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July 20, 2006

Bloodthirsty Children Or Media Missiles?

Bombsigning1

Bombsigning2

So many of you wrote me about these images, I felt I had to address them.  But then, I struggled for a long time to find my orientation.  I even did a couple write ups based on the politics and ethics of these images — feeling, the whole time, however, like something was off.

The major problem, I finally realized, was that the moral fireworks were so intense, it was virtually impossible to “read” the pictures themselves.  (In fact, the content was so emotional that I couldn’t help feeling guilty for questioning or straying from the manifest level.)

To get a little more perspective, I started searching.  Not surprisingly though, most sites that ran the pictures were reacting from that surface level.  Sabbah.biz, for example, framed the photos as “Israeli kids send(ing) gifts of love to Arab kids.” The site author even created a mock letter, with Israeli kids actually wishing the death of Lebanese, Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and Christian children.

In the long discussion thread, however, quite a few readers, keeping with the literal, emphasized that the actual target (and object of the twisted love message) was solely and specifically Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah.  Nasrallah, it should be added, was also the man responsible for the bombs falling on Kiryat Shmona, the town where these children are from, and where the pictures were taken.

(To better understand the context, the message on one missile — based on two different views — reads in English: “[To] Nazrala with love from Israel.”  A second message, translated from Hebrew, apparently reads: “I’ve been waiting for this a long time”, and is signed “Nasrallah.”)

I also came upon a post and discussion thread on tinyrevolution.com.  The post was disheartening, setting up a simplistic, cynical analogy implicating both Arab and Israeli children as sick little killers.  Some interesting terms and phrases jumped out of the discussion, however.  Specifically, references were made to these images being framed or staged.  Different readers mentioned:

having elementary school kids write those messages … as part of some State-run activity.”

bringing kids into the proximity of high explosives”

“Israeli girls .. apparently .. told to “sign” bombs”



Reading further, still another theme emerged, this one suggesting the pics were either orchestrated, or at least co-opted and mediated by the media.  Notice the comments and the terminology:

The point is that pictures like this of Palestinian children are continually trotted out to explain why Palestinians are maniacs who can never be negotiated with…. (via boingboing)

This unfortunate ‘photo op’ … with the meme [of] bloodthirsty Israeli children….

You can read his entire post for yourself, but I think my friend Dennis Dunleavy — a visual theorist and critic — caught these photos just right.  His discussion, Photojournalism and Propaganda: Are Photo-Ops Fact or Fiction?, is subtitled:  Do photojournalists intentionally set out to stir up controversy and debate by making pictures that may later offend viewers?

Here’s a snip:

[W]hat the photojournalists recorded presumably was a fact. There was a group of Israeli children gathered to write hate messages on bombs to be used in the escalating conflict in Lebanon.

Is this news? By most journalistic standards, this … would be considered as newsworthy as any other type of staged event. The only criticism I have here – something that I have encountered many times in my own career – is that many photojournalists forget about how the event is “staged” for the camera before hand. Many photojournalists, myself included, tend to get caught up with “getting the picture” and do not generally indulge in evaluating the moral complexities or consequences of a particular event unfolding before them and for them.

In this case, we don’t know if the photographers just happened to come along at the time when the children gathered to sign the bombs or if someone had arranged for the journalists to be there. My strongest instincts suggest the latter may be the case.

Let’s face it, the media are constantly be[ing] used to propagandize a particularly ideology. The visual message, especially when children are involved, is extremely persuasive.



If uncertain how much innocence or spontaneity to afford this scene, a simple discovery seemed to pull back the curtain.  Every email I was sent, and every blog I had viewed contained one or both of the images above, kindly selected for us by the Associated Press.  These images were also the only two representing this situation on the widely-followed YahooNews.

What I finally noticed, however, was that the sabbah.biz site (originating from Bahrain) offered up a third image, this one credited to AFP.

Bombsigning3

Interestingly, this shot featured not just the children “caught in the act,” but a photographer “doing the catching.”  (Yes, this might be a parent.  Notice the women in the first shot, above, seems to also sport a camera.  But I doubt it.)

In combination, these pictures reveal these children as the subject of a photo shoot, with multiple photographers (representing world-wide photo news agencies) shooting simultaneously from both directions.  Given the context, it seems to appear that the woman in the blue-and-white dress, and even the soldier, a good distance away, on top of the tank, are something of an audience.

Better for them that they see what’s going down.  For us, on the other hand, unaware of the stage (and unwitting consumers of “knock out” information product), we can only be outraged.

(image 1 & 2: Sebastian Scheiner/A.P.  Artillery position near Kiryat Shmona,  Northern Israel, next to the Lebanese border. July 17, 2006.  Via YahooNews.  image 3: unattributed. AFP.)

  • Snazzy

    The Photo Op: From Israel with Love.
    Even our youngest and prettiest–those that the world has the most to offer–are committed to killing you.
    Let us send you a message of kindness while we kill you, assuming, of course, we cannot literally kill you with our kindness.
    That the girls are so young suggests the usual intractability of the Arab/Israeli conflict. Generational war; well, here’s a new generation for you, happy for war. The message is that these enthusiastic girls will gladly fight or support the fighting for their lifetimes. They play today, like conflict-free children would, with make-believe dolls or houses, but instead of toys these kids have been given live bombs to play with. It is a suggestion of the same modeling of adults that all children engage in; they play with the toys of their parents. Children mimic the adults of the world in order to learn how to live as one.
    The adults in these children’s lives are ready to kill their geographic neighbors.
    The photo is propaganda, intentional propaganda and strong propaganda. There is a point where today’s humdrum photo-op (so many!) turns into something more. Something insidious. Something which is itself a weapon of war, the very image, at least by its intent. Photo ops obviously are not accidental, and each has intent. That such an event as the children bomb signing was envisioned, arranged and staged (and covered), that is the real story and a bit of history we will see unfold.
    Personally, I despise any photo-op which makes children the unwitting champions of a cause. In this staged event especially, they are made a weapon of war and maybe also made insensitive to the killing the bombs will produce. A decision their government and parents may support, but one which they are years from considering on their own.
    (N.B. turned this on it’s side in pshop and saw what it said—the AFP photo. Reminded of Dr. Strangelove among other scary things.)

  • Neal

    The saddest and most disheartening image, so far. Who can see the good in this, innocent malevolence? It is the perfect image for the stirring up both sides.

  • nitro

    Notice the orange strings in their hair?….
    Israel in on LSD…

  • ummabdulla

    Uh-oh… a photo that gives a negative view of Israel. Let’s go out of our way to make excuses for it…
    I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had told the photographers that this was taking place – isn’t that how they get most of their pictures? So what? Who is supposed to have arranged the photo-op? Their parents must have been involved – or is the idea that some nasty anti-Semitic photographers put them up to it? Since there’s an Israeli soldier watching, and since this area would presumable have had some security so that children couldn’t just walk up and play with these weapons, and since any photos and reports from Israel are strictly censored, the Army must have approved.
    It’s the same girl in all three pictures. In the third picture, it’s probably just the AP photographer who’s seen taking pictures from her other side.
    Maybe they’re writing to Nasrallah, but we all know those are going to be killing civilians, just like the rest of them. Maybe even little girls like them, as so many have. But those girls don’t have bomb shelters to go to (and neither do girls in the Arab Israeli villages, even though they’re Israeli citizens).
    By the way, the third one was the one that was on the front page of my newspaper (the Kuwait edition of the Daily Star, which is a Lebanese newspaper) on Tuesday (July 18th). The caption read, “Young Israeli girls attach messages to shells to be dropped in Israel’s offensive against Gaza and Lebanon”.
    AFP photos and reports are often much better than those of other agencies, but I often can’t find them online. Was this photo available online?

  • wiesseharre

    khmerika

  • weisseharre

    rulz

  • Marysz

    Here are children who don’t realize the implications of what they’re doing. But I wonder how they’ll feel looking back at these pictures of themselves when they’re adults. Let’s hope they hold the so-called grown-ups who goaded them into this responsible. By then they’ll know that Nasrallah was a weasel who crawled into the shadows (right now he’s in “hiding”) and let the most innocent and vulnerable citizens of both Israel and Lebanon take the hit for his actions. These photographs will haunt these children for the rest of their lives.

  • http://www.jaxxattaxx.com/ black dog barking

    When my daughter was that age her penmanship was excellent, too. She drew her letters with the same care we see here, because she listened carefully to her teachers. She wrapped her whole hand around the marker, just like the girl in the photo. Like the girl in the photo she wore little string bracelets, tied her hair with bright colors. If her teachers had bused the class to a munitions dump, handed the children markers and told them to print messages on the shells, she too would have carefully followed instructions with the earnest seriousness we see in the photos, the natural face of children that age.
    I sit here now trying to imagine what I’d have done if my daughter had been conscripted to stage such a scene. I come up blank. None of my child’s teachers would have asked this of my child.
    If I’d asked my daughter to write on shells she’d have wanted to know why. World War II GI’s wrote messages to Hitler on their ordinance, understandable, and I would have too. But I have no idea why a school girl would do it.

  • limapup

    Sad. Very sad. Is there no hope for humanity? A tooth for a tooth lesson being passed from generation to generation and captured in a freeze frame for ever.
    Would it be any different if the little girls were wearing army fatigues and were carrying weapons instead of pencils?

  • Quentin

    Now, try to imagine the parents of these children writing messages on bombs. Wouldn’t many people find that very childish? Well, I would.

  • http://blog.thought-mesh.net Annoying Old Guy

    My first thought was “who is letting children touch high explosives?”. What if one of the kids knocked over one of the shells? Presumably they’re not fused yet, but it still seems a bit reckless.
    Quentin;
    No, I wouldn’t find that childish at all. Writing messages on projectile weapons is a very common thing for soldiers to do, dating back to the days of catapults. does this guy look childish to you?

  • jt from BC

    Its all *a matter of degree,* it wasn’t only Lenin or Stalin who knew and are credited with saying, “Give me the children for the first ten years and I will have them for life all leaders know this.
    Consider:
    A man who sees another man on the street corner with only a stump for an arm will be so shocked the first time he’ll give him sixpence. But the second time it’ll only be a three penny bit. And if he sees him a third time, he’ll have him cold-bloodedly handed over to the police. Bertolt Brecht
    AOG, as a history buff I assume you are aware that 68,000 Canadians (probably the Canuck writing on the shell as well) offered themselves up for slaughter. Percapita this represented the greatest number of soldiers killed of any nation in WW I “the war to end all wars”.
    I appreciate your concern for children these soldiers in the main has just chronologically graduated from childhood.
    The question or the message is, have we grown up, or are we still in *a child like state* of awareness ?

  • cynic

    I was much more intrigued by the woman in an orange frock in the second photograph in the background – she is smiling / laughing like she was at a backyard barbecue.
    Is it really that simple over there? Uncontrolled Death is sent with smiles and laughter?
    If that is true, humanity has nochance of survival.

  • Bob

    I happened to check this site just after checking the ABC Blotter site, which has an item on the Dutch “Pedophilia Party” — “The PNVD, widely known as the “pedophile” party, caused a stir in May when the group announced on a newly-registered official website its goal of lowering the legal age of sexual consent from 16 to 12 and ultimately scrapping the age requirement altogether. The group believes children should have the right to make sexual decisions without state interference.”
    Explaining opposition to this outlook, an American expert notes:
    “Pedophile groups like this are just skirting the issue of consent,” says Dr. Gene G. Abel, a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Emory University and an expert on sexual pathology. “Children at the age of 12 haven’t yet developed the moral framework to make an informed decision on whether or not to engage in sexual activity. Often the logic of children at that age is simply to do what an adult or authority figure tells them, which in this case is to perform sexual acts.”
    Or,in the Israeli case, to perform propaganda acts. The adults who organized the bomb-signing event are not pedophiles, but I think they might qualify as pornographers.

  • http://highcontrastcomedy.com boxcar

    Great Photo and intial analysis. The comments so far have been precise to the image. Would like to add a broader persepective.
    This image represents the continual deep seeded engraving of regional hate that has been going on for decades and decades. We all hear of China, and how the school children are forced to watch TV with “The leader is Great.” messaging. We see and hear all the time of the children of the Muslim fanatics being trained “to hate Israel”. How the Palestinians raise the children with the message of killing Israel and on and on. And we in the west are aghast at how people can instill such hate into their young. So naturally they are insane, radical people that cannot be rationally dealt with.
    But how cute to have little western looking school kids coloring on bombs (knowing full well what they are and what they do…sorry, not buying any innocence of children here. Six year olds in the US know what an AK-47 can do. You bet that children growing up in the conitnual threat of attack sure do know what those pointy little things are.)
    The simple truth is that society NEEDS to continue to teach their kids that war is a good and natural part of life. We all do it. The west just makes it cuter.
    …and perhaps more effective. What better killing machine than the one that thinks they are simply sending little love notes.
    peace and progress
    boxcar

  • Neal

    Innocent in the sense that they have yet to see the blood, bone and intestines, malevolent in the sense of purposely wishing the death of others.

  • readytoblowagasket

    These are portraits of socially acceptable insanity. I have two words for the adults responsible for this scene: Hitler Youth.
    “German youth could join the Hitler Youth beginning at the age of 10. The organization was divided into two categories, one for members ages 10-14 and the other for members 14-18. The organizational structure was based on a military model, with squads, platoons, and companies.
    “Hitler was a firm believer in the need to indoctrinate Nazi ideology early and the power of young people in ensuring the continued vitality of the ‘Thousand Year Reich.’ The Hitler Youth was based on Hitler’s anti-intellectualism, focusing on military training in preparation for becoming a soldier at 18.
    “Young German women were indoctrinated with the values of obedience, duty, self-sacrifice, discipline and physical self-control. The goal of girls in the BDM was to prepare women for motherhood and raise children who would be educated in the ways of National Socialism. They were indoctrinated with ‘racial pride’ and told to avoid any contact with Jews.
    “During World War II, the girls of the BDM played a significant role in the ideological and propaganda side. The girls’ division of Hitler Youth was much more ideological then the boys’. Sometimes estranged from their families, the girls would become their family’s ideological guides and guards.”
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/hitleryouth.html

  • http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/category/mideast-peace/ Richard Silverstein

    Michael: You did a good job of capturing the nuance of the image & its context. An Israeli blogger whose political perspective is different fr. my own has published her version of the context which she collected fr. an Israeli photograher who was at the site. She confirms it was a staged or semi-staged situation & that the children had been in a bomb shelter for several days & just “come up for air.” However, I don’t agree w. Goldman’s attempt to temporize or “explain away” the sentiments expressed by the girls.
    What is also interesting to me is the “story” created after the fact by the partisans on both sides who either are trying to make the Israeli children out to be bloodthirsty young haters; and those on the other like the Israeli blogger who’re concerned with the “bad impression” it conveys of Israelis.
    The fact of the matter is that this war instills hatred, ignorance & “lashing out” on both sides of the conflict. Just take me for example, I’ve been writing at my blog for over a wk. denouncing the Israeli invasion (& Hezbollah’s rocketing of Israel too) & yet several Arab commenters have written profanity laced comments treating me as if I’m their enemy. One wrote “Jude+terroristen.” Thankfully, two Lebanese bloggers I’ve been reading & writing to about the conflict have pointed out that war tends to do this to people, which I think places it in its proper context. War tends to warp the mind & judgment.

  • Cactus

    Question: Why do zealots always drag children into their schemes?
    Item: Gdub’s veto of stem-cell research yesterday surrounded by little “snowflake babies.”
    Item: Christianist family leader telling dads to shower with their sons so they can see a ‘real’ man and thus not become a homosexual.
    Item: Zionists taming their weapons of mass destruction by busing children to autograph them for photo ops.
    Is it because they inherently know their own evil and are trying to distract us from such evil intent by dangling the innocence of children before our eyes?

  • http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/category/mideast-peace/ Richard Silverstein

    Was this photo available online?

    Amabdullah: Yes. Here’s a link Michael provided to me from Yahoo Photos.

  • http://sunrunner.wordpress.com sunrunner

    The children are (once again) the real victims here. They will one day be faced with this action, for which they could have no understanding.
    Bad parents come in all shapes, sizes and nationalities. So — I can’t be overly critical of them even. But what I find particularly abhorent is that the Israeli military allowed the children to even touch the missles, much less write on them.
    If Lebanese or Palestinian children were photographed doing the same thing, the entire world would be screaming about the “culture of hate” in the Arab world.
    The photagraphers who participated — have either unwittingly — revealed that it generally takes two sides to maintain a culture of hatred. “Some” Arab children are raised to hate, just as some “Jewish/Israeli” children are raised to hate (see how “Pam” of Atlasshrugs.typepad.com indoctrinates her children, for example).

  • Quentin

    AOG,
    Yes, thanks for showing me something I didn’t know. So, then, if it’s not childish, it might be the opposite: I guess just plain normal because adults are not known ever to be childish. Maybe the whole thing is a put up job and the armanents are dummies.
    I find it distressing that adults put the children up to this. Could they have possibly thought of it themselves? Why have the adults chosen to let the kids do it instead of doing it themselves? That was more or less my point. As the Bag has elarier pointed out, the unconscious has become unfashionable…

  • limapup

    I emailed this story and pix to all my contacts. I can’t wait to hear what the Bushies will say about this – my guess is that they will not find anything wrong at any level. And so HATE is normalized and made into entertainment.

  • http://www.blogatha.blogspot.com/ Karen

    I just want to get this out of the way: In my opinion, Israel is out of line in the amount of force and destruction they are causing and they’re doing it because of the vacuum the US has created in the region, especially the chaos in Iraq and because we’ve been intentionally silent. At the same time, I have some sympathy for Israel. I believe all parties must accept each other’s existence and go from there. I wish we had the kind of adiministration in power which was engaged as an honest broker between the Israelis and Palestinians. I also believe the Arab countries tacitly approving by not disapproving of the conflict are doing so because they are majority sunni as opposed to shi’ia and because they fear Iran’s growing influence. Bottom line, it appears the major players are saying what’s the death of a few children on either side when control is at issue….
    That being said…..
    what’s the difference between photos of Palestinian children dressed up as suicide bombers and photos of Isaraeli children signing bombs? Are the latter more staged? I’d really appreciate a response, but I don’t get it. It all looks terribly sad and war sick to me.

  • Al

    Will you please stop making excuses for Israel? If you want to see more photos like this just head over to http://www.gettyimages.com and under the Editorial section search for “Israeli girls”.
    The photos are a sign of the moral corruption and bankruptcy of the state of Israel – why is it so hard for you to come out and just say so?
    The photos also show that contrary to media reports, the Israeli/Lebanese “frontline” is quite safe – for the Israelis that is. Safe enough for kids to come over to artillery units and joyfully sign their greetings. Safe enough for parents to think a “field trip” to the soldiers for their kids will be a nice outing.
    As for the greetings themselves – yes, one of them is a greeting for Nasrallah. Do you think an artillery shell has the guidance and precision to land on Nasrallah’s turban? Or can your mind think a bit more realistically – that it will land on some poor Lebanese family’s house and kill the civilians inside, 300+ up to this point?

  • Al

    More photos of the girls:
    Photo 1
    Photo 2
    Photo 3

  • Shaun

    The photos are irresponsible (of the parents and journalists), that’s about all. It’s just like the people who signed bombs in WWII; the kids think they’re being patriotic and from their perspective they’re firing back at the terrorist who drove them into underground bomb shelters–big deal! That’s why it says “To Nasrallah…,” it doesn’t say “To the Palestinians” or “To the Lebanese…” You try getting hundreds of missiles shot at you’re family by terrorists and then do and say everything 100% PC….
    Besides, its not state sanctioned behaviour so who cares what a few people in one little place do? Find me another example of this and then I’ll take you seriously. If you’ve only got one example of this it doesn’t indicate a “culture of hate” at all. In fact, that you have an entire country of people constantly under attack and only a few photos like this actually suggests its not a very jingoistic society at all (ever take a statistics class?)…
    Israeli children don’t hate Lebanese children–you’d have to prove that for the images to be truly obscene.

  • Quentin

    Are only Israeli girls, not boys, scribbling sweet nothings on bombs? If so, how curious, almost obscene. Does anyone know?

  • Quentin

    Shaun, It is not necessary to prove that Israeli children hate Lebanese children to call the activity ‘truly obscene’. You see, it’s the parents who are whoring their children. Disgusting of me to say such a thing, huh, but what else is it? The children are getting attention and probably having fun. FUN! The parents are using the children for the cause and possibly their own amusement. How could Israeli children possibly hate Lebanese children? Maybe their parents told them to.

  • Al

    The culture of hate exists when close to 90% of Israelis approve of the assault and murder in Lebanon, and 60% want it to continue till the destruction of Hezbollah (an impossible task). That is 9 out of 10 Israelis – Israelis who have access to satellite TV and high speed Internet, who are intelligent human beings, who live in what the West calls “a free and democratic society” (but what is really an Apartheid regime), who see the daily carnage and massive destruction and bodies of dead and burnt children on TV and read about on the web.
    When they see what their army has done in Lebanon, and support it wholeheartedly, that is the definition of a corrupt and morally banckrupt culture.

  • wire moore

    Nothing is more tedious in the popular culture than super-intellectual media types using the medium to gaze at their own navels in wonderment at the power and consequences of their medium. The right place for such concerns is the subject of philosophy–I suggest starting with media philosopher Marshall McCluhan.
    The Bag ought not first be a philosophical forum.
    The point of reflection/introspection is to maintain one’s orientation in the face of one’s Self. Once oriented, we can turn our attention to the welfare and care of those around us.
    In the case of this Bag set-up (initial post) the dog is chasing his tail. Our sight obscured by a Bag over our heads creating confusion. Our sight is easily restored by slicing the Bag open with Occam’s Razor.
    Fundamentally, the function of photography is to bear witness. In these images it’s very clear: western culture has a sector of its own heart that encourages and promotes having little children to play with bombs while nourishing fantasies of true destruction in revenge. The finer points of the degrees of separation and the layering of situations and meanings of these images are irrelevant compared to the obvious content, which truely compels action beyond media self scrutiny.
    Of course the inevitable question will always be, how many level’s of production are we looking through to find the source (truth) of the image, and when we do, will we find only a production (illusion).
    All paradoxes are resolved by considering the message in context and seeing the contradiction for what it must be: the confusion of orders of abstraction.
    The Bag’s question in the case of these imags has nothing to do with the content of the image. The question is: is the mass visual medium at all reliable as a witness? Most people take it for granted that it is, without question. Most people who work in the media know better.
    Propaganda is the art of of using a publics assumptions of media fidelity against them. To mediate truth towards narrow interests.
    Where does the Bag figure in all this?
    The burden of responsibility lies with the most capable; with those who best know and therefore the primary concern for the knowledgeable and the capable is: how should we act?
    The photo itself is merely a window. Witness belongs with the takers, custodians, purveyors and viewers of the image.
    Therefore the concern of the Bag is ultimately never “what can we make of these images” which, though entertaining, has no useful end of itself. Our concern is: how shall we bear witness?
    Here we are doing visual analysis of pretty children making the world blind an eye-for-an-eye at a time.
    If what we witness through these images, these portals, is merely a staged event, only a show–if this is even on the table as a meaningful conclusion about the significance of the content of these imags, then we are completely lost and insane in the tower of Babel.
    In such a case It would be helpful for the Bag to turn away from the concerns of shades of meaning of images and use energy to focus on a much more pressing concern: helping us rediscover how to bear witness through photojournalism. If we can’t trust to witness through such images, then we have a pressing problem of integrity in the culture that transcends the decryption of meaning from any few images.
    Case studies are essential. But don’t live for the cases. This isn’t academic!
    I would be grateful to be able to learn more about the institutional structures that support photojournalistic culture: how images are sourced, selected, edited, distributed; how witness is mediated by professional structures.
    I fear that the creators and mediators of visual culture, inluding the Bag, have become so lost in a miasma of their medium that we can no longer recognize our own faces when we see them.
    -wire

  • Shaun

    Al, Israelis approving of their military’s operation in Lebanon does not amount to ‘hatred’ of Lebanon or a “culture of hatred” (whatever that means). They believe they are under attack and want it to stop–you disagree with the merit of attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon because you don’t think the civilian casualties are worth Israel’s security, right? Fine, that’s your opinion. But that they disagree does not equal “hate.” Don’t be so bombastic, it undermines your argument.
    Anyway, Israeli children have every right to hate Hezbollah and Nasrallah. In our country we play video games about the war in Iraq and people have punching bags with Osama Bin Ladin everywhere…Does that make us a “culture of hatred?”
    Anyway, here are a few images of writing on bombs in our country. Here’s one from the Navy’s website (something about “merry x-mas to Osama…”)
    http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/policy/vision/vis02/p7-c.gif
    Oh, here’s a good one of Miami Dolphin’s cheerleaders signing bombs headed for Afghanistan:
    http://www.miamidolphins.com/cheerleaders/behindthescenes/behindthescenes.asp?docid=5610&photoid=6094
    Here’s one that kicked up some trouble a while ago:
    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/thefed/v3/volume20/5/images/Hijack_this_fags.jpg
    And finally, a bomb dedicated to the memory of a child lost in 9-11:
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3178.htm
    My point? People do all kinds of stupid stuff when they’re angry, including signing bombs. Apparently that even includes Israelis! So stop feigning outrage and being a bunch of sanctimonious babies.

  • jt from BC

    On July 22, 1946 terrorism was officially sanctioned and introduced in Palestine by the Irgun.
    In July 2006, right-wing Israelis including Binyamin Netanyahu attended a 60th anniversary celebration of the bombing, which was organized by the Menachem Begin Centre.
    Two days remain for those who wish to celebrate this inaugural act of terrorists.

  • http://perlustration.blogspot.com/ daryoush

    Lest look at this picture with this perspective:
    Brig. Gen. Ido Nehushtan insisted the Israeli army never targets civilians but has no way of knowing if they are in an area it is striking. “Civilians might be in the area because Hezbollah is operating from civilian territory,” he said. Source
    From the picture it appears that Israel army is using the civilians as shield exactly what they accused Hizbollah of.
    In the same article he says:
    He said that Hezbollah has fired more than 1,100 rockets at civilian areas in Israel since the fighting began and that 12 percent — or about 750,000 people — of Israel’s population lives in areas that can be targeted by the guerrillas.
    If you notice the soldiers helmets are on the shells, kids are in their tank tops. The general wants to portray a population under siege, where it reality it seems to be another beautiful day in the neighborhood.

  • http://www.bottomunion.com/blog bottomunion

    Reminds me of a famous photo of Rosa Parks, which has her sitting on one side of the bus, and then when you go to the museum, which supposedly has the actual bus, the tour guide tells you she sat on the other side of the bus. A large majority of documentation is staged, where the frame acts as a stage. You can include or exclude what you want in that frame.

  • Al

    Showing me photos of cheerleaders signing bombs and a bomb dedicated to the memory of a child lost in 9-11 simply confirms that there is little distinction between US and Israel when it comes to racism and mass murder. Both cultures are cultures of bullies and hence, corrupt to the core.

  • http://www.wreckingboy.com/madworld Nezua-Limón Xoloquinta-Jonez

    Annoying Old Guy:
    Yes, he does.
    Wire:
    SuperIntellectualTedium say wha?
    _________
    To me, these images say “our world, for the most part, is blind to the salvation of the human race” which is, of course, the purity and heart and hope that lies in children. Instead of taking our cue from them, we instead bend them into strange shapes so that they further our own malaise. It’s just sad.

  • Cactus

    For once, I disagree with ummabdulla. I don’t think anyone here was making excuses for Israel but I think we can generally agree that children that young (they look to be about 10-12) can hardly take independent action with any individual thought. IOW, they are pretty much at the mercy of their parents/teachers et al. Condemnation of adults for using children as psy-ops isn’t making excuses for Israel. As viewed by the other side, they could as well incite anger and even more determination instead of the ‘fear’ the Israelis hoped.
    boxcar, I don’t think people were saying that children don’t know what the bombs do, rather that they don’t have the developmental skills to decide FOR THEMSELVES THE RIGHT OR WRONG-ness of the situation. I may be a slow learner, but I remember quite well at the age of 15 realizing that I actually had an opinion that differed from my parents. [Not to change subjects, but that is the problem in this country with sex non-education. They all know the dirty bits at 7 or 8, but an adult has to explain all the ramifications, and 'don't do it' doesn't work.]
    From “OnTheFace” via RichardSilverstein “…And besides, none of those children had seen images of dead people – either Israeli or Lebanese. Israeli television doesn’t broadcast them, nor do the newspapers print them….” Sound familiar? In Al’s photos, these little girls are really getting into it. With helmets, soldiers and miscellaneous objets-de-guerre scattered around. “Lord of the Flies” comes to mind. They are about the same age.
    I could be off base here, but after listening (only because I couldn’t avoid it) to the whining and moaning by the leaders on both sides, it seems to me that THEY are the children. Like school-yard toughs, both sides are posturing and preening, whining for an audience of their sympathizers totally oblivious to the fact that real families are being decimated. They don’t care who gets hurt as long as they are seen, by their respective sides, as tough, the toughest.
    NOTE: After reading wiremoore’s comment, I’m gonna sit and think a while.

  • readytoblowagasket

    As if a *BOMB* isn’t message enough.

  • http://alovelypromise.blogspot.com Nell

    The Guardian blog has a post in which Lisa Goldman, in Israel, finds out more about the circumstances. The parents set this scene up by initiating the writing on the missiles, not the photographers. Which just reinforces the plain meaning that most viewers took from the images.
    The post was disheartening, setting up a simplistic, cynical analogy implicating both Arab and Israeli children as sick little killers.
    This reading of the Tiny Revolution post almost couldn’t be more off base. A guide to comprehension: imagine that the photo is of Lebanese children signing rockets to be launched at Israel. Now imagine the response of the typical American blogger, from “liberal” all the way over to Little Green Footballs. Got it?
    Probably not, since you apparently felt such a need to mitigate or deny the obvious story the pictures tell — to the point of blaming the photographers for it.

  • ummabdulla

    I guess I’m just not understanding what difference all these explanations make.
    Lisa writes that the AP reporter who took the pictures wouldn’t be quoted, but an Israeli reporter was happy to be quoted, because she “was quite shocked to learn how badly the photo had been misinterpreted and misrepresented”. What’s to misinterpret?
    The reporter insisted “that nobody who was there spoke with hatred about the Lebanese”. Yeah, right… it would be natural for them to have hatred towards the people who they’re at war with – why not just be real and admit it?
    I have no doubt that the children are scared by the rockets, and I have no doubt that they were a little stir crazy from sitting inside. Just for the record, though, their bomb shelters aren’t holes in the ground; this community is close to the Lebanese border and is well-prepared for attacks. The bomb shelters look like they’ve been designed by IKEA, with foldaway bunk beds and children’s pictures on the walls.
    She also says that it was the parents who wrote the messages and then they just handed the markers to the girls who drew Israeli flags. Again, if that’s true, I’m not sure why that makes it any better, but if you look at all of the pictures available (like those at the link Al provided at http://www.gettyimages.com), that just doesn’t seem to be the case. And the writing looks childlike to me.
    She writes that Israel TV doesn’t show dead bodies (how noble of them, as she explains). But does that mean that they also don’t report that hundreds of Lebanese have been killed? (And do they have access to other news channels?) These girls are living at the Lebanese border, in a place where they can see Israeli soldiers and where they have bomb shelters, but we’re supposed to believe that they’re so naive and innocent that they have no idea what’s going on? Someone told them “Nasrallah is the bad man” and that’s all they knew? No one mentions how old the girls are, but the one who’s featured in the photos is certainly old enough to know what’s going on.
    I don’t understand why the photographers are being blamed, either. The girls were writing, their parents encouraged them, the soldiers allowed them, and the censors allowed the photos out.

  • Sedat

    İnsanlar Bu Kadar Hor Görülmemeli Bence. Çok Yanlış Yapıyorlar Kardeşçe, Sevgi, Saygı İçinde Yaşamak Varken Bu Savaş Ne Tek Bildiğim Şey A.B.D nin Bütün Oyunları Tutuyor. Kimsede Bunlara Dur Diyemiyor. Kendimi Feda Edebilirim Yeterki Bush Devri Bitsin.. Tanrım Sen Lübnan Ve Filistine Yardım Et. Çünkü İnsanlar İnsanları Anlayamıyor sadece İzliyor..

  • http://profile.typekey.com/aog/ Annoying Old Guy

    jt;
    Didn’t you mean

    On August 16, 1929 terrorism was officially sanctioned and introduced in Palestine by Haj Amin al Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem.

    Seriously, how can you make such definitive statements while knowing so little about the history of the region? But, hey, go on believing that everyone lived in peace and harmony in Palestine until the nasty Irgun came up with the idea of killing people for political reasons.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/aog/ Annoying Old Guy

    jt;
    Didn’t you mean

    On August 16, 1929 terrorism was officially sanctioned and introduced in Palestine by Haj Amin al Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem.

    Seriously, how can you make such definitive statements while knowing so little about the history of the region? But, hey, go on believing that everyone lived in peace and harmony in Palestine until the nasty Irgun came up with the idea of killing people for political reasons.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/thomasn528/ Thomas Nephew

    I also came upon a post and discussion thread on tinyrevolution.com. The post was disheartening, setting up a simplistic, cynical analogy implicating both Arab and Israeli children as sick little killers.
    I understood Schwarz’s intent differently here. There is (or was, it’s been a while for me) a trope on LGF called “Palestinian child abuse” or something like that. It involves showing photos — and sadly, apparently authentic ones — of West Bank, Gaza, etc. kids dressed in suicide bomber mockups, or in military garb, etc. I think Schwarz was simply pointing out that the impulse to indoctrinate kids with hatred and use them for propaganda purposes is not as one-sided as certain wingnut propaganda has implied.

  • statusquomustgo

    My heart breaks……sigh
    It seems that with this image alone that the world
    is creating another generation of humans that will be
    filled with hate & rage.
    Angry at people that if they took the
    time to know them, they would find their
    interests and similarities astounding.
    My heart breaks…..sigh

  • Al

    Instructions in an easy to understand graphic for those interested:
    How to effectively implicate your kids in murder and teach them hate, in just two steps

  • Shaun

    ummabdulla wrote: “The reporter insisted ‘that nobody who was there spoke with hatred about the Lebanese’. Yeah, right… it would be natural for them to have hatred towards the people who they’re at war with – why not just be real and admit it?”
    Again, you didn’t prove the kids hate the Lebanese, you just stated it. I suspect they don’t hate the Lebanese, only Hezbollah (that’s who they’re at war with). What’s more likely is that you hate the Israeli’s (Jews) and that’s why you’re frothing at the mouth to prove those kids both understand that civilians will be killed by the bombs they’re signing and are happy about it. That’s a ludicrous claim, just one of many showing that your a Muslim nationalist parading as a concerned liberal.
    By the way, you think its important to point out that: “Just for the record, though, their bomb shelters aren’t holes in the ground…The bomb shelters look like they’ve been designed by IKEA, with foldaway bunk beds and children’s pictures on the walls.” Why is that important to point out? Is it really so essential to denigrate the suffering of the Israelis? Fine, but so long as we’re putting things straight ‘just for the record’, ummabdulla, you’re sitting in a comfortable home in Kuwait, right? Kuwait is also an American client-state, just like Israel. You like to sit around and criticize the US and Israel and agitate for Arab interests but if we hadn’t saved your fake little state from big bad Saddam Hussein, you’d be swinging from a lamp post by now, right?
    The only difference between Israel and Kuwait is that in Israel the bomb-shelters are fitted with IKEA furniture and in Kuwait the toilets are made of gold thanks to the oil reperations Iraq pays your “Emir” for the first Gulf War. Oh yeah, and Israel is a democracy where woman can vote, almost forgot to mention that.

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com/ Rafael

    Except that those shells are been fired at more than Hezbollah, both sides claim military targets but the evidence shows that neither side in fact seeks to destroy the civilian infractructure of the other and terrorize the other side. I don’t balme the kids (at least, no yet) I blame the parents that encourage them to do things like this. Its disgusting.

  • gleex

    so what – the point is it happended – there are the pictures. And it does not matter if they sent them to the leader of the enemy – the bombs were aimed at roads, bridges, power, water – and we have seen the tiny coffins that they created in the 100’s. Just as any image like this from any side would sicken me.
    I would not disparage people taking this at its face, or being sickened by parents brining their children here. That should be the response. Imagine Mikey from the Life cereal commerical signing the bomb to Hiroshima – its disgusting.

  • jt from BC

    AOG, I am aware of your reference but if BB and other leading terrorists of his ilk accept this date and celebrate it, then Israeli behavior since then is above reproach, officially or otherwise and easily understood, rationalized and expanding land theft but a minor misdemeanor. The two Israeli soldiers captured or detained were in retaliation for the IDF capturing or detaining two Palestinians suspects. Of course the MSM uses different words for different ethnic groups as you are aware. And what are two Palestinians among thousands imprisoned compared to two members of the IDF !
    [In July 2006, right-wing Israelis including Binyamin Netanyahu attended a 60th anniversary celebration of the bombing, which was organized by the Menachem Begin Centre.]

  • jt from BC

    AOG, an update you may have missed
    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0720-25.htm

  • Ummabdulla

    Shaun, I’m making excuses for you because you’re obviously quite young and naive. I considered responding to your post, but since it’s virtually all wrong, it would take me too long. Then I thought maybe I’d just say, “well, everything is wrong except…” and just mention what was accurate. But I searched in vain for anything that was accurate, until I got to your last point. So yes, it’s true that Israeli women vote. I have no idea what that has to do with anything, and considering the people they’ve elected over the years, I can’t see that it’s anything to be brag about. It occurs to me that maybe you think that Kuwaiti women don’t vote; if so, you’re wrong there, too.
    But really Shaun, do you think we have gold toilets? And maybe oil wells in our backyards too?

  • http://profile.typekey.com/aog/ Annoying Old Guy

    jt;
    My question remains – if that was your point, why make the ludicrous claim that the Irgun introduced terrorism in to Palestine? It doesn’t help your case to throw in claims that even the most casual student knows are completely bogus.
    As for the article, Ali claims that the USA wants (1) Syrian dominance in Lebanon and (2) the overthrow of Syria. Yeah, that makes sense… I’d be happy to hash that out with you over on my weblog rather than clogging up TheBAG. I’ll try to get it up before tomorrow.

  • http://www.keirneuringer.blogspot.com Keir

    Who gives a shit who introduced terror tactics into the region? The point is none of the players seem to be humane enough to avoid using them now. The design, construction, sale, and use of bombs are all parts of the machinery of terror. And all of it effects children the most. And we all know that very well.
    As to the photographs in question: certainly the photographers can be forgiven, as can the children inscribing the weapons. But can the people responsible for the physical and emotional welfare of these children be pardoned? Should they be permitted near children ever again? The behavior of the children, while lamentable (who taught them to smile at war?) is understandable. But that of the children’s parents, and of the army, is sociopathic. It is sick. After the actual murder of actual children (photos abound on the web), these photographs represent the greatest crime there is.

  • Peanut

    In 1942, I remember at 6 or 7 being yanked swiftly into the house by my mother because I announced to all my neighborhood playmates that my teacher said we shouldn’t hate the Japanese people because Tojo and their leaders were causing the war.

  • Chris

    “Anyway, Israeli children have every right to hate Hezbollah and Nasrallah. In our country we play video games about the war in Iraq and people have punching bags with Osama Bin Ladin everywhere…Does that make us a “culture of hatred?”"
    These are not the things that make “…us a “culture of hatred?” but are syptoms of what is without question a culture of hatred. That this hatred is more implicit than explicit in most cases is what allows “us” to claim to be a culture of freedom and openness as opposed to racist, misogynist, militaristic and completely out of touch with our impact on the natural world.
    That humans can engage in wholesale destruction without feeling hatred is not something to be proud of. It is a symptom of the level of dissociation from the horrors of warfare.
    For some unapolagetically Leftist discussion of the relation between sexism, racism and militarism visit http://www.stangoff.com. The comments threads have some lively debates…while you’re there buy a copy of his ebook Sex and War.
    Thanks for posting these pix BAG.
    BTW…the angles of the photos make it look like the shells are about to fall on the girl in the top picture and that they’ll be pushed over by the girl leaning on them in the bottom one.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Shaun said: “Again, you didn’t prove the kids hate the Lebanese, you just stated it.”
    Seems stating rather than proving is *your* forte.
    “It’s just like the people who signed bombs in WWII” (How is this “just like” it?)
    “the kids think they’re being patriotic” (You know this *how*?)
    “they’re firing back at the terrorist who drove them into underground bomb shelters–big deal!” (How do you know what’s in their minds?)
    “its not state sanctioned behaviour” (How do you know this?)
    “who cares what a few people in one little place do?” (How do you know it’s not a lot of people in many places?)
    “Israeli children don’t hate Lebanese children” (How do you know?)
    “Israeli children have every right to hate Hezbollah and Nasrallah.” (Where is it written that they have such “rights”?)
    “People do all kinds of stupid stuff when they’re angry, including signing bombs.” (People do stupid stuff, kids do kid stuff.)
    “you hate the Israeli’s (Jews)” (How do you know this?)
    “your a Muslim nationalist parading as a concerned liberal.” (How do you know this?)
    “Kuwait is also an American client-state, just like Israel.” (Kuwait = Israel? Are you joking?)
    “if we hadn’t saved your fake little state from big bad Saddam Hussein, you’d be swinging from a lamp post by now, right?” (What does this have to do with anything?)
    “in Kuwait the toilets are made of gold” (Are you expecting us to take you seriously?)

  • George

    Keir wrote: Who gives a shit who introduced terror tactics into the region?
    It matters because Israel is portrayed as the innocent to the American people. In fact Israel used the exact same sort of terror tactics that are today used by Palestinians. Israel used them in the course of stealing land, and Palestinians use them in the cause of trying to get it back. Now that America’s taxpayers provide Israel with a modern army, we can all proceed with the fiction that blowing up civilians from the air is not terrorism, while blowing them up with a suicide belt is. (Which is part of the point of Keir’s excellent posting.)

  • Gimme a break

    Wow, you have got to be kidding. There is no excuse for this picture -and the liberal conscious will not allow it- so let me say this: screw the zionist hatred. Screw the twisted psuedo-democracy of Isreal. Islamofacism? How about Ziofacism? This is evil, no bones about it, no excuses.

  • Cactus

    In my post above I said I wanted to sit and think about wiremoore’s comments. A quick scan made me think he had some relevant criticism of The Bag. So I printed it and read it again. Twice. The conclusion I came to was that there was no there, there. Perhaps his point was that the medium is the “massage.” I wrote out responses to his points and intended to post it here. However, after reading rtbag’s excellent rebuttal to Shaun (and thinking about my response overnight) I decided not to post it. Instead, I would just refer the curious to this site:
    http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/rhetoric.php
    Now on to our touchy-feely leader.

  • Satyagraha

    Bloodthirsty children or media missiles ? you ask.
    Bloodthirsty adults is the obvious answer. Observe the older women in the background. One appears to be drinking a nice beverage of some kind. Looks like a garden party.
    This is depraved.

  • turkey

    Uyuma TAYYİP ERDOĞAN!! ßiz Savaşa Hazırız!

  • Yosima

    what the fucking is that people let those child to do that
    i can say fuck that soldire or geverment !!!!

  • http://methodius.livejournal.com/ Steve Hayes

    Someone commented on these pictures in his blog, and I had not seen them when I commented on them in my blog, having just a short while before read a news item about a child who might well have been a victim of those very missiles, bombs, shells or whatever.
    And I am saddened that a group of children are signing weapons that might soon be used to kill other children, who probably did not live very far from them geographically, and wondering what we adults can do to create a world in which it would be possible to play with each other and be friends.

  • Shaun

    readytoblow, I’ll try to answer your questions about my lack of evidence:
    1. ‘Just like signing bombs in WWII’—I’m just referring to a long tradition of bomb signing…for further evidence perhaps refer to the many links I attached (which you chose to ignore) or look up some further history yourself.
    2. ‘its patriotism’ and ‘they’re just firing back at the terrorists’–I offered the evidence of the bombs being signed ‘to Nasrallah’ not to the Lebanese. I’d say that signing the missiles to Nasrallah is fairly strong evidence that they think they’re shooting at the terrorists.
    4. ‘It’s not state sanctioned behavior.’ That’s not something that has to be proven–either we know it was sanctioned (through official statements, news, etc) or we have to assume it wasn’t…its implicit from the above thread that we’re discussing whether the event was spontaneous or staged by the media, not the government.
    5. ‘who cares what a few people in a few places do’. Ummabdulla and others are taking this picture and using it to indict all Israelis, which is poor social science. That’s why I wrote: “find me another example of this and then I’ll take you seriously…ever take a statistics class?” so in this case the dearth of photos of this kind is my evidence.
    6. ‘Israeli children don’t hate Lebanese children’. Here you’ve carefully taken me out of context. What I actually said was: “I suspect they don’t hate the Lebanese, only Hezbollah (that’s who they’re at war with).” In this case I’m relying on logic. That aside, the burden of proof should lie on those suggesting the children actually hate the Lebanese since it’s counterintuitive; I don’t have to prove they don’t, Ummabdulla has to prove they do.
    7. ‘Israeli children have every right to hate Hezbollah’. Fine, forget this one, you can have it. I have no idea how to philosophically justify hating people who are trying to kill you…
    8. ‘you [Ummabdulla] hate the Israelis’. Again, what I actually wrote was: “What’s more likely is that you hate the Israeli’s” and then I immediately offered evidence: “that’s why you’re frothing at the mouth to prove those kids both understand that civilians will be killed by the bombs they’re signing and are happy about it.”
    9. ‘you’re a Muslim nationalist parading as a concerned liberal’. This is the conclusion I have come to from these and previous Ummabdulla posts, as I stated. I believe I could program an “Ummabdulla bot” to post on the Bag that would sound exactly like her because she can be counted on to assume a cynical ‘bourgeois Muslim’ stance on nearly every issue. Her politics are transparent and not ‘liberal’ at all: she has stated her opposition to free speech (during the cartoon row), consistently provides revisionist, flattering Arab histories that include apologetics for mistreatment of women and minorities, and is virulently anti-Israel in a racist way (regularly invalidating their suffering and fears, portraying them as liars who kill women and children for sport, control US media and foreign policy, etc.)
    10.’Kuwait is also an American client state, just like Israel’. This is not the same things as stating that “Israel=Kuwait” (as you claim), however, my point is that its ironic that Ummabdulla hates Israel and America’s support for it given that she’s clearly a member of another US client-state in the middle east, Kuwait, which we saved from Iraq. But Israel is a democratic state while Kuwait is a bloated oil monarchy, so no, I don’t think they’re the same. By the way, Kuwaiti women did just obtain the right to vote last year, but they have not yet voted in full parliamentary elections and must use segregated booths. Kuwait’s history on women’s suffrage is nothing to be proud of.
    11. ‘If we hadn’t saved your fake little state from big bad Saddam Hussein…’ This is obviously a continuation of my previous point but I’m surprised you can’t see the relevance? Ummabdulla is opposed to US foreign policy in the Middle East, specifically our involvement in Iraq and support for Israel. But as a spoiled citizen of Kuwait she implicitly approves of our involvement in the first Gulf War. You, readytoblow, can’t possibly agree with her? All good liberals know the first Gulf War was just a campaign to maintain a post-colonial arbitrary division of Kuwait from Iraq for the sake of Kuwait’s Monarchy and our oil interests…
    12. ‘the toilets are made of gold’. this is called ‘hyperbole’, which is a literary device or a ‘figure of speech’. However, I am also alluding to the famous stories from the troops stationed in Kuwait during the first Gulf War who returned with tales of “golden faucets” (google it). The point of course is that Kuwait’s money comes from oil and while 20 percent of the people there are rich brats with ample time for blogging, the rest are disenfranchised foreign workers and servants. It is therefore one of the most inequitable, “apartheid,” contrived countries on Earth. I believe this invalidates 99 percent of Ummabdulla’s pseudo-liberal commentary.

  • Randolph

    Shaun’s long self-justification for his bigotry in the guise of exposing someone else’s bigotry would be an interesting philosophical argument, if I had the time and it were not so f**king hot! His attitude and argument are rather typical of all anti-Semitic arguments. There can be no discussion with them because anything said about Israel is immediately assumed to be anti-Semitic, case closed. It’s like the conundrum posed by one of my teachers: A man offered to give $1000 to any person who could prove to him a fallacy contained in the bible. What’s the catch? PROVE TO HIM. Which, of course, is an impossibility because of his certainty that the bible is the true and accurate word of his god.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Shaun, it’s tempting to dismiss you out of hand when you go on hysterical rants (and yes, it’s merely a rant; you didn’t effectively argue anything, you only revealed your personal issues with ummabdulla and, by extention, Kuwait). In addition, your rant is ignorant (I don’t know where you get your “facts,” but you might think about checking multiple sources soon — almost everything you’ve said is stunningly inaccurate, which makes you look foolish), knee-jerk (what did Kuwait, or for that matter, ummabdulla, ever do to you? Please don’t answer this.), saturated with bile, and you can’t debate your way out of a paper bag (sorry, but a “dearth of photos” doesn’t count as a point in your favor). If you were a one-time visitor to The BAG, I’d kick your ass. But since you lurk in the shadows of The BAG waiting to pounce on anti-Semites, I’ll risk encouraging you to continue to (quietly) hang around and see if you can’t set aside your bigotry from time to time to actually learn something from the people who comment here, including from ummabdulla, not that you are a very good student.
    Am I being hideously condescending? I certainly hope that’s coming across! Do I give a shit if you rip into me? Not at all, although I would stifle the urge. It gets boring for everyone else.
    By the way, criticizing or even *condemning* Israel’s brutal actions is not racist, just like criticizing the U.S.’s brutal actions is not unpatriotic. When Israel loses this war — and they have already lost strategically, like they did in 1982 — Hezbollah will have gained strength and support. And then what? When the dust settles and the dead are buried, Jews will still have to live next to Arabs. This recent move by Israel is not only brutal (because innocent people are getting killed, maimed, and displaced and Hezbollah *isn’t*) but stupid (because it is doomed to fail). Not just my opinion.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/23/AR2006072300210.html
    In the meantime, go ahead and compare Kuwait, Israel, and the U.S. in these Amensty International statistics. You might learn something.
    http://web.amnesty.org/report2006/kwt-summary-eng
    http://web.amnesty.org/report2006/isr-summary-eng
    http://web.amnesty.org/report2006/usa-summary-eng

  • anil yildiz

    ALLAH belanizi versin.OROSPU cocuklari.

  • ummabdulla

    Shaun, you know next to nothing about me, yet you throw out all kinds of personal insults that are way off. The other readers can decide for themselves who’s “frothing at the mouth”.
    I don’t know why this should matter, but I’m American. I was born and raised in the U.S. My ancestors left England and came to what’s now the state of Maryland in 1634. Does that give me more right to comment, in your eyes?
    Shaun: “But as a spoiled citizen of Kuwait she implicitly approves of our involvement in the first Gulf War.”
    “You” didn’t save “me” from Saddam. (Were you in the military? I was, although I was out by that time.) In fact, during that time, I drove from NY to DC for an anti-war rally – “No blood for oil”, etc.
    I’ve never claimed here to be a “liberal”. A label like that has no meaning to me. On some issues, my views would be considered “liberal” and on others, they wouldn’t.
    I’d love to discuss Kuwait and the status of women; I’ve written about it many times elsewhere, because I like to counter the stereotypes. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with the topic.
    Since you seem interested in toilets, though, I have a normal Western-style white porcelain toilet, and also a standard Arabic toilet that looks something like this. Quite decadent…

  • Shaun

    Alright guys, this has gone on long enough but I feel I owe you a response: I admit, I wound up and took a huge swing at Ummabdulla’s head and missed…but hey, you gotta take chances in life. How could I have guessed she came over on the Mayflower? And not only did she protest the First Gulf War, apparently she’s living in Kuwait to fight for women’s rights and report on the many inequities of our world…son of a bitch! I guess I’ll just crawl under the covers and sob.
    I’ll just offer one excuse: it’s partly her pretentious posturing as a Middle East expert, and endless references to the fact she’s a Muslim living in Kuwait that had me off on a wild goose chase. She regularly uses those ‘unique’ assets like a club around here and has everybody eating out of her hand. At least now that we know she’s just a schmuck like the rest of us we can all relax a little. And yes, in my opinion Americans can critique American foreign policy, but no, spoiled Kuwaitis cannot….
    By the way, calling me a bigot for calling somebody else a bigot is a silly argument. Furthermore, I have never said criticizing Israel is anti-Semitic, although obviously often it is… Rather, its Ummabdulla’s aggressive hypocrisy I object too, such as her defense of anti-semitic cartoons while threatening to leave the Bag because of how “offensive” it is to display Mohammed’s image. Her recent posts suggesting that Israeli children are living happily in IKEA shelters while reveling in the bloodshed of Lebanese civilians are similarly outrageous, and they ‘offend’ me.
    But anyway, there’s no denying that was an angry rant–I guess gas prices have me stressed out.
    P.S. Ummabdulla, you’re really missing my point about the toilets.

  • jt from BC

    Shaun, you said “However, not that it matters, but I have a degree from a major School of Foreign Service”
    claiming expertise on the Gitmo prison thread you are taking a long time in answering my query re: http://bagnewsnotes.typepad.com/bagnews/2006/06/gitmo_parting_t.html
    Regardless of the challenges you may encounter, common sense, appropriate social skills or basic good manners usually help especially in the area of foreign affairs, unless John Bolton is your model. If you ever consider a foreign service position, good luck if you get posted to Canada our higher gas prices will really stress you out

  • ummabdulla

    Shaun, I didn’t come to Kuwait to fight for the women’s rights. They don’t need any Western women coming over here with some condescending attitude that they’re so much better off and that Kuwaiti women are oppressed. (How can they be oppressed and spoiled both, anyway?) They don’t want the same status you have, because they have more rights than you do. Believe me, they don’t sit around and wish they were you.
    If you’re really going to be in the Foreign Service, you should understand that the U.S. doesn’t have any business telling everyone else how they should live. This is an important point… Just today, Condi announced that she was “making a new Middle East”; who gave the U.S that right? We’ve seen how successful they were in Iraq.
    I don’t think there’s a rule here that one can only criticize a country if s/he’s a citizen of that country, but if that’s your personal rule, then let us know which countries you’re a citizen of, so that we can make sure you don’t criticize any other country.
    (I guess they don’t teach much American history these days, but the Mayflower went to what’s now Massachusetts, and it was in 1620.)

  • Randolph

    Okay, Shaun, the only point you are making is the one on your head. Take your sarcasm and go back to your little green football. I’ve been reading this blog for a couple of months or so and I’ve noticed whenever ummabdulla speaks to Muslim arcana, she does so more as a student of same. I’ve never seen her pontificating, which is apparently what others on this site seem to think you are doing. See, there’s a difference between a questioning intellectual discussion and pretentious pontificating. Perhaps you should take a couple of steps back until you can tell the difference. At least ummabdulla gives respect to the opinions of others, even yours. But then, she’s a lady. We all have strong opinions on this site, but we don’t insult each other. If we did, this site would be without commenters very quickly.
    If you are an example of our foreign service, John Bolton isn’t our only problem. We all have wildly different opinions and some things hit us in different ways. I for one, am conflicted about the Danish cartoons, ummabdulla was not and sided with the Muslims, others were not and sided with the free speech side. The point is, on this site, we can all agree or disagree and then move on. I can understand ummabdulla’s feelings without having to agree with them.
    You said: “And yes, in my opinion Americans can critique American foreign policy, but no, spoiled Kuwaitis cannot….” What chutzpah! And how typically American. We can tell Iraqis what government they can have, but no one in another country can criticize us? Maybe if you started reading what other nations are saying about us in their newspapers, you’d be a bit more humble.
    Apologies to The Bag for getting personal.

  • Hatice Toramanlı

    I am ashamed of being a part of that ugly world…….

  • Hatice

    Bu kirli dünyanın bir parçası olmaktan UTANÇ duyuyorum…

  • Ilana

    thank you for your thoughtful analysis of these photos. I had the same initial reaction of something being “off” when I saw them on the net today and found your blog in my subsequent searches.

  • SchumaIsrael

    I am a jew and I think these children are terrorists and Arabs and deserve to get the same fate as that of millions of arab children who were murdered mercilessly

  • OMAR ANUNOWAR

    NOT ALL MUSLIMS ARE TERRORISTS.
    YES,i am a muslim from jordan,and i am proud THAT i am ONE,i just want to ask you ALL some thing! why do you think all arabs are terrorists! just Because some sick people do this terible stuff doesnot mean that islam allows it.
    isralies think that they should have the land from the nile river to the tigris river,including jordan ,palestin some parts of lebanon and syria,iraq and egypt and the are trying to GET them now.
    muslims christians and jwes all lived in palestine in peace until the british came and took jordan and palestine wich were once onc contry, and gave it to israelies ,and until now paletinians are STRUGLING to take there land back or share it with them ,muslims think that christians and jews are good people because they believe in the same one god that we do.
    look at what israelians are doing they are telling there children that these arabs are WORTH nothing and diserve to be killed.
    arabs are trying to make peace and all they get is getting killed.
    i gust want to say one word WHY NOT LIVE IN PEACE?

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