The above photo was taken on January 20th, 2013 in Nino, Mali. The picture has attracted a significant amount of publicity from internet communities, and more importantly, the French military brass. This is due to the similarity between the soldier’s scarf and the mask worn by Ghost in 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
The photographer, Issouf Sanogo, described the scene of a helicopter landing, kicking up tons of dust. The soldier’s “pose” was not planned, as he was merely protecting his face from the dust while waiting for the chopper to land. The soldier’s mask has been described by the French Army brass as indicative of unacceptable behavior, citing that, “This image is not representative of France’s action in Mali.” It seems that the reputation of the violence in Modern Warfare 2 may have the French army worried that the scarf in the picture is representative of the soldier’s conduct in Mali being similar to that of the game. Wait…what?
The soldier’s identity is still anonymous, though the French military brass has been working to uncover it. The photographer noted that since the photo has gained attention, French soldiers have not been treating him any differently.