Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

As It Snows . . .

Catching up with the news, I was looking at the Thursday Kuwait Times when I came across a photo. I am not going to print the photo in my blog, but if you want to look at it, or one like it, you can see it at Yahoo News, just click here on the blue type.

The photo of the execution, titled Iran hangs 13 on a single day is extraordinary enough. I don’t think we print those kind of photos in American newspapers. Maybe in the tabloids; these photos are considered disturbing. I know they disturb me. This one in the Kuwait Times has big white balls in it and the caption reads: QOM, Iran: Three Iranian drug traffickers hang limply from the nooses as it snows in a square in this central city yesterday.

I remember cutting out a similar one from a paper in Saudi Arabia when I lived there. It didn’t have a photo, but the article was about the Taliban hanging of a convicted man in the stadium in Kabul. It stated the man was wearing a blue sharwal khamis. There was no mention of why this man was hung, of what he was convicted.

The Yahoo version of the same hanging of 13 states: Three Iranian drug traffickers hang limply from the nooses after being executed in a square.

To me, the mention of snow falling as people are executed, of the executed man seems . . . maybe poetic? Maybe some way of softening the horror? I don’t know. It’s not something we would do. Bad news is left bare, without a lot of dressing it up. I would love to get your input on this. For me, it’s a different way of thinking.

January 6, 2008 - Posted by | Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Local Lore, News, Photos, Political Issues, Random Musings, Saudi Arabia, Weather | ,


  1. oh my goodness. No, US newspapers and television stations almost never show dead bodies – and its illegal to show films, at least, that show the moment of death (“snuff films”).

    That photo was taken by Agence France Presse (AFP), not an Iranian news agency, so I’m guessing the French have different regulations than we do.

    Its shocking to me, too, to see the photo. I wonder whether publishing it is meant as a lesson, or a sign that crime does not pay, or … I don’t know.

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | January 6, 2008 | Reply

  2. The Kuwait papers often show gruesome photos of dead bodies. Dead laborors half buried in rubble. Dead drivers in fatal car accidents. Dead suicides, hanging from trees. It is ghastly, for those of us not used to it.

    But the wording is what also caught my attention, the juxtaposition of the hanging with “as it snows . . .”

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 6, 2008 | Reply

  3. issues of journalistic morals differ culturally. its almost as though different methods of journalism/photo journalism are culture bound.I have noticed that in developing countries, graphic photos and videos are accepted in the news.

    the last time i think i saw something ‘disturbing’ in Western news was on the day of 9/11; a victim dove off one of the towers to avoid being burnt alive and a photographer took a high resolution shot (he must have been at the perfect place at the perfect time, which is kind of sad when u think about it).

    Anyways, that particular photo was printed in a newspaper (i cant recall which) and it was a huge deal… Some complained that it was too graphic, others were concerned about the victim’s family and how they would react to seeing their son/husband/brother plummeting to his death. I think later the newspaper apologized for printing the photo and made a retraction along with an apology.

    sorry for the length, i studied journalism in college and NOW on ur blog i am FINALLY using it. lol

    Comment by Mrm | January 6, 2008 | Reply

  4. Mrm – your comment is welcome. Feel free. I was asking for an explanation, and I appreciate the thoughtfulness of yours, the content, the lucidity.

    And I await with interest the progression of your journalistic career. You have such a distinct perspective, sort of Diane Arbus.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 6, 2008 | Reply

  5. Some photos are too graphic for the public to view. Even adults like you and me can get very disturbed by it. Shouldn’t the newspapers come with a warning or something like that?

    Also, I tagged you to answer the same questionnaire I did 😉

    Comment by This Lady | January 6, 2008 | Reply

  6. even in UK they are not allowed to show such photos!! thats sad!!

    Comment by Amu | January 6, 2008 | Reply

  7. Lady! You tagged me? I didn’t see it. Hmmmmmm.

    Amu – As Mirim said, it’s something that would cause great emotional distress to the families, and I think that is the primary prohibition.

    But no comments on the language? I’ve accepted that these photos are allowed here, it is the semi-poetic additions that caught my attention. “as it snows” . . . “wearing a blue sharwal khamis” . . .

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 7, 2008 | Reply

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