I won’t be posting pictures of the laborers in Doha. This is not because their blue and orange suits aren’t visually striking in the pitch night as they walk alongside busy highways or clean the extensive water features in Education City in the morning heat. Nor because I am uninterested in their story–the status of the men and women who built and maintain Doha is a fascinating and troubling one.
It is because the moment I lift my camera to take a photo, I feel like I am dehumanizing them, reducing their selves to a note on my blog. When I raise my camera, I ask myself if I would take that picture of a soccer mom cheering in Palo Alto or a priest ministering at CMU. If I would not, I cannot take that picture of laborers here.
I am walking a careful line. I find no value in preaching to my friends here about the status of laborers–goodness knows California has its own ill-treated working people–but even as I don’t ask those around me to change their behavior, I cannot conform mine. I try to put myself in their positions as often as possible. It is uncomfortable; it should be. But to continue to be me, I must continue to try.
“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”–Dom Helder Camara