Obama selfie at Mandela memorial

During Nelson Mandela’s memorial service yesterday, US President Barack Obama along with British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Danish counterpart were seen leaning their heads together for a selfie. The incident elicited much indignation.

David Cameron, Helle Thorning Schmidt and Barack Obama at Nelson Mandela's memorial service yesterday. Photograph: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

David Cameron, Helle Thorning Schmidt and Barack Obama at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service yesterday. Photo from The Guardian

Typing ‘selfie’ and ‘funeral’ on Google, one will  be greeted a host of faces, mostly teens, photographing themselves at an occasion of mourning and remembrance.

Is this a reflection of the casual, modern times in which we live?

Granted, Messrs Obama and Cameron and Ms Thorning-Schmidt were in a memorial service, not a funeral. Additionally, it was unlikely that they were taking the selfie during the ceremony. Their smiles may be reflecting the celebration of Mr Mandela’s life and achievements.

However, the celebration has been somewhat overshadowed by the international incident the world leaders have caused.

A panorama shot of the incident shows Mrs Obama, lips pursed, looking positively annoyed next to the three. Make of that what you will.

Mrs Obama looking somewhat annoyed with the three next to her

Mrs Obama looking somewhat annoyed with the three next to her. Photo from The New York Times

The righteous indignation of the public indicates that funeral selfies are still frowned upon. One would be reluctant to take a call or text openly at a funeral.

Memorials and funerals are a solemn affairs. Please put your mobiles away.

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