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March 30, 2011

Your Turn: War Head

<!-- p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; text-align: right; line-height: 10.0px; font: 10.0px Arial; color: #666666} -->Manu Brabo / EPA
Manu Brabo / EPA

This photo was widely published yesterday. It shows a rebel helping stock the supply lines in Eastern Libya. The larger storyline, though, has to do with the rebels pulling back. I’m fascinated by the picture, but I don’t know why. Any thoughts?

(caption: Libyan rebel soldiers resupply ammunition on the road between Brega and Ras Lanuf on March 29. Media reports state that pro-government forces have intensified their attacks on Libyan rebels, driving them back from ground they had taken in recent days.)

  • Enoch Root

    The newest looks from Benetton.

  • Sweyaboy

    They look like they are in doubt but at the same time they look fierce as well. I think that is why you are fascinated by the picture.

  • anon

    Seeing a lot of pics that appear to be destined for Vogue or Vanity Fair

  • anon

    just saw enoch’s comment – concur

  • Anonymous

    It’s the three sight lines and the determined “action figure” posing. Angy and vigilant in all three directions.

  • moisented bink

    I think this looks like a stage set with a projected background. Even the lighting makes it look so.The clothes on the guy at left make him look very American. It gives you pause to think if this is real or a movie poster.

  • robert e

    Could be a revolutionary poster. Elevation? Check. Macho? Check. Youth? Check. Defiance? Check. All that’s missing is the upward/outward gaze.

    Symbolically a fascinating trinity. The figure in keffiyeh in foreground suggests “Arab youth”, flanked by two smaller figures placed like guiding spirits: on the left pedestal, the blue jeans, baseball cap and sweatshirt evoke “young America”; on the right pedestal, the khakis, beard and gun evoke Latin American (or Algerian?) revolutionary.

    The one thing in sharp focus, and prominently centered, is the RPG. A guerrilla weapon. The truck is loaded with crates. More RPG’s? Sobering. Who supplied them? Conspicuously missing is women–otherwise, this might have been a pitch-perfect translation of classical western heroic iconography to the current upheaval.

    Perhaps one source of fascination for us Americans is a kind of culture shock at seeing young Arabs in news media who are not cast as rock-throwing rabble or sinister probably-terrorist-bombers. Perhaps even more shocking is the intimation of continuity between American values, communist revolution and Arab youth.

  • peteherb

    It does have a strange ambivalence about it… two of the individuals seems to give an impression of uncertainty, while at the same time the RPG in the foreground is aggressive.
    And yet the poses & composition look like a fashion shoot.
    “Rebel Chic”
    In a sort of related discussion, here’s an interesting comment on the role of the RPG…

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