Wednesday, December 14, 2005

"Their propaganda machine is pretty darn intense"

"You got Arabic television stations that are constantly just pounding America, you know, saying, `America is fighting Islam. Americans can't stand Muslims. This is a war against a religion'...It's difficult. I mean, their propaganda machine is pretty darn intense. And so we're constantly sending out messages. We're constantly trying to reassure people."--George W. Bush, December 13, 2005

The caption: "Yasser Abdul-Hussein, 5, the son of slain Iraqi Sheik Abdul-Salam Abdul-Hussein cries during his father's funeral prossesion in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday." [The AP photo is credited to Karim Kadim.] I saw this photo next to Tim Harper's piece in the Toronto Star. Is this what you consider propaganda, W? Funny...maybe you'd better check with The Lincoln Group.

Pictures like these tell the real story of Iraq. Did anyone catch Canadian photojournalist Rita Leistner on The Hour, last week? Her pictures from Iraq were really haunting--particularly the women's psychiatric hospital in Baghdad. Rita and three of her peers have pooled their work into a new book, "Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq." I got a chance to hear Rita and one of her co-authors (Kael Alford) on The Majority Report, last week (you can listen to them here; their interview appears ~1/3 through the show). I hope those dudes at The Hour get their website up-to-date and post Rita's segment.

You may have seen Kael Alford in the CBC documentary "Beyond Words: Photographers of War." If you missed it the first time, you can catch it again Sunday, Dec 18 at 8pm EST (or Thursday, Dec 22 at 10pm EST). Here are some of Kael's thoughts on being a 'war photographer':
I thought I could illuminate things for people. If people understood what war looks like, they wouldn't want to have any part of it. I also thought that well, if we understood the process of war, why we go to war and how we get there, then we can understand how to disentangle the lead-up to war and use diplomacy and other means to solve problems. So I thought this is a good way to make the world a better place. I haven't given up that idealistic hope.


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