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Photographer's Note

As many people that frequent TE and make their best to contribute to make it an unique community focused in Photography and knowing about the world through it, I am in shock and revolted with the temporary ban on George Grabarczyk (Polonaise). I have had little contact with him, although I find him one of the most talented and inspired photographers in this site and also a member that contributes much to make this site more interesting. He is certainly unorthodox, but I think that only the short minded with no sense of humour could understand his provocative writings as insulting.

The biggest (really bad tasted) irony is that the reason to punish him was a hot blooded reply (see the post before you read the discussion!) to a real insult done by someone who has been contributing much to the bad mood of many threads of the forums.

I have been trying to convince myself that the administrators of TE refrained themselves to take any action to shut up that disturbing member because they wanted to respect the freedom of speech. It was a bit irritating that nearly every thread where I participated trying to argue without loosing temper ended up locked(*), but I admit it was the only way to end useless bad mood discussions that only satisfied those (the plural here is just for the sake of political correctness) with less good intentions. Curiously, that person constantly involved in those discussions has no photos in TE and, as far as I remember, when I noticed him starting to appear in the forums, had posted only a couple of times in the last 18 months and only wrote a critique once in a while, very often just to provoke and/or insult.

Now that they have punished George, I confirm with no surprise that I was wrong, as the act of shutting down Polonaise account sounds much like an act of censorship.

[(*) The last one where that happened was one started by the author of the post above mentioned, which was by not means offensive, which denotes quite a good temper after what the other wrote.]

But the main issue here is not whom was punished; instead, what is really worrying is the fact the apparently sudden way that the act was carried out, that provokes the feeling that there is a Big Brother that can shut you up if you do something you weren't suppose to do even if you did it thinking in good faith that you didn't infringe any rule. I agree that in strict sense George broke the rules in his reply pointed above, but the punishment sounds too exaggerated specially taking in account the context.

This event would be equally revolting if the person involved was less known and was a much less active member or even if I didn't like him or his contributions at all. In the forums, ErikSven wisely quoted Voltaire: "I don't agree at all with your ideas, but I will fight, so that you will be able to express them".

Before this happened, I was already worried with the undeniable sense of discomfort that many of us are feeling lately in TE, which contrasts much with what the good mood that made me so addicted to this site, and already led many once very active members leaving and/or reducing much their activity. More than once I tried to appeal to people not reacting too emotionally to posts deleted by the moderators, or to more sickening threads in the forums, but I feel that it's like rowing against the stream and more than once I feel tempted to also abandon the ship. I didn't because of selfishness and addiction, but also because I think that while the real owners of the site can do anything they want with their site, this is something that what makes this site are its members' contributions, so in a certain way, we gained the right to be here as far as we respect the rules. We certainly owe much to the TE owners for offering us this place, but they also make profit with our participation and their business will go down if many of the active members leave. Don't see this as a menace, as I don't mean that, but if things go on worsening, TE will become just another photo site and if people start feeling that the "TE community" is decaying or is becoming something where they don't feel well, they will go somewhere else. Actually, that is already happening... Owners know about their business and they can do whatever they want with it, but I find strange that they don't seem to care much for their clients, which is what we, members, are. If you are thinking that I am wrong just because we don't pay anything, just remember that Google and Yahoo aren't the only lucrative businesses that don't rely on money payments by the users of the services they offer. Even before Internet showed up, much of the media business income comes from money that it isn't paid by the readers and viewers, so it is not even something really new.

About the photo:

This is a stone statue of Kala Bhairava, the Terrible, the Frighful or the Wrathful, the most terrifying (evil?) avatars (a kind of incarnation) of the Hindu god Shiva. It is located in the main square of the historic part of Kathmandu, Durbar square.

It wasn't easy to find a photo that could be loosely appropriate to post today. Maybe it is a good sign that I have so few photos featuring depressing themes. Maybe this one isn't so appropriate, namely because it is too much to insinuate that the site is haunted by an evil deity. Actually, I might have completely misunderstood what Bhairava represents, namely to the Newar people that adore him so much in the Kathmandu Valley. As usual in Hinduism, Bhairava represents many things, not necessarily evil, although frightful; sometimes he is referred as the god of time.

The name Shiva can mean "the auspicious, kind , gracious one", so let's hope that the Bhairava of TE turns himself into the common Shiva.

Location (latitude, longitude): 27.70464,85.30713

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Additional Photos by Jose Pires (stego) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4422 W: 612 N: 7301] (24132)
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