Monday, January 30, 2006

More confirmation of no longer being in Kansas

Here's another "only in a Moslem country" story from the Arab Times:

Wife blackmailed: Police have arrested an Arab man for blackmailing his wife and her friends by threatening to publish their pictures on a web site, reports Al-Qabas daily. It has been reported the man was in need of money and when the wife refused to give him, he began blackmailing his wife and friends. The pictures were allegedly taken during his son’s birthday party. The wife had no option but report her husband’s behavior to police. During interrogation the man admitted to the charge. The wife filed a complaint with the Salwa Police Station and the husband has admitted to the charge.

Now, my wife wouldn't be well chuffed with me putting her photo on Flickr for global perverts to gawk at either, but it probably wouldn't have much more of an outcome than getting me touched upside the head or being disappointed come bedtime until the offending pictures came down again. Over here it's different.

You'll note, these aren't those "special" kind of photos that Western blokes often try to delude their girlfriends into letting them take, which then come back to haunt said girlfriends when the relationship's gone belly up (I saw several particularly nasty versions of ex-boyfriend's revenge on No, these particular photos were taken at a children's birthday party, so they're just the kind of photos a Western woman has an album full of. But at her son's birthday party, an Arab woman is most likely not wearing her Abaya. For her husband to parade her uncovered before the assembled male voyeurs and perverts of the world would be humiliation on the scale of the home porno shots displayed by disgruntled ex-boyfriends on

You see the results of this approach to photography on Flickr all the time. Among the more liberal girls of the UAE (ie, liberal in comparison to Kuwait, not in any absolute sense whatsoever), the more risque will post close-up photos of their eyes or hands. Even this can draw some adverse comment from UAE men who are presumably wondering whether the respectable girl they end up marrying might turn out to be the sort who'd display herself like that, and they'd never know. There was one that posted a full-length picture of herself, fully dressed, with her face turned away so she wouldn't be recognisable. This public display drew a storm of comments berating her for bringing the reputation of the UAE into disrepute. (As well it might - I've yet to see a Kuwaiti woman photograph any part of herself or her friends, Abaya or not, and post it to Flickr).