Egyptian government promotes new constitution with Western faces

Three out of the five photos used to promote the Egyptian government's new draft constitution are stock images of Westerners

Max Benwell@max_benwell
Monday 16 December 2013 15:54
A 50-strong committee presented the draft constitution and its promotional poster on Saturday
A 50-strong committee presented the draft constitution and its promotional poster on Saturday

An American doctor, an Irish businesswoman, and a Western man with Down Syndrome – are these the new faces of Egypt? It is according to the posters used to promote the interim government’s “All Egyptians Constitution”.

Commissioned to promote their new draft constitution, which will be voted on in a two-day referendum next month, the poster features a bizarre selection of people.

Most notably, local media sources have revealed that three out of the five people portrayed in the poster are not even from Egypt, but are photos of white Westerners taken from stock photography sites.

The image of a man dressed as doctor has been revealed to be the same photo used for a company in Arizona that sells treatments for stretch marks. Likewise, the picture of a woman in a suit placed alongside the doctor has turned out to be a stock photo distributed under a free licence by the picture agency Getty, and has already appeared on an Irish businesswoman’s networking site.

The portrait of a young man with Down Syndrome has also been revealed to be a stock photo, used previously for an article about the condition on an American website.

Despite looking much more ”Egyptian” in comparison, questions have also been raised over the other two faces depicted on the poster. While the majority of Egyptian women wear a hijab, the elderly woman shown wears only a headscarf.

And the soldier on the right of the poster – which perhaps would serve as a more suitable face for Egypt’s new Government – lacks any of the facial hair favoured by most Egyptian men.

Adding to the embarrassment for the government, all of the people in the photos can be found by typing simple terms such as “doctor”, “businesswoman”, “Down Syndrome man”, “Egyptian soldier” and “fellah” (Arabic for peasant), into Google Image search.

When asked about the posters, Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour said he wasn’t sure where the posters came from. “I think they were funded by businessmen,” he said.

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