August 11, 2007

Shadows Of Their Former Selves




Two-and-a-half weeks ago, I highlighted George Packer’s New Yorker piece on America’s shameful treatment of its Iraqi employees on their own soil.  The fierce photo by James Nachtwey accompanying the piece only heightened the pain.  I’m not sure why this subject is producing such emotive imagery, but it is.

This past Tuesday, the BBC followed up with an English side to the horrible shame.  Apparently, the British — following America’s lead — are rejecting the asylum requests of 91 Iraqi interpreters. 

We are all familiar with film techniques to disguise identity.  What is telling — and what I don’t remember seeing before — is how one video could employ so many.  If somehow opposite of the Nachtwey image, this sequence also has a lot to say.  It speaks of being sidestepped and being walked all over.  It references life in the shadows, annihilation and already being a ghost.

(screen shots: videography unattributed.  BBC Newsnight.  Iraq.  Reporter: David Loyn)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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