise.

(image 1: Hadi Mizban/A.P. December 14,
2005. Baghdad, Iraq. Via YahooNews. image 2: Ali Jerikji/Reuters.
December 15, 2005. Amman, Jordan. image 3: Ali Jasim/Reuters.
December 14, 2005. Sadr City, Iraq. Via YahooNews.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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