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February 23, 2011

Framing Arab/Islamic Youth, Then and Now

Guess the so-called “war on terror” is finally over. (Or maybe it’s just been refashioned as Malcolm Gladwell poo-pooing the mobilizing force of the Twitterverse.)

Looking at these two covers, I can’t help wondering how much the difference in America’s perception of Arab or Islamic youth (does the West differentiate?) — the first cover published one month after 9/11 — had to do with the Bush Administration and the Neocons projecting their own paranoia, humiliation and fury onto the Arab world after a band of Muslims brought down the World Trade Center.  The subhead under the caption is also telling — as if Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld ever even had the capacity to operate on a humanitarian channel, the reference to a “two front war” instead telegraphing the Administration’s intention, even before 9/11, to attack Iraq.

I’m also curious about Western media’s determination to spin the revolution taking place across the Arab world as a youth movement (further appropriated and Westernized by omitting any reference to the Arab world) when American youth, for example, are so disenfranchised.

In addition to the comparison, I’m also interested in how you deconstruct the new cover, clothing-wise, gender-wise, 60’s- and pop culture-wise, all-wise given the still-emerging formulations in the West of the revolutions in the Middle East.

(photo 1: undetermined. photo 2: Finlay Mackay for TIME)

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