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<nettime> wrong signals
David Garcia on Mon, 15 Dec 2003 15:28:39 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> wrong signals

If symbols really do matter we might conclude that American
administration's PR machine has got it badly wrong. In the carefully
orchestrated news management of Saddam's capture, once again, the public
opinion which *really* matters in the middle east: Arab public opinion,
has been conclusively misread

The image of an Arab leader (however terrible) being objectivised by a
white gloved American medic like a bug on a lab bench, will not be read in
the Arab world as a moment of liberation. It will be seen as a special
kind of humiliation, the kind which typifies the depth of ignorance which
has inspired this campaign from its outset. Once again the images (chosen
with great care one imagines, given the time lapse between Saddam's
capture and the John Wayne style triumphalism of the announcement) treats
Arab opinion to a further demonstration of the power of the west to
objectivize the world under a coolly scientific gaze. In this context no
mediaeval torturer could have conceived of a greater humiliation than the
medical torch's pencil thin beam illuminating the inside of the tyrant's

A stupidity of almost incomprehensible proportions seems bent on
prosecuting a war against terror in which the twenty-four hour news
machine is mobilized to disseminate images that do little more than fan
the flames of hate.

David Garcia

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