January 5, 2009



Until yesterday in the Gaza battle, the visual media had been fairly consistent in following specific conventions to differentiate one side’s attacks from the other.

Specifically, most Israeli assaults have been represented by scenes of badly damaged buildings or piles of concrete rubble. Conversely, an image of a pierced roof with an isolated insult along with distressed rebar or falling drywall has been the signature of the Hamas threat to Israel. (There are good examples here and here, as well as here of the classroom photo I posted the other day.)

In a move that seems as much an editorial repudiation of Israel’s “self-defense” rationale as it is an illustration that the physical and psychological skin of Gaza is disintegrating, the feature story in yesterday’s NYT WIR suddenly subverted the latter convention by using the image above — of an isolated roof breech in a damaged Gaza home — to now represent Israeli aggression also.

Based on the application of the photo, significantly labeled “Incoming,” Israel — certainly, as far as The Times is concerned — seems to have destroyed any moral distinction between incoming projectiles.

(image: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters. caption: INCOMING Palestinians in their damaged Gaza homes after an air raid in Rafah.)

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Michael Shaw
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