At Mandela funeral, Obama and Cameron squeeze in for selfie with Danish PM | world | Hindustan Times
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At Mandela funeral, Obama and Cameron squeeze in for selfie with Danish PM

world Updated: Dec 11, 2013 19:49 IST
Tania Goklany
barack obama

As world leaders gathered to pay their respect and honour the life of Nelson Mandela, South Africa's anti-apartheid hero, social media seemed more interested in a selfie featuring US president Barack Obama, Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British prime minister David Cameron.

The main concern on Twitter was that the superpower selfie, taken by Thorning-Schmidt with a smiling Obama and Cameron in the frame, was not in good taste at the sombre gathering.

This combo of pictures shows US president Barack Obama (R) and British prime minister David Cameron (L) posing for a photo with Denmark's prime minister Helle Thorning Schmidt (C) during the memorial service of South African former president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium (Soccer City) in Johannesburg. (AFP Photo)

The focus was also on US first lady Michelle Obama, who sat next to her husband wearing a grim look on her face, in a photograph captured by an AFP photographer at the event. As was Obama's handshake with Cuban president Raul Castro.

US president Barack Obama (L) shakes hands with Cuban president Raul Castro during the official memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. (AFP Photo)

The AFP photographer Roberto Schmidt who captured the picture said he feared the photo's global impact could overshadow what was "a celebration for an obviously exceptional person".

"The AFP team worked hard to display the reaction that South African people had for the passing of someone they consider as a father. We moved about 500 pictures, trying to portray their true feelings, and this seemingly trivial image overshadowed everything else," he said.

"I think it's a sad reflection on how sometimes we focus, as a society, on trivial everyday happenings."

But it was the Obama selfie that got tongues wagging and he was even compared to a bunch of teenagers by critics.

Newspaper too seem to join the social networking sites in making fun of the "inappropriate" selfie.

Telegraph's Iain Martin sarcastically wrote "Why let a fuddy-duddy thing like manners get in the way of a social media opportunity".

Gawker shrieked 'Obama in the Doghouse After Taking Too-Friendly Selfie with Danish PM.'

After the Obama selfie, Selfies at Funerals - a Tumblr designed to shame those who click egotistical snapshots of themselves at (funerals) occasions where they should ideally be at their best behaviour and stick to social decorum - shut down declaring nothing could top it.