The Great Plotnik

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Weekend and a Disturbing Photo Exhibit

Saturday was the Snowy Valley Garden Tour -- Plot bought a ticket and went by himself. He got to see eight local gardens, of which several were gems. The best thing about these once-a-year tours is you get to see what's in back of the houses you can usually only see from the front. The great views are always from the back. Yards are small but people do a lot with them.

Sunday was Mother's Day. Ducknik heard from her kids and then off we went to the De Young in Golden Gate Park to see the "Girl With the Pearl Earring" Dutch masterpieces exhibit. It was fabulous. Rembrandt, Vermeer, Franz many artists painting at the same time during the height of the brilliant Dutch renaissance of the first half of the 17th Century. wasn't all gardens and flowers and girls with pearl earrings.  Plot and Duck got to the museum early. So while they were waiting for the docent tour they walked into a most disturbing and disheartening photo exhibit by Kael Alford and Thorne Anderson, two American photo journalists who chose not to be embedded with American troops in Iraq, but to instead have the courage to wander around and take uncensored photos from 2002 through around 2006.

The photo quality and the amount of sensitivity that went into these photos is remarkable. But how can any American look at these photos without feeling sick to his stomach? Plotnik hates being the bad guy. Descriptions and photos of "shock and awe," for example, in which the idea was to bomb civilian areas for fifty days in order to rid the country of Saddam's highest-ranked generals, but which in fact missed their target every single time and killed not one high-ranking official but instead took out civilians, men, women and children, as well as their homes and villages, were really hard to look at.

What a terrible pity. No, you can't say "hey, war is war." This was not war. This was slaughter. There was no enemy in these homes, only people trying to live their lives. They had no defense against missiles and fighter planes. Some hated Saddam, some didn't. Most didn't care one way or the other.

Just like us. Most people I know disliked George Bush, but like him or not like him, we wouldn't have wanted China to bomb us to get rid of him.

The official photographers embedded with American troops were not allowed to take any of these photos, so we never saw them. Civilians had to be called "enemy combatants" or "insurgents." The horror of this exhibit is not in the art, which is astonishing, but in the sickening reality of what our government chose to do to these people.

And for what? The answer, no matter how much of a hawk you might be, can only be: we did it just because we could. George W. Bush, you can add this statement to your worthless museum.

Oh, right. This was about Mother's Day. Shoot. I did it again.

We did have a delicious Mother's Day dinner.


At 12:13 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

Great write-up on the Iraq photo exhibit, it is errrrrrrr disturbing.


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