Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
April 19, 2013

On that Powerful “Condolence for Boston” Photo Tweeted from Syria Today

What a fabulous… and complex message. (I was going to call it a “double message” — which it is, but to do so would detract from the very earnest and heartfelt quality to this.) What’s incredible about the portrait, however, is how it communicates on multiple, contradictory dimensions. On its inspirational surface, it’s a fresh chorus of “We are the World,” the occupants of Rubble Town expressing solidarity with Boston and making it known, with the fullest of credentials, that they know how we feel. (The peace signs are also very sweet.)

At the same time, however (the text also embodying a moral tone), the image can’t help but make the point how the Syrians and their suffering has been, and continues to be ignored. From that flip side, this also inquires of America: what makes your suffering any more important than ours when our marathon runs daily enduring those couple blows?

h/t: @A_l

(If you have an original source for the photo, please contact us or add to comments. I really searched. This version via Airosaur/Twitter.)

  • Stan B.

    Has Boston or any other major American city sent them an equal message in kind?

    Would they ever think to?

    The have nots sharing their crumbs with strangers, while the haves circle their wagons.

  • Dan

    Syria is in a CIVIL war. Equating that to this situation is OFFENSIVE.

    • Syro Revo

      Syria is a Revolution Against a tyrant… Please search in deepth

    • notjarvis

      Not really. Uninvolved civilians get killed and maimed in both situations.

      Both things are tragic.
      Unless you are somehow implying that civilians in Syria somehow deserve it by having the temerity to be living in what became a war zone.

    • Mohja Kahf

      One grieving town with open wounds knows the sorrow of another wounded town. That, not equating them, is what this photo shows.

  • kailuahale

    Not just Syria, look what we did to the Iraqi’s, Vietnamese, and what our petro-chemical corporations are doing to civilians in many many countries. The Boston bombings were really horrible and I feel deeply for my fellow countrymen. And, for others in the world – we’ve got to put an end to the violence. There are no “reasons” that make sense. None.

  • Shiyam
  • Mohja Kahf

    Yes, here’s some help with original source of the photo: Raed Fares took the picture. You can also credit the KNRC (Kafr Nbel Revolution Council), listed on the banner itself.
    Two of the people in it are: Osama Salloom and Abdullah Salloom.
    Osama is the one with the peace sign standing behind the “BINGS” in the word “BOMBINGS,” and Abdullah is standing second from Osama’s left in the middle of the word “RESPRESENT.”

  • CJ

    I’ve got a couple issues with this, first of which is that the US cannot jump in to Syria. Doing so would provoke retaliations in different forms from Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, China, and Russia. The Obama administration has chosen not to fund, arm, and train random groups of militants like it did in other countries, where those weapons were later turned back on them. But, even if they would have joined in the fight, they would have been blamed as they are being blamed for not doing so. In Libya, they came in only as support for a coalition and made their impact minimal, trying to form a different relationship with the world than Bush and presidents before him have done; but, what was their reward? It was more angst and a dead ambassador. This double message is just joining in on the “blame America” bandwagon, one which the US has earned in many cases, but no so much so in Syria. You really want the US to go start another war?

    Another note, in the Middle East, the peace sign doesn’t stand for peace 100% of the time, it stands for victory, in which case we could say that they are calling out for victory in this photo.

    This photo is them co-opting a tragedy in another place for their own political purposes, and the messaging is good. It delivers a nice sense of guilt to America while seemingly expressing unity with the suffering in Boston. Since it is Iran, Russia, and China that are defending and arming the Assad regime, maybe they could direct the same message to those currently suffering in China in the wake of the recent earthquake or to those who lost homes to the meteor in Russia, but that would be a little ridiculous wouldn’t it? It’s much easier to play the blame America game, because the US has been guilty of so much in the past, even though Syria is not their fight (just as Iraq, Afghanistan, and others should not have been their fight).

  • Pingback: Be kind and move forward

  • Pingback: Kafr Nabl - Entre échanges cordiaux et dure réalité... FastNCurious – L'actu de la com par les étudiants du Celsa

  • Cathy Miller

    I like this page. It gives me so much hope while reading those condolence messages. I am grieving the loss of my father who suffered from a lung cancer. I would love some helpful hints on how to get out of this painful feelings that I am in. Thank you.


Refresh Archives

Random Notes