I’ve been a fan of TEDxVancouver for several years now. I also photographed the event for fun a few years ago. This year, I offered to join the small group of volunteer photographers for two reasons. First, I always welcome the opportunity to showcase my photos. But I also wanted to hear Mohamed Fahmy speak. I’ve been drawn to this brave, passionate and articulate man and his struggles over the past few years.
Mr. Fahmy, you may recall, is the award-winning Egyptian-Canadian journalist and author, and former Egypt Bureau Chief of Al-Jazeera International who in 2013 was wrongly imprisoned in Egypt for more than 400 days for allegedly collaborating with and airing “false news” on the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. He was finally pardoned by the Egyptian government in September of this year.
Here’s his conversation with host Riaz Meghji.
And here’s what I was able to capture on camera.
The capacity crowd was mesmerized, and Mr. Fahmy was given a standing ovation at the end of the interview. But it wasn’t all seriousness.
Near the end of the session, Riaz asked whom Mohamed would like to play him if a movie were to be made on his life. Knowing that George Clooney’s wife Amal Clooney was one of his lawyers, the audience broke up. Mr. Fahmy smiled, and said that he was grateful for everything the Clooney family has done for him – and left it at that. Riaz got a further round of laughter by offering to stand in if George was too busy! It was a welcome moment of light-heartedness during an intense discussion.
I’m thankful that this man who has suffered so much trauma can now enjoy a new life here in Vancouver, where he’s a Global Reporting Journalist in Residence at UBC. And I’ll never forget what a privielge it was to be there to capture these moments.
But there’s more!
This was hands-down the best TEDxVancouver I’ve attended, so I’ll also be showcasing some of the other speakers who enthralled me, motivated me and moved me to tears and laughter.