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November 15, 2005

Vested Interest

Bomber1A

Bomber2A

Bomber3A



I first saw the images of the Amman suicide bomber described as a "fashion show" on a right wing blog.  Then, the Washington Post story on Tuesday described Sajida al-Rishawi as "modeling" the suicide vest.

Like many others, my first reaction was: How could this woman still be wearing this apparatus on Wednesday, when the bombing was Sunday?  The most likely explanation, of course, was that she was made to "model" it for the cameras.  And, unless she only had one set of clothes with her then and since (which is a possibility), it seems the Jordanian police had her model her party coat as well.

What Ms. Rishawi did was utterly deplorable.  To walk into a Jordanian and Palestinian wedding party filled with families and children the way she did — that’s insanity.  Still, I think these images also represent an extreme form of propaganda, and I wonder whether they might actually be counterproductive in helping quell additional acts. 

(There are dozens of political issues this brings up. The largest one,
of course, is whether this bombing is ultimately neocon blow-back for
Bush and Cheney’s adventurist war.

The first day story on Ms. Rishawi played up the fact one of her
brother was a "senior aide" to the all purpose Iraq villain, Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi. The second day story, however, detailed the fact that Ms.
Rishawi, a former resident of Fallujah, was radicalized as the result
of the American evisceration of her city and the loss of two brothers
and two other relatives to U.S. forces in Anbar Province. (News is, by
the way, that one of the other bombers, Safah Muhammad Ali, allegedly
had been grabbed up in a sweep by American forces during the Fallujah
campaign in November 2004 and held for two weeks before judged harmless
and released. …As we know, Iraqi men tend to find that kind of
experience just a little humiliating.)

However, any number of blogs can effectively sift the politics.
Instead, I’d like to stick as closely as possible to the photos and
their dynamics. As such, here are a few of my questions:

1.  If the point of the attack, as the Sunday NYT Week In Review
suggests, was to sow fear and mayhem, doesn’t the widespread
distribution of these images only propagate — or even constitute –
its "success"? Also, by putting Ms. Rishawi on display on world wide
television, doesn’t it mimic, reinforce and ultimately legitimize the
same kind of grandstanding technique used by terrorist organizations,
and water down the argument that civil societies operate according to
higher moral standards?

2. What are the implications of exhibiting such close up images
of a constructed suicide vest? My sense is that such an instructive
look has rarely occurred this widely with such detail. Doesn’t
divorcing the head from the torso give these shots the sense of a
do-it-yourself tutorial?

3.  According to a WAPO story,
Jordanians (ironically, only men were quoted) were shocked that a woman
was involved in such an act. In contrast to the Arab reaction, do you
think the American audience will find this image novel because it
depicts a woman bomber, or because it shows a live bomber? 

4. Does the fact Ms. Rishawi has been dressed up and required to
pose/expose herself (by what we can assume is a male police authority)
represent an act of subjugation by Arab men over their women?

5. Pardon the callousness, but wouldn’t this have been "just another
suicide attack" if Ms. Rishawi hadn’t participated, or if she hadn’t
survived?" Given the fact, is it suspicious at all that Ms. Rishawi did
survive?

6. As a portrait, is it possible to infer anything regarding
Ms. Rishawi’s mental state or the way she’s been required to pose? (You
might want to refer to this enlargement
at the TIME.com site.) I’m really struck by her facial expression. I
guess I wonder if that intense stare and look of foreboding expression
was coerced to make her seem that much more menacing. I didn’t see the
video, but the image doesn’t really conform to the other outtakes in
which she seems more traumatized and specifically avoids eye contact.)

How else do you read these photos?

(image 1,2 & 3: AP Photo/Jordanian TV. Sunday November 13, 2005.  Jordan.  Via YahooNews)

  • fab

    How could you be sure she’s a woman? Her face looks like a male one to me.
    Remember that during the civil war in what was then France in Algeria, women were hiding weapons under their dresses. The fact that men soldiers asked them to show their undergarments to prove they were not loaded, added to the humiliation feeling they had then.
    Of course the fact that she’s from Fallujah as the fact that the palestinian girl who blowed herself in a sea front restaurant in Israel after loosing her brother form an Israeli attack, as the fact that one of the woman in the tchetchen commando of Beslan’s scholl had all her family killed by russian army does print in our heads the idea that more westerns kill and humiliate muslim men and more foes they will have to fight.
    As a side point one of the leading sunnit religious leader exiled in Jordania gave a stylish comparison to the current war in Al Anbar province between US army and local citizens as a future-draw-fight-between-an-elephant-and-a-bee. The side effects will be that more women will rank up againt westerners armies.

  • lytom

    The woman’s expression is from the depths of places we have never entered… and thus is unreachable, unless tortured…
    What else is the state of Jordan to do? For that matter the king, Abdullah II, friend of the bush.
    Some facts:
    All political parties were banned in 1957 and have been illegal since the establishment of martial law in 1967.
    Evidence of illegal political activity is monitored by the Mukhabarat, or secret police. Persons suspected of engaging in political activities are arrested by the Mukhabarat and may be detained without charges for prolonged periods.
    U.S. provides secret financial assistance to subsidize the(General Intelligence Department)GID’s budget. CIA and GID, two intelligence agencies conduct sophisticated joint operations and routinely share information.
    Jordan’s intelligence partnership with the U.S. is so close, that the CIA has had technical personnel embedded at GID headquarters.
    Jordan is covertly accepting
    transfer of suspected extremists from U.S. custody.
    GID personnel are characterized as highly capable interrogators.
    The proximity of Jordan to Iraq makes it practical for all the contractors and other occupation support personnel to “gather” in Jordan.
    Jordanian authorities have closed the local office of the Qatar-based satellite TV channel al-Jazeera.
    Political prisoners trials are frequent.
    There were at least 14 executions of suspected “terrorists”.

  • sir_at

    Hmm, my first association when looking at this image was with one of the Monty Python “Flying circus” sketches in which they impersonate women. I think that this is because the shot is highly theatrical and can be nothing but staged. Second, the probability to have a suicide attacker surviving and then being captured is almost nil (imho). Thus, having her posing here suggests here inaptitude. Maybe this is also what transpires somewhat in her expression, since I cannot make out 100% hatred there – rather shame also. To me, this is also the main reason for this series: to demonstrate that “she couldn’t do it right” (which I am thankful for, mind you!)
    Lastly, what I was wondering about: I think I read in an account of the events that she managed to flee from the scene. It seems strange to me then that she didn’t have time to dispose of the belt (which to me would be an action I assume one would take as soon as possible). Which leads back to the question of whether she is not an “actress” in reality and not a real terrorist…

  • http://profile.typekey.com/lekameleon/ Ronald Martinez

    I visited the Time.com site, and saw a striking juxtaposiiton. Screen capture here.
    http://kameleon.typepad.com/my_weblog/2005/11/vested_interest.html
    Visually, the ad replicates the woman’s torso and an aluminum-colored object. Similarities end there.

  • Marysz

    In the upper photo, with her hands held mid-air, and her eyes grimly focused off-camera, Rishawi looks truly monstrous. Contrast her with the image of the Iraqi woman holding the infant in the poster “Woman to Woman” for the Iraqi constitutional election. Here are two very different images of the femininity.
    With female bombers, is there is more of a question of culpability than with men? Some of the female Chechen bombers were pressured to commit suicide. I don’t think that was the case here. I believe Rishawi was fully committed to carrying out the bombing, at least until the very last minute. She mentions the women and children in the wedding party she was supposed to bomb–maybe she had last minute qualms. One account I read said that when her husband saw her bomb not go off, he pushed her away so she could escape. Or, could her “bomb” have been a dummy wired not to go off on purpose (although it’s hard to see what purpose that would serve)? Rishawi’s image obviously shocks men, even those who may agree with her political objectives. Rashawi’s image suggests that the women in their lives are potential time-bombs.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/RubDMC/ RubDMC

    My reaction was, and still is, strictly emotional.
    There’s an obvious element of evil to the photo, and that grabbed me first – but it seemed like maybe more of a manufactured evil, like a Halloween rendering of a witch. This was a crafted image, not a candid one.
    I don’t know if there are equivalents to witch mythology in Arab culture – demonic women who cast spells and manipulate others. But that’s certainly the likely effect to many Western viewers, with the posture, dark clothing, and stark composition. That’s likely the effect (I wonder if there was any Western/US help in putting this ‘exhibit’ together, with the intention of looking over the heads of the Jordanian audience more directly towards us?)
    My next, and longer-lasting, reaction was one of sadness and pity, again because of the posture, facial expression, and composition. This time the imagery is less frightening, and simply just more sad – dreary, hopeless, and utterly futile, since what else would compel someone, anyone, to wrap themselves with explosives?
    I recall seeing the after-effects of a suicide bombing at a site like thenausea.com – probably because the explosion goes outward more than it goes up or down, the bomber’s legs and head can remain intact (and almost in place) while the torso is vaporized. That’s more than a simply grissly picture, and I wonder if the bombers get any information on what their remains will end up looking like.
    In any event, my final sentiment and reaction is that this woman was, in the end, manipulated and betrayed. When I used this image yesterday in my diary series at DailyKos, I paired it with a short poem called “The General” by the WWI ‘war poet’ Siegfried Sassoon, which speaks to this sense:
    “Good-morning, good-morning!” the General said
    When we met him last week on our way to the line.
    Now the men that he smiled at are most of ‘em dead,
    And we’re cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
    “He’s a cheery old card,” grunted Harry to Jack
    As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.
    But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

  • Marysz

    Since my posting, I learned (via Diane Rehm) that Rishawi claimed that she (accidentally) left her bomb’s activation key behind (or at “home”) when she left for the hotel. A Freudian slip?

  • lemondloulou54

    At first when I looked at these photos I couldn’t get the Abu Ghraib images out of my head. There’s a similarity here isn’t there? Isn’t Rishawi being tortured here too? And wasn’t the torture performed by a man?
    Her expression: it’s come to this, folks. Wake up!
    RubDMC’s eloquent posting about witches reminded me that the feminine is the shadow side. That’s what Rishawi is showing us. The shadow side of our selves.
    Look at the difference in lighting among the three photographs. In the portrait version she casts a shadow. In the other two how-to photos, there is no shadow.

  • readytoblowagasket

    I don’t think we’d have the same emotional reaction if it were a man. So, why is that? Would we feel any sympathy for a male bomber? Would we say he was manipulated and betrayed? Would we read his expression the same way? Does a woman have more credibility?

  • George Myers, Jr.

    I remember reading during the British drought of 1976, about the U.S. “Black Widow” aircraft in WWII, which flew at night to neutral Sweden to return with strategic ball-bearings for the war effort. I had won a lottery for a summer job in NY Republican stronghold, Brookhaven Town, (NY’s largest in area) lining and raking a night-game baseball field in predominately black North Bellport. A patent for ball-bearings was filed from Bellport for wagons in 1868, once a major produce port supplier for NYC, closed by shipwreck in the barrier island, Fire Island. The U.S. “Atoms For Peace” stamp was created there. U.S. “Veterans For Peace” were once rebuilding water supplies for Iraq before our recent invasion. The timetable must be set, we cannot stop this type of “sacrifice” these photos will always remind us of.

  • Asta

    RTBAG, I think perhaps our emotional reaction to the woman bomber is that, historically and statistically, women are not violent. Well, I should say, were not violent, because this female characteristic is changing.
    In this country, we have girl gangs. More women are commiting crimes. I don’t have any links, this is simply my impression from pay attention to the local news. It is always somewhat shocking when a woman is willing to kill all her children.
    My reaction to the photo is that the image is one of pure desperation. I am reminded of stories of the American pioneer days when a white family would rather commit suicide than be captured by Native American Indians, which is not the name the White Man called them. (It would be more like godless heathens.) This may be a poor analogy, but the fatality of such intense prejudice is the same.
    Personally, I don’t understand the suicide bomber mentality at all. There is probably a hatred involved that I simply can’t comprehend.

  • black dog barking

    Why indeed is the failed martyr modeling the suicide belt? Just three days after she walked into a wedding party with every intention of making the ultimate sacrifice and avenging family and country with the blood of innocents she now meekly holds her garment open, turns this way and that for the photographer. lytom, post #2, says GID are regarded as ‘highly capable interrogators’. Apparently someone there knows a thing or two about coercing cooperation from even highly motivated actors.
    The face in the top photo shows neither rage nor rebellion. The woman looks pretty compliant. The ball bearings / schrapnel packed all around her girdle belt look grimly effective.
    This attack made news here because of the survivor and the relatively neutral setting. In general a suicide bombing in Iraq or Israel doesn’t get much attention. As propaganda it works as long as we add these pictures to the pile of our fears. This propaganda fails the day we stop ignoring and start thinking, the day we consider the fact of suicide bombing.

  • MonsieurGonzo

    bomb womb.

  • http://thedefeatists.com comandante agi t. prop

    Another staged event. I wonder if she is even legit.

  • electra

    Speaking as a person who has lived and traveled in this part of the wrold, it is possible that for some [personal] reason, this woman was desperate to die; not necessarily because she ‘believed’ in the cause. For instance, life for a woman without a husband in fundamentalist islamic culture can be untenable, so if she knew her husband was about to die, she may have wanted to die alongside him. In fundamentalist culture, a woman would not be able to work (not that there is a whole lot of work available in Iraq these days), so she must throw herself before the mercy of brothers, father, uncles. If the family is poor, the bullying can be terrible (this is a culture in which people who are weak, children, women and servants, are routinely beaten and ridiculed.
    There was no mention of children of this couple. If there weren’t any, that would be another reason why she wanted to die with her husband, as a woman who cannot produce children in Arab such a society is virtually worthless. 35 is considered to “old” there. It is highly highly unlikely that she would have been allowed by to participate in this if she did have children. Palestinian women who commit such acts are always unmarried. The other possibility is that she was simply ordered to do this.
    The style of her clothes and headscarf point to someone who is from an extremely conservative background (during Saddam’s reign, educated women did not wear headscarves, generally) that is also poor (there is a ’stylish’ ‘affluent’ style of hijab as well)
    There is a huge cultural disconnect in the way this is being seen in the west.
    Choice is not a word in most women’s vocabulary -

  • readytoblowagasket

    Something about these pictures doesn’t sit right with me. So I keep having more questions about them than impressions. Why was the woman photographed in her overcoat? There’s no practical or helpful reason for it — you’ve seen one black overcoat, you’ve seen them all. Something about the way she holds it open is odd to me also, although that’s certainly completely subjective and I can’t say why I think it. Also, what IS the point of disseminating close-ups of the rigging? To PROVE she’s a suicide bomber? As if we wouldn’t just take their word for it? Finally (for now), why are the explosives on top of instead of under her second jacket? The photographs are so LITERAL (if you look up “female suicide bomber” in the dictionary, this is the picture you’d see) that they become suspect. To me, anyway. But I can’t take it any further than that.
    I too was reminded of Abu Ghraib, but also of the Barry Levinson movie “Wag the Dog,” in which Kirsten Dunst is hired to play a refugee in a faked war scene videotape that gets aired on the nightly news.
    Just free associating today, I guess.

  • electra

    Black overcoats are standard hijab-wear. In Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, they are worn with either a black or white headscarf. What drew my attention was how badly the scarf was wrapped and tied; it was very loose and sloppy.

  • readytoblowagasket

    electra: Yes, I noticed the sloppy scarf too.

  • Tilli (Mojave Desert)

    She looks absolutely beaten.

  • http://www.zuky.net Kai Chang

    It’s being reported that the woman’s 3 brothers were killed by US forces:
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/11/15/jordan.blasts.ap/index.html
    If this is true, it could help explain the utterly lost look in her eyes and the sloppy headscarf: she’s somewhere deep in the dark of her psyche, unable to even maintain her physical appearance or detonate a bomb, shell-shocked and stumbling (probably with manipulation) into a mission to carry out a most heinous act without any moral compass or sense of self.
    From a strictly visual perspective, I personally don’t find the explosive belt on her body to appear particularly menacing. In comparison, I find this picture of an unworn suicide vest far more fear-inducing:
    http://www.dps.state.mn.us/MCAN/CASystem/uploadedfiles/vest3.jpg
    I also find that the woman’s gender doesn’t much affect my own reaction; she appears asexual, including the headscarf that appears wrapped with more of a man’s touch than a feminine one.
    All of this leads me to believe that this woman and these photos are quite possibly authentic: I can imagine bumbling government officials trying, but failing, to make her look shocking and menacing.
    That’s my take, anyway.
    Peace.

  • Cactus

    My first reaction to the photos on TV was along the lines of “So the Arab world has it’s screwballs wanting their 15 minutes.” Frankly, I didn’t know whether to even take it seriously. Having little experience with strap-on bombs, I have no way to know whether it is real or just a mockup. I still don’t.
    Is her cover story (running out with the guests) believable? Sure. Do I believe it? Not really. The final two photos resemble women’s catalog ads for girdles.
    I think American audiences are used to the idea of children and women being used as suicide bombers…..even happened in Viet Nam. I could be wrong here, but I think the ‘modern American woman’ would not be shocked that a woman could be a terrorist. Again, think Viet Nam, think the guerilla fighters in So. Amer., think Golda Mier. Which leaves the question of whether she was coerced. As an avid reader of Baghdad Burning, I’d have to say maybe, maybe not.
    I cannot read into these photos the desperation or the degradation of this woman. However, I note that the background is suspiciously neutral. Which indicates to me professional photography. If what lytom says is true, and I’m sure it is, about the cooperation of our spies and their spies, the whole thing could be cooked up. Unfortunately, when we know that our government is corrupt, and we assume that their government is corrupt, anything becomes possible. When the free press of a formerly free nation becomes a propaganda arm of the aforesaid government, just as in the aforementioned foreign country, we are left with something that could be fact, could be outright lies, could be just more obfuscation to confuse the citizenry. GIGO.

  • http://comespeak2.blogspot.com/ dus7

    “The explosion at the Grand Hyatt Hotel was caused by a suicide bomber, according to the Jordanian deputy prime minister.” BBC
    “The attack on Amman’s Days Inn hotel was carried out using a vehicle packed with explosives, Jordanian officials said.” BBC
    “A blast at the Radisson hotel in the Jordanian capital Amman on Wednesday was caused by a bomb placed in a false ceiling, police sources at the scene told Reuters.”
    MSNBC
    Photo here: Kate/A
    “Sajida Rishawi, 35, an Iraqi from the city of Fallujah, described how her husband pushed her out of a ballroom at the Radisson SAS Hotel…” WaPo
    No doubt this information is incomplete, but you see a problem here if the lady suicide bomber is, er, linked to the wrong hotel.

  • SEAS

    The most obvious thing about this photo to me, and one that hasn’t been directly noted is how overtly religious it is (at least to western eyes). This woman’s garments remind me of a nun’s habit; she is clearly moslem. (Assuming that this is not a completely fabricated image or character). Otherwise, I agree with Asta: I see desperation in her eyes. I wonder what could have so backed her into a corner that she would [almost] resort to blowing herself up, or that she would pose like this? To me it is much scarier that our policy is creating terrorists out of middle aged women, not just the testosterone loaded young lads who are usually a war’s main participants.

  • ummabdulla

    What lytom says about Jordan is absolutely true, and from what I understand, it’s only gotten worse under King Abdullah, so I’d look at these photos with a healthy dose of skepticism. There could have been a woman involved – or maybe not. If so, this could be her – or maybe not. If it is her, one can imagine that she’s been tortured and maybe drugged, they’ve threatened to do horrible things to her relatives, etc. Supposedly, reporters have spoken to people who knew her in Fallujah (who said that she was radicalized after seeing all the people – including relatives – killed by the Americans there), so that would suggest that it is her.
    Very soon after the bombing, they had rounded up more than 100 people suspected of involvement, which reminds me of the famous line in Casablanca: “Round up the usual suspects.”
    At first, there was no mention of a woman; after a while, it was reported that a statement by “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” said that one bombing had been done by a husband and wife team; after a day or two, this woman showed up on TV.
    And there were various reports about what happened: she couldn’t get her bomb to go off, her husband saw and pushed her out of the room; she couldn’t get her bomb to go off and then fled when her husband’s went off; and the one a previous post mentioned about her leaving the “key” to it in her hotel room. They said she did this willingly; they said her husband forced her.
    When the Palestinians have used women bombers, it was becaue men were under too much suspicion and they thought a woman would be better able to get through, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here, so it wasn’t that they needed a woman for any reason.
    I don’t know what’s the point of showing this, but it did seem that the Jordanian government wanted to make clear that it wasn’t Jordanians involved. This is always a theme in any violence against governments; they want to prove – to both the domestic and the international audience – that it was “foreigners”, so as to obscure the fact that many of their own people bear a lot of animosity towards them.
    I don’t find the woman’s dress particularly conservative for a woman from Fallujah, but then I wear hijab myself.
    I didn’t hear about the couple having any children either, but the statement from “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” referred to them as Abu Omaira (father of Omaira) and Umm Omaira (mother of Omaira), which would mean that they had a child named Omaira (although I guess the child could have died). Men sometimes use Abu something even if they don’t have children, but I’ve never seen women do that. On the other hand, it could have been an alias, I guess.

  • Lisa

    A least one female Palestinian suicide bombers had been discovered having immodest behavior (she was having sex without being married) and was very likely facing death at the hands of her family. Her lover was a member of one of the terrorist groups and upon discovery convinced her that if she were going to die, she should at least die as a martyr.
    I wonder what happened in this girl’s life. Somehow I suspect her trauma at the hands of men was much greater than her trauma from the “occupiers”.

  • Hoyt Pollard

    Gonzo’s right. She’s a plant.

  • jt from B.C.

    Response to questions:
    1) a conditional yes to all points raised, the condition being that yes, applies only to critical thinkers who have weighted the daily contradictions in MSM . The message to an uninterested, unaware or uninformed public is to show a Face of Evil. Higher moral standards, are in abeyance because of “the necessity in confronting such barbarism”, thus rationalizing or justifying the use of cluster bombs, white phosphors torture or….etc
    2 it definitely resembles the do-it-yourself approach.
    3) a (failed) woman bomber will be novel to some but a “ what if the other half (female) population is prepared to undertake such missions” will inculcate increased paranoia, and fear.(They plant bombs in dead dogs, can live babies be next?) Woman have always been effective in unconventional ‘warfare’. The tactic of using a couple, ‘ups’ their effectiveness.
    4) not necessarily subjugation, police forces world wide have a natural tendency to do as they please when given the opportunity especially when an incident of criminality has or is assumed to have been perpetuated.
    5) no its more that just another suicide attack. The media coverage was massively orchestrated by King Abdbullah II, internally and world wide to convey the message that this was a ‘foreign act which came out of the blue’ (although he advised Cheney before the invasion of Iraq that all hell could break out in the middle east and elsewhere) and that his police (State) had adequate control over the ‘locals’. I don’t think this ‘out of the blue’ message was believed in Jordan any more than the 911 attack was believed by Americans who understood the basics of foreign policy. (blow back). Jordanians live foreign policy daily while most Americans are geographically far removed, or too busy shopping. Jordan is a larger green zone a more difficult compound to defend..soon ” “His Majesty” with pop up chatting and commiserating with Larry King on a CNN Special)
    6) her facial expressions are of grief and failure, I don’t think she really cares what message is conveyed, torture may make her more compliant, perhaps she may be goaded into reacting and provide the desired image.
    So many conflicting reports leave me suspicious , I remain open to other possibilities concerning Ms. Rishawi’s involvement.

  • ummabdulla

    “I wonder what happened in this girl’s life. Somehow I suspect her trauma at the hands of men was much greater than her trauma from the ‘occupiers’.”
    At 35, I think she’s past being a girl. And assuming that what we know about her is correct, I certainly think that that could have made her want to blow somebody up. Unless you have information about her that the rest of us haven’t see, then your assumptions about trauma at the hands of men are based on the same kind of false stereotypes that electra listed.
    For example: “…life for a woman without a husband in fundamentalist islamic culture can be untenable, so if she knew her husband was about to die, she may have wanted to die alongside him…”
    This sounds more like Hindu culture. Islamic culture never included having widows throw themselves on the funeral pyre.
    And I don’t know of any “fundamentalist” area where women don’t work.

  • Lisa

    I said, “I wonder what happened in this girl’s life. Somehow I suspect her trauma at the hands of men was much greater than her trauma from the ‘occupiers’.”
    Ummabdualla said, ‘At 35, I think she’s past being a girl. And assuming that what we know about her is correct, I certainly think that that could have made her want to blow somebody up. Unless you have information about her that the rest of us haven’t see, then your assumptions about trauma at the hands of men are based on the same kind of false stereotypes that electra listed.’
    There are huge swathes of the Arab world that treat women as second class citizens. The privaledges denied are different in different parts of the region but it revolves down to one thing, women are perceived as less than men. Honor killings, clitorectomies, control of movement, violently enforced dress codes, inability to vote, rules about testifying in court, arranged marriages and more. In various Arab countries, one or more of these abuses are enshrined in law.

  • Cactus

    For those interested, check out Xymphora’s take on this at:
    http://www.xymphora.blogspot.com/
    She has two recent posts on this event which come down on the side of the official story being a construct. Which would, if true, put the photographs in the staged category.

  • http://stophernow.blogspot.com jami

    why in the world would anyone make this up you hippy freaks? just to fuck with your pot-addled minds? jesus.
    the u.s. killed a large chunk of her family. she got upset and wanted revenge. but looking around at the happy wedding guests, she couldn’t go through with it. it makes perfect sense to me.
    let’s hope she is ashamed at all the innocent people her friends killed, so that she tells police exactly who gave her that duct-tape nastiness she’s wearing.

  • readytoblowagasket

    I’ll be the first to admit that I have indeed become more “hippy,” as jami charges, since I’ve become addicted to reading blogs. I know if I would just cut out the spiced-pumpkin venti lattes and renew my gym membership I would not only look better, I would feel better. Someone will soon coin a word for this affliction, no doubt, something like “couch potato.” I don’t think “blog potato” works, however.

  • black dog barking

    jami: why in the world would anyone make this up you hippy freaks?
    I honestly have no clue. The simplest and most effective official response would seem a direct explanation of who, what, where, and when.
    However, I don’t see the perfect sense of your explanation, jami. the u.s. killed a large chunk of her family. she got upset and wanted revenge. A large chunk of her immediate family is killed in Fallujah, (perhaps voluntarily) engaging US troops. She then crosses over into Jordan and actively plots to kill Jordanians and Palestinians. US soldiers kill her family so she tries to kill people with absolutely no connection to US soldiers. Perfect sense?
    Here’s an alternative, we’ve been fed a variation for years. She’s sitting around one day, catches a story about the US of A on the TV, immediately forms an overwhelming hatred for the freedoms enjoyed by Americans. “I’ll show them,” she grimly resolves. Perfect sense?
    Why would anyone tell us that people are blowing up themselves and innocents because they hate our freedom?
    That question is rhetorical and not especially diagnostic. Try this: what does the fact of suicide bombers mean?

  • Lisa

    ” what does the fact of suicide bombers mean?”
    It means that individual feels their death is more valuable then their life and the lives of others for whatever reason. I don’t think it can boil down to occupation or the loss of a homeland or humilitation.. if that were the case, there would be a ton of Native American bombers. There aren’t. The Navajo recently (ie.. within the past 20 years) lost land that had been “theirs” for generations to the Hopi in a court case. The children from that region of the reservation have been devestated by this but I have not heard of any Navajo suicide bombers or terrorists.
    I think there also must be some glory in the death for those who do it. They know that someone (often many someones) will celebrate their death and those that they take with them. Look at the IRA, how many Catholic Irish in Ireland or even in America quietly cheered when bombs went off?
    All of the other suicide bombings that I can think of would have brought cheers from somewhere… whether Turkey or Argentina because they targeted the Jews, whether Iraq or Afghanistan because they target the “occupiers” and the West. Even Sharm-el-Shaq and Taba were quietly applauded by some because they were places were Western culture and Westerners were rampant.
    This is the first time when the only excuses have been that security failed, not that the victims deserved it for some reason. This is the first time that I can recall seeing demonstrations against the terrorists from within their own group.

  • http://www.wzbc.org Malooga

    I find it interesting that in a blog dedicated to analyzing visual clues in Photographs, that no one has pointed out the style of her inner jacket is clearly American Western, with double pointed stitching in “V”s above the breasts, stylized rivets, breast pockets echoing the Western crossstitch, and metal buttons similar to those employeed by Levi-Strauss in their jean jackets.
    All told, a chilling sartorial commentary upon the covert effects of Western colonialism upon Arab Muslim society. Or, perhaps, one may see a reprisal of the brave independence and stoic violent insecure lives of the cowboys.

  • jt from B.C.

    Lisa,
    in you response to “What does the fact of sucide bombers mean”
    Should you wish to add to your understanding you might refer to “Dying To Win” by Professor Robert Page.

  • fotonique

    Suicide Bomber Barbie
    No matter how she’s styled, the show always ends the same way.

  • jt from B.C.

    fotonique: on “Suicide Bomber Barbie”
    I suspect Noam Chomsky would recommend Dying To Win, a book which presents important valuable empirical evidence that contradicts the MSM message and the political agenda of elite groups. It undermines many ‘popular’ notions of terrorism that are daily disseminated from the White House to a largely uninformed public. These seldom unchallenged official beliefs are critical in maintaining support for the present political agenda. Professor Robert Pape confronts many of these misperceptions or down right lies thus assisting his readers to do so as well.
    Noam Chomsky description of the US being a leading Terrorist State is a concept I agree with in addition to the Barbie quote.
    If Americans and others understood some of his ideas and pursued them perhaps “the show (might not) always ends the same way”.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/lekameleon KameleonSubrosA

    hello I never made this comment. There is a clear usurpation of identity link to my blogs Will greatly appreciate you to delete this all entry. Merci!

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