Tuesday, 5 August 2008

No Pictures, please -- we're KIA

Every now and then I read somewhere that we are living in a world dominated by pictures. And that we are getting drowned in them. Well, that's pretty obvious, isn't it? I'm however not too sure what that means except that it seems to somehow insinuate that there are too many images around. Are there? No idea, really. But let's assume there were too many: Should we get rid of some? And if so, which are the ones that should disappear? And, who would decide that? Well, I guess we're better off to assume that there aren't too many images around. Besides, and this brings me to the point I want to make here, despite the abundance of photographs surrounding us, there are still far too many we do not get to see. That, come to think of it, is actually the only problem I have with the quantities of pictures around, namely, that they seem to suggest that we can see all the pictures that we want to see. That however isn't the way things are. An example is the present US government's "attempt to hide from public view the returning war dead", as Dana Milbank in the Washington Post (10 July 2008) pointed out. The article was emailed to me here in Santa Cruz do Sul, Brazil (praised be the modern means of communication!) by Vietnam vet Jim Michener from Vientiane, Laos with the subject line "No Pictures, please -- we're KIA!" Just in case: KIA stands for Killed In Action. Here's an excerpt:

"When Gina Gray took over as the public affairs director at Arlington National Cemetery about three months ago, she discovered that cemetery officials were attempting to impose new limits on media coverage of funerals of the Iraq war dead -- even after the fallen warriors' families granted permission for the coverage. She said that the new restrictions were wrong and that Army regulations didn't call for such limitations. Six weeks after The Washington Post reported her efforts to restore media coverage of funerals, Gray was demoted. Twelve days ago, the Army fired her."

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