By Dikembe Disembe
As a student on a US exchange programme, I visited Washington DC, stood outside the fence of White House and took a photo. Hundreds of other people were doing it, from everywhere around the world, people go to DC to stand outside those public buildings and take photos, at best.
DC tourism is fueled by people visiting public/government institutions. People visit the Hill (Capitol Hill), then the Mall (public monuments and memorials) then 1600 Penn Av (White House) etc.
Each year, the world visits DC to see American democracy. Here in Kenya, a high school student from Ndhiwa in Homa Bay visiting Nairobi for the first time cannot take photos in front of parliament because the parliament is a ‘protected area’.
He cannot take a photo outside state house because state house is a ‘protected area’. In mature democracies; the two houses are public houses.
They are the two main institutions of a nation’s democracy. Every time I walk in Nairobi and see ‘no photography’ sign on a public building, it really disgusts me. The public should be able to connect with public spaces.
The thinking that not photographing public buildings protects those buildings from terrorists is so stupid and idiotic. There is a man at the ICC charged with destroying some historical monuments in Timbuktu.
That’s his crime. It should be a national crime to deny people the right to enjoy the aesthetics of a nation’s democracy.