What I like about this photo is how simply it demythologizes al-Qaeda. I’m talking about an organization that has been built up so huge, the name evoking so much stigma, its members are clearly too dangerous and too evil for America’s supermax prisons, our civil justice system or “the homeland” to handle. It’s the depth of that more familiarly hooded and orange jumpsuited bugaboo that makes this photo almost quaint. Okay, the Yemenis do have them in a cage. But these guys (and they look sort of young, no?) don’t look exactly super human. And even more novel is the view of them moving through the system and having their day in court.
(photo: Hani Mohammed — AP via Lightbox Pictures of the Week caption: March 4, 2013. Yemeni soldiers stand guard as suspected al-Qaida militants, behind bars, attend their first hearing in a state security court in Sana’a, Yemen.)