PAIN OF OTHERS
Eight months spent in Germany gazing at cigarette photos every day at the same time as the war in Ukraine was happening. The context of warning pictures and captions on cigarette packages did not provide me with any information about smoking's dangers. Over-anesthetized fictional images show mainly white people suffering from pain. Children lose their lives and shed tears. Women suffer grieving the loss of a loved one, and men die in agony from the consequences of being smokers. How can these over-stylized depictions possibly be helpful? Is it possible to feel empathy or fear toward these victims? are they not being presented similarly to war propaganda images and their narrative?
As an Egyptian smoker who lived in Germany for eight months, I consumed cigarettes daily. I also saw war photos daily, I asked myself what the difference was between warning photos on cigarettes and war images. How much of the imagery we see every day still shocks us or does it make?