November 22, 2008

Your Turn: House Negro

This IntelCenter video grab image received on November 19, 2008, shows a new video still that al-Qaeda's as-Sahab released entitled, "Exit of Bush and Arrival of Obama". The video features an audio statement with English subtitles from Ayman al-Zawahiri. An English and Arabic transcript was released with the video. Al-Zawahiri talks about the election of Barack Obama and delivered short messages to the Muslim Ummah, Obama, the mujahideen in Iraq, Somalia and ���everywhere���, the world���s weak and oppressed and the American people.Al-Qaeda number two Ayman Zawahiri condemned US president-elect Barack Obama as a "house negro" and warned him against sending more troops to Afghanistan, in the Internet audiomessage released on Wednesday.Zawahiri insulted Obama and other black Americans who have held high office in the US administration with the term used by the late black militant leader Malcolm X. AFP PHOTO/MANDATORY CREDIT: IntelCenter/CROPPING OF INTELCENTER LOGO PROHIBITED/RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE = GETTY OUT = (Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images)

This is the key image from al Qaeda’s Obama video circulated this week. It shows Al-Zawahiri centered between images of Obama wearing a yarmulke at the Western Wall and Malcolm X kneeling on a prayer rug in a mosque. The video characterizes Obama as the opposite of “honorable black Americans” like Malcolm X, in the model of “house slaves” such as Colin Powell and Condi Rice.

I’m interested how you read this composition, and how you see it playing, strictly on a visual level, in the Muslim world.

(image: Getty Images by AFP via IntelCenter. November 19, 2008)

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Michael Shaw
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