informazione dal medio oriente
    information from middle east
    المعلومات من الشرق الأوسط

[ home page] | [ tutte le notizie/all news ] | [ download banner] | [ ultimo aggiornamento/last update 28/08/2019 00:45 ] 104605

english italiano

  [ Subscribe our newsletter!   -   Iscriviti alla nostra newsletter! ]  


Uruknet on Alexa

End Gaza Siege
End Gaza Siege


:: Segnala Uruknet agli amici. Clicka qui.
:: Invite your friends to Uruknet. Click here.

:: Segnalaci un articolo
:: Tell us of an article

What we see in images of war
Helen Redmond reviews an exhibit of war photography at the Brooklyn Museum.

Helen Redmond

February 1, 2014

IMAGES OF war evoke the entire gamut of human emotion. Photos of bodies blown to bits, the vacant stare of a bloodied soldier smoking a cigarette, tortured bodies, emaciated prisoners in concentration camps and official portraits of four-star generals force people to confront the reality of war.

War photography has the power to whip up patriotism and xenophobia or to expose the brutality of war and turn people against it. Susan Sontag wrote in her seminal work On Photography:

Photographs furnish evidence. Something we hear about, but doubt, seems proven when we're shown a photograph of it. In one version of its utility, the camera record incriminates. Starting with their use by the Paris police in the murderous roundup of Communards in June 1871, photographs became a useful tool of modern states in the surveillance and control of their increasingly mobile populations. In another version of its utility, the camera record justifies. A photograph passes for incontrovertible proof that a given thing happened.

Unfortunately, the evidence of war that is presented in the exhibition War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath at the Brooklyn Museum serves to glorify, justify and sanitize U.S. wars.

Technological advances in photography have led to a world that bombards us with images. Every aspect of life is photographed and filmed--from mundane photos of food on Facebook to x-rated amateur videos on the Internet. Cellphone cameras capture billions of images, as do "security" cameras placed in more and more public spaces by law enforcement agencies.

But there is one exception. The 21st century American surveillance state controls which images of war are seen. The censoring starts with the Pentagon policy of banning the photographing of dead or wounded service members and of coffins. Photographers who embed with American troops must sign Department of Defense Directive 5122.5, a contract that prohibits the publication of any image depicting a wounded or dead soldier.

In a rare move for the stenographic, mainstream media, the Associated Press (AP) defied the ban and published a photo of a dying soldier in Afghanistan, but not before former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called the president of the AP and asked him not to.

From the perspective of the U.S. government and the military generals, it's crucial that the barbarism of war and especially the bodies of dead American soldiers are never seen because they could turn the public against war. During the Vietnam war, body bags, coffins, footage of fighting and the iconic image of a young, naked Vietnamese girl burned by napalm were shown on the nightly news. The images helped build the antiwar movement.

With each new conflict, though, the Pentagon has added additional restrictions on what can be photographed.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

AS THE world's reigning military superpower, with billions spent to wage warfare, the U.S. is involved in covert and overt wars all over the globe and is responsible for the deaths of millions of people and the destruction of entire countries. Therefore, the need to glorify those who fight the wars, to justify the invasions and occupations--the "humanitarian interventions"ľand to sanitize the slaughter is enormous.

The first photos in War/Photography are of Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Towers on fire. Next to them in a display case is a deck of "Iraq's Most Wanted Playing Cards." There's a photo of General Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan next to a photo of a still-burning and smoking Ground Zero. The juxtaposing of these images is to vindicate the invasion and occupation of both countries.

American soldiers are shown under attack, sleeping in their fighting holes, on patrol and in Tim Hetherington's photo, horsing around half-naked. His shot reveals the homoerotic antics of soldiers that are rarely seen.

In an aerial photograph by Carolyn Coles, we see dozens of Iraqi men detained face down in the dirt in neatly spaced rows, wrists bound in white plastic handcuffs by U.S. Marines.

The photo of Marine sergeant Tyler Ziegel by Nina Berman is a ghastly showstopper. He is shown in a classic wedding snapshot in decorated dress blues with his new bride who holds a bouquet of red roses. Ziegel's entire head is unrecognizable; it was blasted and burned in a car bombing in Iraq in 2006. His severely disfigured skull has no ears, eyebrows, eyelashes, lower lip or hair, and his nose is two black holes. When children asked Ziegel where his facial features are, he replied, "The bad guys took 'em." Thick, crooked layers of pink and white scar tissue cover his face. Nineteen operations later, Ziegel died from an overdose of alcohol and heroin.

These photos and dozens more, depict soldiers as benevolent, nonviolent and vulnerable and who are just doing a job or letting off steam. The images convey a complicated mix of contradictory ideas about men who are trained to kill: they're victims, their actions are inspirational, heroic and full of sacrifice.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

BUT WHERE is the other side? That's the main problem with the exhibition. The curator left out images of the other side of war--the victims of U.S. aggression.

Where are the photos that show American soldiers beating and sexually humiliating Iraqis in Abu Ghraib prison? Why not display the shots of a smiling Lynndie England with a groveling, nude prisoner on a leash or of Charles Graner grinning and standing next to a pyramid of stripped naked men wearing pointy, green hoods?

The iconic photo of a hooded prisoner standing on a box, arms outstretched with electrodes attached to his fingers isn't part of the exhibit. But a great print by Yuri Kozyrev captures the truth and torture of that image. A wall mural in Sadr City shows the prisoner in Abu Ghraib next to the Statue of Liberty with a hood over her head. Little boys, seemingly oblivious to the mural, sit on the wall and play soccer.

There are no photos of the civilians murdered by the U.S. "Kill Team" in Afghanistan. Mark Boal broke the story for Rolling Stone, writing:

Then, in a break with protocol, the soldiers began taking photographs of themselves celebrating their kill. Holding a cigarette rakishly in one hand, [Andrew] Holmes posed for the camera with [Gul] Mudin's bloody and half-naked corpse, grabbing the boy's head by the hair as if it were a trophy deer. [Jeremy] Morlock made sure to get a similar memento.

Rolling Stone published 17 photos showing the atrocities committed by the Kill Team.

Since 2001, the U.S. has bombed six Afghan wedding parties. In one strike, 30 people were killed. Where are the photos of dead brides, grooms and guests?

Kenneth Jarecke's photograph, "Incinerated Iraqi," is one of the few photos that show the consequences of U.S. aerial bombardment. His lens captures a frozen-in-time, burned-to-a-crisp Iraqi soldier in the front seat of a wrecked convoy truck. It is both mesmerizing and terrifying. Words under the photo explain that it wasn't published in the U.S. because, "it was deemed too graphic for distribution."

In an interview with the BBC, Jarecke said of the censoring of the shot, "Images like that are meant to cause a debate in the public: 'Is this something we want to be involved in?'"

Curiously, there isn't one photo of antiwar demonstrations. War always provokes protest and to exclude those images is a deeply dishonest omission that leaves the viewer with a sense that humanity doesn't care about the victims of war and that war is unstoppable.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

ISRAEL, THE most rapacious warmonger in the Middle East, also gets a pass in War/Photography. Since the birth of the Israeli state in 1948, the Zionists have never stopped provoking wars or invading Arab countries, nor has it stopped killing Palestinians. But from the one-sided presentation of prints of this conflict, the viewer wouldn't know that.

A picture by Rachel Papo shows seven women standing at a military kiosk counter, guns casually slung over their backs. They're buying snacks and drinks. It's a rare photo in the exhibition that shows women soldiers.

If you've ever wondered what a bus looks like after it's been completely blown up, wonder no more. Ziv Koren's overhead view of a bus full of Israeli passengers shows the grisly outcome. It's as if the bomb blast forced the vehicle through a paper shredder. The aftermath is confetti composed of human remains splattered inside and outside of a twisted metal skeleton. Bright red luggage dots the bus and street. The driver, his arms folded on his chest, is slumped over, dead behind the wheel.

The words that accompany the photo explain: "The widespread dissemination of this picture provoked such outrage from Israeli citizens that laws were passed against publishing images of Israeli casualties from terrorist attacks."

These images portray soldiers and Israeli citizens as either neutral actors or victims.

Nowhere in War/Photography are there images of dead Palestinians who make up the vast majority of casualties. There are no photos showing the Israel army crushing the Palestinian Intifada or the savage assault on Gaza in 2008 called "Operation Cast Lead." Over 1,400 Palestinians, including 300 children, were killed and entire neighborhoods were reduced to rubble. There is no shortage of photographs that document Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people but they are missing in action on the walls of the exhibition.

In the last room of War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and its Aftermath, viewers are encouraged to write comments on white sticky notes embossed with a red poppy. It is the "remembrance poppy" which has been used since 1920 to commemorate soldiers who have died in battle.

The walls are covered with angry denunciations of war. One person wrote, "Don't say war is hell unless you've been there--USMC." And that is why we need photographs of war that tell the truth--that slip through the Pentagon and mainstream media censorship machinery. Because we can't all be there.


:: Article nr. 104605 sent on 03-feb-2014 16:20 ECT


:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

The section for the comments of our readers has been closed, because of many out-of-topics.
Now you can post your own comments into our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/uruknet

Warning: include(./share/share2.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/content/25/8427425/html/vhosts/uruknet/colonna-centrale-pagina-ansi.php on line 385

Warning: include(): Failed opening './share/share2.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/local/php5_6/lib/php') in /home/content/25/8427425/html/vhosts/uruknet/colonna-centrale-pagina-ansi.php on line 385

[ Printable version ] | [ Send it to a friend ]

[ Contatto/Contact ] | [ Home Page ] | [Tutte le notizie/All news ]

Uruknet on Twitter

:: RSS updated to 2.0

:: English
:: Italiano

:: Uruknet for your mobile phone:

Uruknet on Facebook

:: Motore di ricerca / Search Engine

the web

:: Immagini / Pictures


The newsletter archive

L'Impero si è fermato a Bahgdad, by Valeria Poletti

Modulo per ordini


:: Newsletter

:: Comments

Haq Agency
Haq Agency - English

Haq Agency - Arabic

AMSI - Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq - English

AMSI - Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq - Arabic

Font size
1 2 3

:: All events


[ home page] | [ tutte le notizie/all news ] | [ download banner] | [ ultimo aggiornamento/last update 28/08/2019 00:45 ]

Uruknet receives daily many hacking attempts. To prevent this, we have 10 websites on 6 servers in different places. So, if the website is slow or it does not answer, you can recall one of the other web sites: www.uruknet.info www.uruknet.de www.uruknet.biz www.uruknet.org.uk www.uruknet.com www.uruknet.org - www.uruknet.it www.uruknet.eu www.uruknet.net www.uruknet.web.at.it

:: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more info go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
::  We always mention the author and link the original site and page of every article.
uruknet, uruklink, iraq, uruqlink, iraq, irak, irakeno, iraqui, uruk, uruqlink, saddam hussein, baghdad, mesopotamia, babilonia, uday, qusay, udai, qusai,hussein, feddayn, fedayn saddam, mujaheddin, mojahidin, tarek aziz, chalabi, iraqui, baath, ba'ht, Aljazira, aljazeera, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, Palestina, Sharon, Israele, Nasser, ahram, hayat, sharq awsat, iraqwar,irakwar All pictures


I nostri partner - Our Partners:

TEV S.r.l.

TEV S.r.l.: hosting


Progetto Niz

niz: news management



digitbrand: ".it" domains


Worlwide Mirror Web-Sites:
www.uruknet.info (Main)
www.uruknet.us (USA)
www.uruknet.su (Soviet Union)
www.uruknet.ru (Russia)
www.uruknet.it (Association)
www.uruknet.mobi (For Mobile Phones)
www.uruknet.org.uk (UK)
www.uruknet.de (Germany)
www.uruknet.ir (Iran)
www.uruknet.eu (Europe)
wap.uruknet.info (For Mobile Phones)
rss.uruknet.info (For Rss Feeds)

Vat Number: IT-97475012153