A closer look: "A family evacuated from Afghanistan arrives at Dulles"

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I shared an image of Afghan refugees too haphazardly. Let's have a second look.

5 members of an Afghan family arriving in a US airport

First impression

On Twitter I "quote tweeted" this image with the text "They couldn't get the magic carpet in the background?" That did not get across what I intended to say. At all.

What stood out for me is that the image seemed over the top, filled with stereotypes and maybe even a caricature of the situation.

I tend to enjoy more subtle pictures. This one was not at all subtle to me.

And there's probably a lot more I didn't even pick up. To me, those cliches and stereotypes feel like they simplified a situation to such levels, it became insulting. So in the "spur-of-the-moment" I tried to imagine what could make the image even worse and came up with a magic carpet.

I tried to amplify what I "read" in this image. Without context, that's a strange addition to a sensitive photo.

On second thought

Looking more closely at the image, and putting things into perspective, I'd like to add a bit more reflection. This picture is shown in media because it "works". In media there's no room for subtle, in-depth or lengthy. That does not align with my personal preferences, but that seems to be the way these things work currently.

What the picture does express strongly, and what I hope there will be attention for, is the assumed extreme cultural differences between where these people come from, and where they just have arrived.

The world is full of chasms. East and west. Rich and poor. Beliefs. Technoliteracy. There are so many that it's overwhelming. I'm a big proponent of being inclusive and giving everybody equal opportunities. These days that seems hard to imagine. I feel like chasms only get larger and everything we do divides us further.

It's depressing. They are strong feelings for me which, looking back, might be a reason for my confusing reaction to it.

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