Foreign Countries Are Foreign – Bangladeshi Photographer Fired And Beaten For Pic Of Kiss


Henri Cartier Bresson gained worldwide acclaim for his picture of a couple kissing. This photographer in Bangladesh has been beaten up – by his own colleagues – for a picture of a couple kissing. It’s a nice little picture too, not quite Bresson class but fun all the same. The thing is that foreign countries really are foreign, they do things differently there:

The photo – a dreamy scene of two lovers kissing in the monsoon rain – went viral in Bangladesh almost immediately after photojournalist Jibon Ahmed posted it on his Facebook page Monday.
Many on social media reacted positively to the photo’s moment of unselfconscious joy – something rare these days on the campus where it was taken, the University of Dhaka, roiled by protests and violent incidents in recent months. Three conservative students were suspended this month for allegedly assaulting two students for holding hands.

But others in Bangladesh – a majority-Muslim country where extremism is deepening – thought the photo was indecent.

Well, yes, although they then go on to describe those protesting at the awfulness of it as “conservative,” not quite the right description of the new generation religious. Extremists might be better for those insisting upon the more Arabic interpretations of that religion.

In spite of the editor’s rejection, he posted the picture on Instagram and Facebook, where within an hour it was shared 5,000 times.

Next day, some of his fellow photographers roughed him up and his boss asked him to return his ID and official laptop without giving him a proper reason for firing him.

Yes, his fellow photographers roughed him up.

“The attack was not related to the professional duties. These attacks were the result of his personal transactions,” Khujista Nur-e-Naharin, editor of the news portal Purboposhchimbd, claimed in an email to The Post.

Well, yes, no doubt, eh? But then what is the local editor of some small website going o say when the Washington Post starts asking awkward questions?

Worth noting that the description is of the couple kissing “in the rain.” This is not a surprise right now, everything is in the rain – it’s the Monsoon.

However, the important thing here is to remind us all that foreign really is foreign. They do things differently there. It simply isn’t true that what we all think entirely fine at home is going to be one of those things that foreigners in foreign all think just ticketty boo as well. Something perhaps to recall as we all charge off on our summer hols, eh? Southern Europeans, for example, think drunkenness itself to be an oddity, let alone in public….

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A better headline for this might have been Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.