January 20, 2008

Scaring Up An Analogy?


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In a front page feature on Friday, the NYT detailed how the Pakistani city of Peshawar is slowly falling under the influence of the Taliban.  In the on-line edition, we are offered a stunning fifteen photo slide show, a handful of the images set at this outlying gun market.

This particular photo — running over five columns — appeared in the print edition only.

The caption reads:

A gun market in a tribal area of Pakistan near the Afghan border.  The symbol on the wall is often used to denote a house of worship in many cultures.

So the structure was once a house of worship, but is now a gun bazaar in a region firmly controlled by America’s sworn antagonists.  With that in mind, and because it’s hard for a typical Westerner to view that symbol and not ID a swastika, it sets up an ominous historical analogy for the spreading scourge of al Qaeda and the Taliban.

So the question is, why offer the image in the first place, knowing how it subtlety plays into terror war hysteria?  Is that why this pic was the only one of the set not included on-line?

Peshawar Under Siege (NYT slide show)

Frontier Insurgency Spills Into Peshawar (NYT)

(image: unattributed.  January, 2007.  Pakistan.  via nytimes.com)

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Michael Shaw
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