February 28, 2010

Afghanistan: Passing Snapshot of a Down and Dirty War

Kabul Mannequins.jpg

What is wrong with the Afghan coverage this week — if you’re trying to make sense of the pictures — is 1.) fragmentation and 2.) inanity.

While the media sphere is giving inordinate attention to the triumphant images of US troops clearing out Marjah in Helmand Province, the news wires also document a pounding theTaliban delivered to tourist hotels in Kabul. When you net it out, the surge starts to look more like whack-a-mole.

But then, it’s hard to take the Kabul attack very seriously when the pictures many Western outlets are grabbing from the choice of scenes of rubble and carnage show Afghan boys entertaining themselves with a female mannequin pulled from the debris. What a find for them, given standards of modesty. And what a find for the newswires to sex up, for a day, at least, this otherwise endless and mind-numbing war.

Kabul attack.jpg

That’s in contrast, of course, to the plain and simple symbolism, and fate, of the words of this sign in a companion photo from the same photographer. Read as the status of this country at its central artery, what more do you need to know?

(photos: Altaf Qadri. caption 1: A worker cleans the floor of a building building a day after the suicide attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. The clean-up in central Kabul began on Saturday after suicide attackers and a car bomb a day earlier killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens. caption 2: : Afghan rag picker boys attach limbs to a discarded mannequin near damaged shops a day after the suicide attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. (Same second line as #1.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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