There may be a global pandemic and recession but, for some Egyptians, the real problem is a woman wearing a dress in front of some old buildings.
Photographer Houssam Mohammad and model Salma al-Shimy were arrested for taking some fairly bland pictures at Saqqara’s necropolis, south of Cairo.
According to some Egyptian media, the crime was that the photos were ‘provocative and offensive‘ – presumably, because al-Shimy’s fancy-dress pharaoh outfit showed a bit of knee.
Some of their compatriots agreed, taking offence on behalf of their ancient ancestors, with one writing on Twitter, ‘Your photos are disgusting and do not represent the history of our civilization at all.’
You might not want to see an accurate representation, though, considering incest was rife in ancient Egypt, not least among its royalty.
The busty model and lensman Houssam Mohammad allegedly took part in the shoot “without authorization in the Saqqara archaeological site,” the Middle East Eye reported, citing a judicial source.
She reportedly said she had been unaware that photography on archaeological sites without a permit was forbidden.
Mohammad told Youm7 TV before he was detained that Shimi entered the site wearing an abaya — a loose-fitting robe — as requested by staff, then changed when they arrived on location.
He claimed six employees came to watch the 15-minute shoot at the ancient burial ground without requesting that they stop.
There’s also the Turin Erotic Papyrus, basically an early adult mag that shows men and women having a very good time. And the ancients’ habit of ‘censoring’ artistic depictions of sex between two humans by replacing one with an animal.
Other Egyptians, however, couldn’t see the problem with the photos, stressing their amazement at the arrest. Mohammad said the photographer said the reaction was all about al-Shimi’s shape, saying ‘if a thin girl were in Salma’s place, the issue would be very normal.’
It’s reported that the pair were accused of ‘taking photos without authorization in the Saqqara archaeological site’ and released on bail of 500 Egyptian pounds ($32).
Though some might reason that the biggest crime was people taking out the time to be offended.