Teaching university level comes with its own benefits. One gets to go to places otherwise might not be possible or even thought of. The other day, we took a group of 14 students to Edhi house as part of their coursework. I accompanied another colleague to the Edhi center for children in Kharadar.
While the visit was eye-opening, I want to talk about something else. The need to live life through the camera. It was a disconcerting sight to see 14 cameras trained on the kids, even though we took with us one officially designated photographer. Every students had to use their own camera to get a picture that every other camera was taking.
When I think from the children’s point of view, I find it pretty humiliating. At that moment, I felt as if they were not humans, but rather inanimate objects to look at, to marvel, to observe. And then the obsession with selfies; selfies with children who have a lot missing in their lives – who might not even be interested in getting selfi-fied, selfies in different parts of the house, selfies on stairs, selfies where selfies were not even possible.
It is high time people learned when to turn off their camera and experience the moment. A trip to an orphanage or Edhi center for children should be a humility inducing experience, and not just another opportunity to practice your photography skills. It was pretty embarrassing to see total disregard for human emotions. Sympathy isn’t just enough. Empathy is what is expected.