The Thief


In a refugee camp even the smallest petty crime is a serious offense. To lose two bed sheets or some old clothes may seem like nothing for most people, but not if you have nothing else. However, does this mean that the thief should be treated inhumane? See the whole story on Øystein’s and my blog; Untold Stories.


About Otto von Münchow

Photographer based in Norway
This entry was posted in Photography, Photojournalism and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to The Thief

  1. Marie says:

    Powerful story.

  2. Dina says:

    This is a most impressive photo story, Otto, it makes me think twice about my views and actions. So important nowadays as we are showered with the opinion of others.
    God natt, min venn!

  3. Suzanne says:

    You are doing brilliant work here Otto. Your photos are heart breaking and help bring the plight of others to our attention. I really respect and admire what you doing in Ethiopia

  4. YellowCable says:

    Such a sad situation and to witness such event. I am speechless.

  5. Elaine- says:

    i don’t want to read the story as i’m sure it will hurt… i can see by the look of the thief that it hurts

  6. girlexpat says:

    Well, hello! It’s been much too long since I’ve stopped by to say hello. Happy Belated New Year. Like others have mentioned, the story is profound and thought provoking, you’re and inspiration.

  7. tonyalatorre says:

    in Uganda there is mob justice for thieves. They chase him down, stack tires over him, pour in gasoline and set him on fire. When someone ripped my necklace off my neck on the streets of Kampala, as he ran I was angry and sad, but I hoped he would escape the hand of mob justice. It’s not the answer. Revenge is God’s alone.

  8. suej says:

    A trragic story, Otto, and I can quite see why the two of you still wonder whether you could have done more/should have done less…..

  9. It’s interesting to imagine what has happened by looking at your one photo and then going to the other site to see how close I am. I’m on my way over there now.

  10. Truels says:

    This is what we did up here many years ago. But even though not everything we do is progress – the way we treat criminals now is much better than this …

  11. The conditions in refugee camps are such that it is impossible to form any opinion about people’s actions based on a moral/ethical framework of the ‘outside’ world. Acts of theft as well as violent retribution stem from the trauma and desolation people go through inside these camps. The poverty, sufferings and violence(of varied forms) often get the better of the inmates.
    Otto, in today’s world of excessive subjective journalism, it’s really nice to see your objective approach to the complex issue of crime and punishment. Thanks for sharing your work, Øystein and Otto.

    • I totally agree with you. It’s hard to come from the outside and morally judge a situation like this, particularly since you have to factor in so many variables such that does apply in a “normal” society, such as traumas, suffering, poverty, violenc – as you point to. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Uday.

  12. Andrew says:

    I see you say in a reply to a comment, above, Otto, that it was a difficult post — and that’s easy to imagine. You’ve dealt with it very well though, both here and on the companion blog.

    Thank you for your recent visit to my blog, where I’ve once again placed a link back to you here, to make up for the commenting system.

  13. Miss A says:

    Wooow … U are great with your photo stories

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