Friday, September 16, 2011
The Times' photo editors must be a gang of secret spoilers, because they seem to love to subtly undermine The Chosen Narrative with their own, well, choices. This photo-and-headline pairing was on the cover of today's print edition, too. Even the accompanying slide show feels calculated to undercut its own captioning, and while I do not doubt that some Bahrainis feel oppressed and some may even demonstrate, or "clash" in Timesqueak, yet ever do I suspect these stories of simmering, boiling, braising, and broiling, for above the hiss of the pressure cooker I hear the clickety clackety of NATO's doggie nails on the hardwood, come down to beg for some scraps of the action. Whatever the verbal reportage, the scenes-in-pictures are of normalcy--and that is not to say that normalcy can't coexist with the grimmest repression. It does; it must. But these people are chatting. Returning from restaurants! They are, notably, alive. Now if you are an American official, this last bit may fail to serve some hazy imperial strategic objective, and if you are a fanciful Revolution fetishist fresh from the satisfying orgasm of Libya's rebel yell, the prospect of their deaths may serve an even hazier sense that dying--by which you mean, of course, someone other than you dying--in a hopefully distant but nevertheless glorious orgy of freedom unchained is but a small price to pay to liberate a people with whom, until the news started pimping their plight in order to get another war on, you had only the vaguest geographical acquaintance, but with whom you now feel such a stirring and complete sense of solidarity that you are literally willing to watch them die for what you think may just possibly be their cause. And you know, I don't know. It may be that Bahrain is a hell on earth, a microcosmic desert gulag, an unending horror of torture and death. But it sure doesn't look like it in the pictures; it looks, you know, like people are getting by, living their lives, sittin on the couch BSing with the fellas. Hopefully they can avoid our strategic humanitarian right to intervene to protect for a while longer yet.