THEY are the pictures that whipped the world up into a righteous fury.
One shows a woman wrapped in a DIY burkini on a beach in Nice, France, surrounded and visibly interrogated by no fewer than four armed policemen.
The next shows the woman having to take off her tunic under the watchful eye of the cops, looming threateningly over her.
— #BlameBrexit (@ExposingBBC) August 26, 2016
“Forced to strip”, went one headline, retweeted tens of thousands of times.
The chorus on social media was deafening. The poor woman only wanted a bit of sun and a swim, dressed as she pleased, and is subjected to this disgusting affront.
It has become a frequent collective howl, the outrage at secular France’s decision to ban burkinis on more than a dozen beaches to calm religious tension.
Yet the pictures also tell another story.
Look closer, especially at the photo taken BEFORE the police show up.
One shows the woman seemingly sleeping, alone, lying directly on the sand.
She has no book, no sun cream, no beach bag. Her clothes are not suited to swimming.
Another shows her sitting quietly, looking around, as if waiting for the police to come. Hoping for the police to come?