Friday, December 7, 2012

A Restriction in Taking Pictures

It was 9 o’clock in the morning when I finished the cancellation of my husband’s visa from the Immigration Department. I was so happy it only took me less than 20 minutes to finish it. I don’t have to be absent in my work for the whole day. I went out of the Immigration Department and took a picture of their building. I had a nice photo. There were some taxis outside waiting for passengers. I ride with Mr. Ahmed’s Taxi. He is a friendly nice driver.

“Where are we going?” he asked.

“Please drop me in Muroor, from there I will tell you the directions.”

He started the taxi and drove. He asked me a question that scared me.

“Did you get a photo of the Immigration Department?”

“Yes, Why?


These are the exact words.

My eyes widened, and to my shock, I glanced at the side window and there was a police car. Really, there was a police car behind us! It was a stop sign and we were in the front row. In my mind I was already practicing what to say if the police would ask us to pull over in the next stop. I was already imagining surrendering the camera to them, going to the police station, even being deported. I was paranoid, and my heart was beating so fast, I could hear it like the beating of the drum.

When the traffic lights turned green the police car went straight while we had our U-turn. Thanks God they did not see me. Then Ahmed continued his story.

“Just last week, I had passengers, 2 European tourists. They took a picture of the Police GHQ inside my taxi. There was police car behind us and saw them. The police let us stop and we were escorted at the nearest taxi stand. The police asked me if I saw them took a picture. Of course I said NO because I was driving. I was also scared, but I actually saw them. The police said that it is not allowed to take photos of any Abu Dhabi Government Building and I have to tell this to my passengers. The police confiscated the tourists’ camera, asked for their passports and visa. The Europeans were brought to the police station. “

“I am so lucky that they did not see me.”

“Yes. I did not know about this rule before.”

I believed him. I deleted my photo of the Immigration Department, thinking stupidly that the police might track me if I post it on my FB. I was still paranoid. 

We were already in Muroor, I gave him the directions until we reached my house. I paid my bill.

“Thank you Mr. Ahmed. Have a nice day! No more government building photos.”

He smiled and left.

When I reached the office, I asked my boss about this rule and he confirmed. It is not allowed to take pictures of Abu Dhabi Government Buildings, unless you have a permit to do so.

Be careful my friends! It is better to be in the safe side.

 Photo Credit: by Mohamed Ibrahim
Abu Dhabi-OFW

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