Bin Laden's death shouldn't be a kodak moment

By Jennifer Lipman
May 6, 2011

A couple of months ago I opened an email that I later wished I hadn't. It contained photographs, grisly, explicit photographs of the victims of the Itamar massacre.

Yuli Edelstein, Israel's Minister of Information explained the decision thus: "our goal in sending out the photos was clear: to show that this attack crossed all lines."

A fair point, surely. Israelis – sadly – are perhaps more desensitized than others around the world to scenes of horror and devastation, yet what happened to the Fogels was incomprehensible.

Fresh from this cold-blooded and brutal massacre - lest we forget, a three-month-old baby was decapitated – the desire to show the world the truth was more than understandable.

But was it right? Releasing those photos (done with the family's permission) could not change the facts of what happened. More importantly, what signal does it send to greet a nightmare with another.

The same goes for the Kodak moment of Osama bin Laden's death.

Five days after his death was announced, the chorus of voices demanding pictorial evidence has not subsided. Without a land grave, for many, there cannot be catharsis without a picture of bin Laden's bullet-ridden body.

The Obama administration has umm and ahhd about releasing the photos and expressed concern they would be used "as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool".

Good on them. Frankly, why does the world need to see another scene of brutality? The argument that such evidence would lay rest conspiracy theories about bin Laden's death is nonsense, or there'd be no crazed whispers about the moon-landing, September 11 or of JFK's assassination.

For those who want to believe a conspiracy, a picture is worthless. With Photoshop and the best computer geeks in the world at their disposal, the White House could (and I'm not suggesting for one moment they would) easily manipulate an image.

But more importantly, there's more than enough violent imagery out there – much of it the result of al-Qaida's handiwork – without adding to it on the front page of every newspaper in the world.


Jonathan Hoffman

Fri, 05/06/2011 - 13:20

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Because a photo tells 1000 words and for many the photo would mean closure after nearly ten years ... 9/11 will beyond doubt prove the most significant event in most of our lives...

Joe Millis

Fri, 05/06/2011 - 13:55

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An excellent post, Jennifer. Producing a photo -- and celebrating a death of a person however evil -- would reduce us to the level of those in Gaza who celebrate deaths. I'm not surprised, therefore, at the calibre of then people wanting top celebrate the death.

Jonathan Hoffman

Mon, 05/09/2011 - 15:19

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The above comment wins the Prize for Grossest Moral Inversion of the Century.

He thinks that celebrating the death of a tyrant is the same as celebrating the death of innocent cvilians.

He doesn't have a clue, does he .......

Joe Millis

Mon, 05/09/2011 - 15:28

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Anyone who celebrates death is very, very sick indeed, and not very Jewish.
Proverbs 24:17 In the falling of thine enemy rejoice not, And in his stumbling let not thy heart be joyful
24:17 מִשְׁלֵי
בִּנְפֹל אויביך (אוֹיִבְךָ), אַל-תִּשְׂמָח; וּבִכָּשְׁלוֹ, אַל-יָגֵל לִבֶּךָ

Clueless and Jew-less


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