Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
October 18, 2005

Portrait of Evil Vs. Evil Portrait

Saddam-Tribunal1

I’m no apologist for Saddam Hussein.

At the same time, I cannot fail to give credit for the brilliant timing involved in flooding the news space with the sudden drum-beat of anti-Saddam hysteria.  My respects to the BushCo. managers as well as Iraqi insiders for so quickly changing the subject from the war and, of course, that election which seemed to have taken place a few days ago.  (The quick victory declarations and the even quicker shift of attention to new business wonderfully demonstrates how much the White House actually puts stock in all that democracy mumbo jumbo.)

Before I get too caught up in the politics or toss any more pictures into the mix, however, I wanted to expressly invite the readership to break down this picture.

I have been admiring this photo ever since it was released by the Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST) about a month and a half ago.  (One question I have, though, is why it seems qualitatively different from most of the other perp shots in the IST photo gallery.  And, for that matter, how come Saddam lacks his own photo section when they — whoever “they” really are — so deftly managed to compose and circulate this gem?)

Again, the picture is yours to analyze, but I can help wondering whether it was stage crafted snapped with a larger role in mind.  Although the thought occurred to me a while back, I still raised an eyebrow (yes, just one) when I saw the following shot show up last evening.

Saddam-Front-Page1

By the way, what’s the difference between a trial and a show trial?

(image 1: AFP/IST/File.  August, 2005.  Via YahooNews. image 2: Karim Kadim/A.P. October 17, 2005. Baghdad, Iraq.  Via YahooNews.)

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