January 25, 2005

Poster Boy for the West?

Since a number of interesting questions came up from yesterday’s electioneering post, I was wondering what other information the newswire photos might suggest about the Iraqi vote. 

One question is whether Iyad Allawi might be getting some campaign help from the west. 

I ask because the news photos show his posters to be significantly larger, more professionally constructed and installed, and having a smoother, more "Madison Avenue" look to their design.  (Of course, this might just be because he’s lived in the west, or because he has  governmental resources at his disposal.)

  Here are examples of the Allawi posters.  (Note that many haven’t fared very well.) 

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 Us.Yimg.Com P Afp 20050115 Capt.Sge.Bwq30.150105224556.Photo02.Photo.Default-384X266

 Us.Yimg.Com P Rids 20050123 I Ra431716051

Most of the other campaign posters I’ve seen have a more traditional look.  These designs usually depict a montage of images, sometimes mixing photos and art.  Usually, these posters also have a good deal of text, sometimes in different colors, styles and sizes.  Typically, they are just posted on a wall.

Here is a cross section from the rest of the field:

 Us.Yimg.Com P Ap 20050123 Capt.Bag10501231821.Iraq Bag105

 Us.Yimg.Com P Ap 20050124 Capt.Bag10501241356.Iraq Elections Bag105

 Us.Yimg.Com P Ap 20050124 Capt.Bag10601241350.Iraq Elections Bag106

I had a few thoughts on the Allawi posters. 

Doesn’t the bluish color — and the versions that just show his eyes, or a slice of his face  — seem a little ominous?  (Doesn’t it also seem shaded to make it look like he has a black eye?)  Perhaps the design plays on two levels:  It uses a strongman image to appeal to the hope for greater security.  At the same time, it promotes a dark side, suggesting the kind of intimidation the Iraqi people have been trained to obey. 

Could the sophistication of the design argue for the fact that Allawi — our inside man — has had some "Rove caliber" support?

(image 1: REUTERS/Ali Jasim ; image 2: REUTERS/Atef Hassan; image 3: AFP/Ali al-Saadi; image 4: REUTERS/Ali Jasim ; image 5: REUTERS/Atef Hassan); image 6: REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra ; image 7: REUTERS/Atef Hassanimage 8: REUTERS/Atef Hassan; image 9: AP Photo/Samir Mizban; image 10: AP Photo/Samir Mizban)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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