Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
March 25, 2011

Libya: High on Democracy, Did West Fall in Love with Drowning Man?

How far down the road to glory

Must we go without a sign

Caught out on these stormy waters

How can you treat me so unkind


Did you know from the beginning

That I’d dig this lousy hole

Oh, don’t leave me here abandoned

In this dark night of the soul

--Drowning Man 
words and music by Arlo Guthrie

Drawing on the romance of the American road movie, the badass contemporary Western and visions of Arlo Guthrie to boot,  this wonderful photo — of a lone rebel on a long stretch of road outside Ajdabiya carrying a grenade launcher on one shoulder and a guitar on the other — crystallizes the fear I’ve had about the Libya uprising, especially now that the big boys and girls have intervened.

Coming off the high from Tunisia and Egypt, did the West get so caught up in the romance and poetry of the Arab democracy movement that it feel in love with the aspirations of a lonely Libyan opposition, one with barely the juice to even sustain a civil war?

(photo by Jerker Ivarsson. via copyeditor reblogged by ckck)

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