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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Awestruck by Airstrikes

Awestruck by Airstrikes

In my visual argument I claim that the current on-going Airstrike campaign by coalition forces in Libya is immoral. I substantiate this argument by showing the forms of destruction, suffering, and backlash evoked as a result of the violence. My first two photos show two opposed ways of viewing the situation. By juxtaposing the photo of a broken window amidst the rabble of a city in ruins with a photo of a person comfortably sitting back in a leather chair watching the news of the violence, the difference in viewpoints becomes clear. By beginning in this manner the viewer is first given a heightened sense of the way they perceive the issue. Before they are given anything controversial in terms of content they are forced to confront the disparity in perspectives. This is not meant to cause a specific interpretation of the events as much as jolt them into viewing the situation through a different lens.

The next two photographs are pictures of Gaddafi and Obama striking an uncannily similar pose in speeches. The two photos are not meant to equate the two figures with one another but just show that what we think of as diplomacy has dissolved into finger pointing. The first two sets of pictures are place upside down in relation to each other to make the point that they are opposed to each other. This should provoke uncertainty in relation to the audience’s previous views because there is a form that presents the photographs as opposed yet the content reveals a striking similarity.

The next photograph takes a big leap. The jump from finger pointing to airplanes in the sky reveals the way that audiences to the ongoing violence are typically unaware of the process by which these decisions are made. All that is typically seen is the diplomatic posturing and the aftermath of the airstrikes and so the visual argument mirrors this. This is meant to somewhat frustrate the audience and make them want more information. The image of the airplanes flying is meant to show the power disadvantage between the Libyans and the coalition forces. The next photograph shows an image of an actual explosion from afar. This is meant to shock the audience when faced with actual destruction. The next photograph shows another image of an explosion yet it is closer up. There are also people running away from the actual detonation of the bomb thus increasing the feeling of exigency. This escalation is meant to cause unease in the audience. It shows that there is no such thing as a casualty free war. Showing visual images of the violence exerted by coalition forces challenges the audience’s understanding of the airstrikes. Instead of viewing the violence as completely contained to military targets, the images show its extension directly into the everyday life of civilians.

The next image shows the aftermath with a Libyan civilian standing where his house formerly was. His demeanor is solemn and he is holding a large photograph of Gaddafi. This is meant to evoke a contradictory response on the part of the audience. On the one hand they should feel sympathy for this person whose home was just destroyed. On the other hand the audience may feel that since this person is a Gaddafi supporter he deserved it. The interpretation or conclusion intended is that the airstrikes are failing to persuade Gaddafi loyalists.

The next photograph is of a Libyan funeral. This is intended to evoke sympathy. The final image is of a single red flower that was planted on the mound of a grave. This is meant to further evoke feelings of exigency and sympathy. While the red color of the flower is reminiscent of blood and a sense of emergency, it is also meant to provoke associations of a better future. The image of a flower reminds the audience of the organic and the birth of a new Libya in the future.

Pictures Cited:

Tariq Aziz

Jessica Chapin

Photographer unknown

Tariq Aziz

Tariq Aziz

Paul Kinkaid

Tariq Aziz

Scott Peterson
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Tariq Aziz

Tariq Aziz

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