From the very second each and every one of us is born, we’re virtually tattooed, says Ahmed B. Ashmawy. The 24-year-old Egyptian who is an Architecture graduate teamed up with Colombian photographer Julián Velásquez to create a powerful photograph.
“Birth certificates, academic degrees, civil IDs and passports are all part of who you’re supposed to be and how you’re supposed to live, that’s the way it is, and that’s how people are going to treat you,” says Ashmawy on his viral Facebook post.
Even though Ashmawy says that’s how the world works, he refuses to accept it. “Why do some pieces of paper have to define us? Just because someone has a European passport, it doesn’t mean you, as a human being with an Egyptian passport, are less than them. We are all human beings, from flesh and bones and we’re living on the same planet,” he explains.
He continues to talk about the long and unfair procedures Egyptians, and other Arabs, have to go through in order to travel abroad. “I will never understand this. I will never understand how my friend from the States can just easily travel but I have to go through hell and come back to do the same. I have to go to Mogama3, then somewhere else where I need to get an irrelevant paper, then other one, then other one,” Ashmawy tells us. “This is exactly why I was inspired to create this photograph. It means so much to me. It shows the struggle we Arabs go through.”
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