14th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
Spectator of a Mevlevi Sema ceremony
My class's teaching assistant, a long-time Istanbul resident, mentioned that this demonstration of Sufi meditation was the equivalent of a Civil War reenactment in the US: devoid of real intentions and recreated for educational purposes. But it still felt uncomfortable to watch this hour-long "show" of what was supposed to be men praying, meditating, and connecting with G-d. Was my presence there truly appropriate? Was taking this photo appropriate? The scene is beautiful, yes, but is it acceptable to be a spectator to such a practice for entertainment without being an adherent? Where does the line of appropriation lie?
© Sarah Robinson.
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||Nov. 15, 2016, 11:03 a.m.