April 30, 2005

Higher Protection


Thursday, the NYT trumpeted the naming of the long-delayed Iraqi government.  Although the event was not visually noted on page 1, this three column wide photo stretched half the height of page A12. 

Obviously, the picture tells a story about security.  Besides our man on the roof, just count all the suits in sunglasses.  (You’d think that pose was the first thing they taught at “secret service” school.)

The image is also about the scale of the job ahead.  With Iraq’s ever increasing violence and political animosity, the photo reflects concern — likely as palpable in the Administration as in Baghdad — that the Jaafari government could end up as significant as a bunch of ants. 

With help coming from on high, it seems fair game to include an allusion to the divine.  You could say this photo also raises the issue of how much these brave men —  struggling so greatly against ethnic and religious strife — can look toward the heavens for protection.

Hopefully, the companion article on page A12 is no reply. 

That story detailed the killing on Wednesday of Sheikha Lameah Khaddouri al-Sakri, a member of Ayad Allawi’s political party.  Most notably, Ms. al-Sakri became the first member of the new Iraqi National Assembly to be assassinated.  Although she recently agreed to protection, the outspoken human rights activist refused to live in the Green Zone along with many of the other legislators, and continued to moved about freely.  The article ends with a quote from one of Ms. al-Sakri’s neighbors, a 17-year-old named Husam:

“When she was elected to Parliament, I said, ‘Why don’t you have better security?’ And she said, ‘God will protect me.’ “

(image: Alan Chin, April 28, 2005 in The New York Times, p. A12)

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Michael Shaw
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