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Archive for July 14th, 2006

not normal

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I’ve been thinking quite a bit about images like this one, iconic expressions of our era. The pillar of smoke rising at a distance (we’re often on top of a building? telephoto…) Never humans in the frame, or rarely. Or then there are those of this sort:


Very familiar, right? The neighbors pitching in, the pile of rubble that somehow, minutes ago, was a free-standing structure. The perspectival disorder – is the camera level or the house in the background, on the right?

There’s a temporality implicit in the “standard” set of images we are given after a bomb attack. Something that I’m thinking about – not ready yet.

But for now, a blog that’s worth a thousand photos (via Le Colonel Chabert):

Newest update, it’s 4:26am, Israelis are attacking the city, Saida, from sea. They are targeting the bridge that connects to Saida.

Another really loud bomb. My heart is racing. I can only pretend to be brave.

Everything that is happening now is because Israel is trying to wipe out any trace of Hizballah in Lebanon. In the process of doing all this, they have wiped out our infrastructure. Our roads, bridges, etc., civilian homes, innocent lives.

It’s 4:32am and I have a knot in my stomach. I am praying they don’t hit the electricity. I want my Internet. I think it’s the only thing that will help me stay normal.

Latest update: 9 missile raids into Dahiyeh in the last hour. There are now several parts of Beirut without electricity.

I am praying for the people in Dahiyeh… Another really really loud bomb. I guess that makes it 10 now.

I am angry now. The things that cross your mind… I just set up a new installation last week, now, noone will get to see it.

I was just about ready to launch an international residency program here… Not going to happen now.

Was just planning to start a family… who wants to get pregnant now?

Ladies and gentlemen, I did not want to burden you with the troubles of war but I think it is really important that the world knows what is going on. We are under attack by Israel. It is unjust and unfair. I wonder what the media coverage is like out there.

All this must end. Israel must be stopped. This is so unjust and unfair. Everything we’ve worked on for the past 10 years is gone now. So, so, so unjust and unfair. We had so many cultural events planned for the summer… exhibits… concerts… plays, etc. — all gone.

Dear friends, pray for us. For this madness to end. Pray for the Lebanese people to stick through this together and not lose their cool.

Believe it or not, the sun is beginning to rise and I actually hear birds chirping.

With love,
Zena el-Khalil

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Written by adswithoutproducts

July 14, 2006 at 10:20 pm

Posted in blogs, teevee, war

how to talk to your kids about war

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McCain was just on CNN, doing his tough, sensible guy schtick, and pointing all the arrows toward Syria and Iran. TV right now is a stream of talking heads, anchors, and politicians doing roughly the same.

Just a few of Wolf Blitzer’s references last night during the first two hours of his show.

BLITZER: This hour, breaking news from the Middle East. The crisis there growing more volatile and dangerous by the minute. Israel’s ambassador to the United States is calling a rocket attack on the northern Israeli port city of Haifa a major, major escalation. That’s his words. And he’s warning Iran and Syria that they are playing with fire for supporting Hezbollah militants and that those nations will face consequences.

BLITZER: I want to move onto Iraq, but what I hear you saying is that as the Iranians feel the heat on their nuclear program, they’re reacting by maybe encouraging their allies in Hezbollah or Hamas to take these kinds of actions, sort of to show that they have some muscle as well.

BLITZER: I don’t know if you heard my interview with the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, just now in THE SITUATION ROOM, but he made the point — he was pointing a direct finger at Iran, saying that the Iranians who are under enormous pressure because of their own nuclear program may be using their influence with Hezbollah and Hamas to up the ante elsewhere, to show that they have some influence in that part of the world as well. Do you see Iran and/or Syria involved in this escalating tension?

BLITZER: Rockets fired from Lebanon reach deep into Israel. Israel is blasting right back, pounding hundreds of targets in Lebanon. And still, two Israelis soldiers are missing in Lebanon.

Now Israel fears Hezbollah guerillas could take them to Iran.

BLITZER: We heard in the last hour the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, make a very similar point, that the Iranians are trying to deflect attention from their own nuclear program, the criticism it’s facing by, perhaps, using its influence with Hezbollah and Hamas to change the subject, to show that they have a card as well.

But let me rephrase the question. What can you do, Israel, against Syria and Iran, if, in fact, as you suggest, they are responsible for this situation? Because so far, what we’ve seen are attacks against various Hezbollah targets or other targets in Lebanon.

BLITZER: One of your Israeli colleagues today in Jerusalem suggested that they had indications that the Hezbollah was going to try to transfer those two kidnapped Israeli soldiers to Iran.

Is that true?

BLITZER: This just coming in to CNN from the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying this, according to Iranian State Television. “If the Zionist regime commits another stupid move and attacks Syria, this will be considered like attacking the whole Islamic world and this regime will receive a very fierce response.” The Iranian president quoted as saying that in a telephone conversation earlier with the Syrian Bashar al-Assad. The situation clearly heating up.

BLITZER: Now the latest on the escalating situation in the Middle East. Two Israeli soldiers are still missing in Lebanon and Israel fears Hezbollah guerrillas could take them to Iran. Now Iran’s foreign ministry is denying that the Israeli soldiers will be brought there. Also, Israel has now hit the main highway linking Beirut to Damascus.

See what I’m saying? War starts between Israel and Lebanon, and our nightly news is entirely dominated by talk of Iran and to a lesser extent Syria.

Just as, immediately after 9/11 (relatively speaking), the airwaves were engulfed with speculation about whether we should head to Iraq, Israel’s incursion into Lebanon has provoked a torrent of speculation here (in the US, on our cable news channels) about what is to be done about Syria and Iran.

It’s not good. We’ve been here before. The mass media’s self-chosen role seems to be to warm the American populace up, to prepare them for what is to come, to chatter along about things that are not happening now, but will soon, until they become inevitable, preordained, necessary. The media always somehow knows what’s next. We are push polled on a nightly basis by our media, “What do you think about invading Iraq / Iran / Syria?” until we’ve got so much idle talk floating around in our heads that the initial question – how we got to Iran from Israel – Lebanon – has slipped down the memory hole.

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Written by adswithoutproducts

July 14, 2006 at 10:11 am

Posted in distraction, teevee, war