National Geographic photo of Cairo's 'informal neighbourhoods' provokes mixed reactions

Ahram Online , Thursday 16 Nov 2017

National Geographic magazine's Instagram account @natgeo is followed by over 82 million users and features photos from all around the world

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Cairo's 'ashwayat' (poor neighborhood) posted by the National Geographic in the magazine's official Instagram account @natgeo. Photo taken by the magazine's photographer Rana Effendi, @renaeffendiphoto on Instagram.

National Geographic magazine posted a photo on Monday depicting rooftops of Cairo's 'ashwayats' (informal neighbourhoods) on its official Instagram account @natgeo, eliciting both positive and negative feedback.

The photo, taken by Istanbul-based National Geographic photographer Rana Effendi (@ranaeffendiphoto), is accompanied by a caption that reads: "Sheep, goats, and chickens are kept on the rooftops of these unfinished homes in Cairo’s ‘ashwayats,’ or informal neighborhoods."

Less than a day after the photo was posted, it gained over 300,000 likes by Instagram users and almost 2,000 comments.

Users shared varying opinions about the photo, some expressing disappointment at National Geographic's choice to feature "the bad part of the country," as user @kamal_alhinai973 put it.

User @rodyousef concurred, stating that “any country [has two] sides, and I see [that] you love to publish only the bad side.”

Others, however, approved of the publication's choice, as it depicts "yet another face to Egypt, other than the fact that Egypt is only pyramids and the Sphinx, and [other than the idea that] we Egyptians use the camel as the only form of transportation," @fatemasrag wrote.

The photo’s caption reads that "Egypt’s population growth has spiked in the past decade with most pressures falling on the greater Cairo, its population of over 20 million makes it one of the largest metropolises in the world."

"While the demand for new housing grows exponentially, chaotic construction not only takes over green spaces and farmlands, but also threatens the city’s cultural heritage."

Several Instagram users also praised the issues raised by the photo and its caption, including the country's population spike, the feeling of vulnerability in life, and other problems facing humanity that are yet to be resolved.

National Geographic regularly posts photos on Instagram taken by the magazine's photographers based all around the world.

The photographs touch on many subjects, from urban and industrial structures to nature and people, delivering the most captivating moments of this world's life to over 82 million @natgeo followers.

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