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Letters on Explosives, Redux



kids were in bomb shelters for days. city is a ghost town.

only poor people stayed

a new army unit arrived, kids were bored, went out with parents to look

there were TWELVE photographers there

and they egged the kids on

the kids are low class, not educated, have never met a Lebanese, just want to live their lives, don't understand why Lebanon attacked their home, etc.

the photographers told them "hey, your cousins in america will see you!"

mostly foreign photographers

so the kids, who were bored and restless and had been cooped up in bomb shelters for 5 days, took the felt markers and drew messages to nasrallah

there were no cries of hatred toward lebanese

and a big problem is that the israeli tv does not show dead lebanese. it shows destroyed buildings, but not dead bodies. so no one has a face of the dead in their minds. too aware of our own suffering, etc.

make sense?


From here.

Thanks to E (scarlet_arts) for hunting this down.

Now, I'm not sure how true this is, as those girls don't look so poor and uneducated to me, especially given that they're writing on the bombs quite neatly. But the part about the photographers was a point that Andrew Macrea (andrewmacrae) made yesterday, and one that I'm more than happy to agree with. To me what made the images so depressing was not that the girls didn't see anything wrong with it, but rather that here was three girls who didn't know better, and they were sitting round with markers and writing over explosives, and not one of the adults around them thought, "Maybe we're not teaching the right thing here."

Comments

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girliejones
Jul. 20th, 2006 06:57 am (UTC)
You know, I've been thinking a lot about this. And I can't get my head around humanity. And the things they get stirred up about and the things they let fuzz into the blurr of "normal". NOT to take away from this and what is going on in any way whatsoever ... but ... let's say 300-400 people have been killed in this so far, both sides? In Iraq its a quiet day if only 30 innocent civilians get ripped apart by car bombs. Every day since when 2003? TWO tsunamis happened this week but we've done them, they're boring now. We actually pay farmers in the western world to not farm their earth or to dump their food in order to keep food prices high but we let children starve in Africa and South America. All this we know happens but we go on everyday. we know that the average life expectancy of Indigenous people in Australia is half of a white persons and that women are beaten and raped in some of these communities and we turn a blind eye.

We accept so much cruelty against each other in this world on a daily basis. Why is *that* the image that is the most shocking? Why not women who help their young sons into vests with bombs on it and who then go and cash their US $50k?
benpeek
Jul. 20th, 2006 07:20 am (UTC)
Why is *that* the image that is the most shocking? Why not women who help their young sons into vests with bombs on it and who then go and cash their US $50k?

because the girls have an air of innocence around them. that they don't know what they're doing is a problem. that they don't know, really,t hat the bombs will fall and rip into people. that these girls are the next generation of israeli people, and they're drawing innocently on bombs, while this current generation sits round and takes photos.

all those other things bother me, you know. but like this photo, i can't do anything about them. i am utterly powerless in this world.
girliejones
Jul. 20th, 2006 07:28 am (UTC)
see, that's quite interesting. You assume that they don't know because little girls like that here would never think of something like that. Its very very very different there. I didn't realise how tense and stressed you live in your ordinary (not in "war type situation") in Israel on a daily basis. You are taught as soon as you get to the country and as soon as you are old enough to comprehend - not to stand next to a rubbish bin on the street, not to pick anything up off the ground (a bomb can even look like a toy or a pen), if something looks suspicious assume it is and execute escape plan (ie get the hell out) etc etc. I lived there for 8 months and *often* my daily routine was interrupted because streets or areas or building were evacuted due to bomb threats or suspicious objects.

Innocence doesn't really exist there - that's just lighting and camera angle here.
benpeek
Jul. 20th, 2006 07:37 am (UTC)
i think there's a difference between being knowledgable about 'people' and not 'enemies' that are being targeted when you're a kid. you're much more accepting of a line that 'this bombs will attack our enemies and protect you' when you're a kid, no matter your environment. it's hwen you get older that you learn to question these things. but still, i see your point, and i imagine i do imagine these girls as being of a different innocence than they might really have.

but i think it's that innocence in them that sells the image to us, real or otherwise. unless of course you've got a different take on the image.
girliejones
Jul. 20th, 2006 07:39 am (UTC)
but i think it's that innocence in them that sells the image to us, real or otherwise. unless of course you've got a different take on the image

*absolutely*! which likely was andrewmacrae's point. I guess its the ability to see all sides and understand all takes on it that eventually means you fling your hands up in the air and see this is never ever gonna end. We're all in too deep now.
benpeek
Jul. 20th, 2006 07:43 am (UTC)
yeah, i've pretty much thrown my hands up. ain't nothing ever going to solve all these problems, short of everyone dying. no problems for the dead, or so i hear.
girliejones
Jul. 20th, 2006 07:45 am (UTC)
its like that on a bad day.
mevennen
Jul. 20th, 2006 09:10 am (UTC)
The comments you pointed to mainly seem to be people uttering their particular entrenched party lines and no one listening to anyone else, as usual.

The girls' appearance: poverty isn't necessarily as affected by dress as one might think. People - especially women - often take pride in dressing as well as they can if they're poor. I used to live in a place which had a Tajik refugee camp at the back - they were living in Soviet metal containers about 6 foot square and once I saw a girl in an evening dress and a boy in a tux emerge from one of them. They dressed better than I did.
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Jul. 20th, 2006 11:06 am (UTC)
I mainly wanted to point out that every image tells a lie. Some lies tell the truth, and other lies are just propaganda.

yeah, i got that. though i think rju took it to be more pro-israeli than i did.
benpeek
Jul. 20th, 2006 11:03 am (UTC)
The comments you pointed to mainly seem to be people uttering their particular entrenched party lines and no one listening to anyone else, as usual.

yeah, that's what it turned into. i wrote the 'interesting' bit only after reading the first couple of comments, before it turns into just this argument that goes round and round. so i deleted the interesting bit. no more clicky advice.

as for the girls poorness, you may indeed be right. but i thought saying they were poor and uneducated seemed... i don't know, a bit of a judgement call? so i had my doubts. but it could indeed be that way.
mevennen
Jul. 20th, 2006 12:05 pm (UTC)
>as for the girls poorness, you may indeed be right. but i thought saying they were poor and uneducated seemed... i don't know, a bit of a judgement call? so i had my doubts. but it could indeed be that way.

Sure, point taken. It's just impossible to tell sometimes.
bodhichitta0
Jul. 25th, 2006 03:54 pm (UTC)
I can't think they really knew. I don't know how old these girls are, but as a parent I can tell you until about the age of 12, the cause and effect thing doesn't really kick in. Especially if being egged on by an adult, I can't help but think these kids either "just" thought the bombs were destroying buildings or maybe not even thinking about that at all--just expressing what had been expressed to them without internalizing it at all.

I know I am an optimist and maybe I am naive, but I can't think they really understood what they were doing or for that matter, the true tragedy of what is happening.
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