July 10, 2007
A bridge area
We pulled up at the side of the raised road where more than 200 people were taking shelter from surging flood waters an hour's drive outside Khartoum.
Fifteen minutes later, two uniformed members of the civil defence forces walked up and asked to see my photo pass.
At this point of the story you should know that all photographers - tourists as well as journalists - need to have a special pass to take photos in Sudan. The press one allows you to take photos of anything apart from "prohibited areas", military areas, airports, bridges or dams. The tourist one, I've heard, also bans photos of "defamatory" subjects - things that might make Sudan look bad - dirt and poverty and so on.
Back at the flood, the officer spent two minutes looking at my card, then said "No photos. I think there is a bridge here". I did a quick scan of the landscape - 360 degrees of flat, flat plains, flood water and a distant mosque. No bridge. "Where is the bridge," I asked? "Down there," he said, pointing down the flat, flat, featureless road. "But there isn't a bridge there," I said, grinning madly. (Quick tip. In situations like these, never get angry. It doesn't work.) "Yes," he answered. "But this is a bridge area."
Posted by aheavens at July 10, 2007 3:29 PM