Thursday, November 08, 2007


How Images Become Icons

Glenn Reynolds posts a great round-up at Instapundit, cataloging a deluge of blog reactions to what many are already suggesting will become an iconic image for our efforts in Iraq.

By now, everybody’s probably seen this photo by Michael Yon, showing Iraqi Muslims and Christians working together to restore a cross atop a Christian church in Baghdad.

Here’s what Yon reports along with the photo:
A Muslim man had invited the American soldiers from “Chosen” Company 2-12 Cavalry to the church, where I videotaped as Muslims and Christians worked and rejoiced at the reopening of St John’s, an occasion all viewed as a sign of hope.

The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. ” Thank you, thank you,” the people were saying. One man said, “Thank you for peace.” Another man, a Muslim, said “All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother.” The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers.
Among the many reactions to Yon’s photo, Anchoress observes how such unfiltered images from real reporters like Yon, reveal how little we really know:
It’s one of those photographs that takes the breath - there is a feeling of cognitive dissonance. Some of us on one side - who perhaps have never understood why we went to Iraq in the first place - may look at this picture and say, “but…but…Iraq is a hell-hole, an unmanageable, unwinnable, place of civil strife, death and occupied people who hate us!”

Some on the other side, who - overwhelmed with images of burned flags and screaming mobs - may have forgotten the humanity of the Iraqi people (people we let down once before, and who had reason to distrust us and our commitment) may see these Muslims and Christians raising a cross together, in a language of brotherhood and gratitude, and say, “but…but…all those people are bad people…”

Some of us will discover that we have said or thought both things at one time or another. It’s not important which one of those people you are. It’s important, though, to get a sense of what is going on over there, where our people are serving, living and dying. It’s important to realize that where there is danger and tragedy, there is also progress and hope. In the major media outlets, we get big servings of the first two and very niggardly helpings of the latter. We need a more balanced diet of information.In truth, we know so little. So much of the information we get from Iraq is filtered and delivered from “safe” locations. So little of it is unfiltered and delivered from the Iraqi streets.
In a related vein, IraqPundit asks and answers the question that gets begged (via Bob Krumm):
Frankly, I don’t understand why so many mock us for wanting a future for Iraq. Is your hatred for George Bush so great that you prefer to see millions of civilians suffer just to prove him wrong?

It really comes down to this: you are determined to see Iraq become a permanent hellhole because you hate Bush. And we are determined to see Iraq become a success, because we want to live.
Doing his part to draw attention to the image of Iraqi perseverance, Chris Muir includes it in today’s Day by Day.


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