||Sources, Context, Comments & Links
MetaMap Saddam Hussein 1937-2007:
a visual navigator to on-line representations of power & violence
in graphs, maps and ceremony
by Tjebbe van Tijen/Imaginary Museum Projects, October 2006
references last updated 20 October 2006
|The cards come from one the several sites
that have and keep documenting details of the military operations
in Iraq. I have used the site www.psywarrior.com from which this
explanation is taken:
The U.S. military issued an illustrated
deck of cards depicting the 55 "most wanted" members of
the Saddam Hussein regime to thousands of U.S. troops in the field.
They printed the same data on posters and leaflets for the Iraqi
public. The four aces showed the most wanted fugitives, Saddam Hussein,
his sons Uday and Qusay, and the presidential secretary Abid Hamid
Mahmud Al-Tikriti. Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz adorns the eight
of hearts. The only woman in the pack is Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash,
AKA "Mrs. Anthrax." Information Minister Mohammed Saeed
al-Sahhaf did not make the list. The other cards showed lower ranking
officials of the regime. The Coalition forces have orders to pursue,
capture or kill each of the fugitives.
click cards for a direct link
Reprints have been made of these playing/search cards... and there
is trade on sites like Ebay in original sets.
This one came through a Google search from
a Blog and
they refer to the NYT... "By now, everyone and their dog must
know that Saddam Hussein has been caught by the U.S. military. Most
of the coverage and press has discussed the hole where he was found
hiding, but pictures have been sparse"
|Picture that come from one of the many on-line time
lines/life stories of Saddam Hussein: "Saddam's Violent Road
The caption of the picture reads: "Saddam Hussein visits
the clay home in which he was born near Tikrit. His daughter Raghad
(front row, wearing yellow sweater) is now directing his team of
defense lawyers. This undated photo was taken by an official regime
The idea for the mud hut and hole section of the scroll came
from this "psychological" study I found on the net: "Saddam
Hussein of Iraq: A Political Psychology Profile Jerrold M. Post,
Not that I am very fond of this kind of interpretations, but
it triggered my inspiration... better read the quote yourself:
"It was predicted that Saddam would not take the path of
Idid Amin, who recently died, waiting in exile. He remained concerned
with his historical reputation and would not take any steps to diminish
his stature as heroic pan-Arab leader. For the same reason, it was
not anticipated that he would suicide as Hitler did in the last flaming
bunker or permit himself to be taken alive, but would likely go out
as his sons did, in a blaze of guns. In fact, he was taken alive,
and without a struggle. How ironic that it should have come to this:
Saddam Hussein, who began life in a mud hut near Tikrit, ended his
political career in a so-called “spider-hole” in the ground, beneath
a mud hut near Tikrit. But considering Saddam’s psychological makeup,
his end was, if not inevitable, certainly fitting. From mud hut to
mud hut, this represented the economic and psychological poverty
at Saddam’s core, his wounded self. Indeed, as the mud hut is the
architectural motif for the inner layer of Saddam’s psychology, in
projecting the likely conduct of Saddam Hussein in the second trial
of the (new) century, after that of Slobodan Milosevic, it is necessary
to understand his complex psychology. In these regards, it is useful
to consider the three principal layers of Saddam’s psychology, layers
for which the architecture of his three principal residences provide
an apt metaphor. The mud hut represents the wounded self at his very
core. He has devoted his life and career to overcompensating for
this profound insecurity.
[source is a pdf]
and the quest for detail is unlimited (thanks to dessert-voice.net)
that copied it to their site... (it is like a newspaper cutting without
source and date in the old days)
|The following picture map of portraits
and related iconography of Saddam Hussein is ordered quasi chronological.
The pictures comes from many different web-sites. Only a few web-sites
have a meaningful contextualization of Sadam's pictures, so I have
not taken too much trouble in giving sources and links everywhere.
Some less known captions and links have been added though: just move
your mouse slowly over the gallery and see if a link/caption appears....
|Below two rarely shown pictures of Saddam
that do not fit today's vision of Saddam Hussein - as a kind of monstrous
beast - taken in the 70's of last century (pictures are from an interesting
web site by Frontline: "the
survival of Saddam, how has Saddam Hussein survived so long and what
explains his hold on the Iraqi people")
|Saddam "promoting women's
education and literacy"
||His policy was secular, forcing
unity on a nation with a potential of religious strive. He was
also a writer (or had his ghosts to do it for him) and even Dutch
libraries preserve the fruits of that activity. The national Dutch
Catalogue gives 43 entries with Saddam as an author. It is curious
to name some of his Western publishers: Crrom helm 91979); Longman
(1977); Le Sycomore (1980); Sartec (1978).
Each war is also a war of statistics... depending on one's position
and situation, numbers are raised or lowered, or simply not given
at all. The debate about the number of dead as result of the invasion
and occupation of Iraq since 2003 will not come to any final conclusion,
there simply is no truthful tally possible under the actual circumstances.
For a while there seemed to be some commonly accepted magnitude,
ranging in the tens of thousands with a slowly but regularly growing
factor arriving at 40/50.000 in autumn 2006. One of the most quoted
sources for this number is the initiative Iraq Body Count (IBC).
Since 2004 there is also a study of epidemiologists from Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public Health and Al Mustansiriya University
in Baghdad, published by the medical journal The Lancet (commonly
called the Lancet Report), that arrived in their 2004 report at a
much higher number than US and UK government and anti-war activist
sources, putting the number of Iraqi victims in the range of 100.000.
In October 2006 the Lancet Report was updated and came to a tenfold
higher estimate than that of Iraq Body Count: 655.000. It needs to
be pointed here that these numbers are produced by two completely
different methods: Iraq Body Count uses publicized news sources of
victims, only counting what has been established by several news
sources (so leaving out all incidents/accidents that remain outside
any press coverage). The Lancet Report is an estimated figure based
on a nation wide household survey in Iraq (1.849 households) and
the numbers of birth and death of all causes that had occurred over
a certain period, from which - through a well established epidemiologist
methodology - an estimate is made of those who died of violence that
can be directly related to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. (For
an explanation of the method used see this
Below are several examples of this fight of figures... the occupying
soldiers and functionaries seem to be neatly counted, but it is
the Iraqi civilians that fail to be rightly accounted for. In between
the highest and the lowest estimates (655.000 and 50.000) there
roams a whole big city of dead souls or ghost victims that never
One is puzzled when looking at the number of initiatives that count
the non-Iraqi dead in Iraq (Iraq
Coalition Casualty Count is just an example of a self appointed
amateur organization, with a very neat web-site) but there seems
to be a bit less enthusiasm when it comes to counting dead and
wounded Iraqis, though such initiatives do exist. (and by the way
I never heard of a Dutch initiative to count the dead Afghani...
but these are mainly very bad Taliban Muslim extremists, I am made
to believe, so us Dutch we hardly care...)
|First I give here two
recent (20 October 2006) links to the debate about the Lancet Report
and the Iraq Body Count (IBC) number of Iraqi victims:
- MediaLens ("correct the distorted vision of the corporate
media") that has been criticizing the methods and public strategy
of Iraq Body Count for some time;
- OpenDemocracy ("free thinking for the world") that tries
with an article by Michel Tieren to reconcile the two methods to
arrive at the number of dead Iraqi civilians (actively gathering
data for estimations and extrapolations, versus passively counting
the incidents of violent death that have been reported).
media response to the latest Lancet report consisted of initial,
relatively high-profile coverage in the broadcast media and more
subdued coverage in some print media. Coverage focused heavily
on government dismissals and on the alleged 'controversy' surrounding
the figures. Expert commentators were few and far between, with
journalists exhibiting the usual confusion on the methodology behind,
and significance of, the figures. Passing mentions aside, the story
was dropped within 24 hours from media coverage, with essentially
zero meaningful follow up reporting or analysis since.
From: "MEDIA ALERT: DEMOCRACY AND DEBATE - KILLING IRAQ"
above for link
story these two numbers convey does not lie and should not be understood
to lie in their respective size. Regardless of their absolute divergence
and methodological approximations, each figure, when properly analyzed
and broken down, reveals the inhumane and intolerable story of
approximately 27 million people trapped in escalating violence
and revenge killings.
Tieren quotes researcher Gilbert Burnham of the Lancet Report:
"Our key message is not to produce numbers but to ask in
conflict situations, how can we think more effectively about protecting
(a) population ... The general pattern ... in conflicts (is) that
the host population takes more and more of the hits, which is what
we are seeing here."
From: " Deaths in Iraq: how many, and why it matters"
above for link
www.thelancet.com Published online October 11, 2006 DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(06)69491-9
|2006 October 11: Second publication by "The
Lancet" Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional
cluster sample survey by Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doocy,
Les Roberts from John Hopkins University.
Click the title of the
report above to download the full report in PDF format.
(the first Lancet survey ("Mortality
before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey" by
Les Roberts, Riyadh Lafta, Richard Garfield, Jamal Khudhairi, Gilbert
Burnham) was published in October 2004).
The map/graph below is taken from page 6 of
Background An excess mortality of nearly 100 000 deaths was reported
in Iraq for the period March, 2003–September, 2004, attributed
to the invasion of Iraq. Our aim was to update this estimate. Methods
Between May and July, 2006, we did a national cross-sectional cluster
sample survey of mortality in Iraq. 50 clusters were randomly selected
from 16 Governorates, with every cluster consisting of 40 households.
Information on deaths from these households was gathered. Findings
Three misattributed clusters were excluded from the final analysis;
data from 1849 households that contained 12 801 individuals in
47 clusters was gathered. 1474 births and 629 deaths were reported
during the observation period. Pre-invasion mortality rates were
5·5 per 1000 people per year (95% CI 4·3–7·1), compared with 13·3
per 1000 people per year (10·9–16·1) in the 40 months post-invasion.
We estimate that as of July, 2006, there have been 654 965 (392
979–942 636) excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war, which
corresponds to 2·5% of the population in the study area. Of post-invasion
deaths, 601 027 (426 369–793 663) were due to violence, the most
common cause being gunfire. Interpretation The number of people
dying in Iraq has continued to escalate. The proportion of deaths
ascribed to coalition forces has diminished in 2006, although the
actual numbers have increased every year. Gunfire remains the most
common cause of death, although deaths from car bombing have increased.
Mortality data from the 2006 study reaffirms 2004 estimates by Hopkins
researchers and mirrors upward trends measured by other organizations
• Researchers recommend establishment of an international body to
calculate mortality and monitor health of people living in all regions
affected by conflict The mortality survey used well-established and
scientifically proven methods for measuring mortality and disease
in populations. These same survey methods were used to measure mortality
during conflicts in the Congo, Kosovo, Sudan and other regions.
Francisco Chronicle gives o.m. dit commentaar: oktober 12:
The study, funded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
drew on data obtained by eight Iraqi physicians during a survey of
1,849 Iraqi families -- or 12,801 people -- in 47 neighborhoods of
18 regions across the entire country. The researchers said they based
the selection of geographical areas on population size, not on the
level of violence. Then they projected the findings to the 26.1 million
Iraqis estimated to be living in the survey areas. The surveyors
put Iraq's prewar mortality rate at 5.5 deaths per 1,000 people per
year. In the post-invasion period, according to the survey, the rate
grew to 13.3 deaths per 1,000 people per year. The surveyors used
the difference between these rates to calculate deaths that were
not brought on by natural causes. The survey suggests that of more
than 650,000 Iraqis who died since 2003, 601,000 were killed since
the war began. Polling experts supported the methods used by the
surveyors. "The sampling is solid. The methodology is as good
as it gets," said John Zogby, whose Utica, N.Y.-based polling
agency, Zogby International, has done several surveys in Iraq since
the war began. "It is what people in the statistics business
do." Zogby said similar survey methods have been used to estimate
casualty figures in other conflicts, such as Darfur and the Democratic
People's Republic of Congo. Ronald Waldman, an epidemiologist at
Columbia University who worked at the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention for many years, told the Washington Post the survey
method was "tried and true." He said that "this is
the best estimate of mortality we have."
From: "Critics say 600,000 Iraqi dead doesn't tally But pollsters
defend methods used in Johns Hopkins study" by Anna Badkhen,
Chronicle Staff Writer Thursday, October 12, 2006
|The U.S. president stated that he believes that the
study methodology "is pretty well discredited", and added: "I
stand by the figure a lot of innocent people have lost their life.
Six hundred thousand - whatever they guessed at - is just not credible."
||Mrs. Beckett (British government spokeswoman) said: "No-one
disputes that there have been many deaths in Iraq and that all of
those deaths are regretted and tragically many of them are deaths
of civilians," she said. "That doesn't mean that one has
to accept every figure someone comes up with. "All I can say
is that the [Lancet] report gives a figure which is orders of magnitude
different from that which comes from any other source.
|Graph from the Lancet
Report 2006, page 5: Violent death by cause and time
|Comparison of different victim surveys,
apaty from the total number diffrences all showing a strong upward
trend in number of victims.
|Graph from the Lancet study published
in 2004 comparing non-violent and violent death; note the high violent
death toll of the military action in the town Falluja.
|Press visualization of results of the 2004 Lancet
||From the 2004 Lancet Report:
Figure 1:Crude mortality per 1000 people per year, by Governorate,
before and after the invasion Bar graphs represent number of
deaths per 1000 person-years. Governorate rates are on a scale
of 15 deaths per 1000person-years, except for Anbar governorate,
where deaths were more than ten times higher.
picture below to see the lates number of victims as counted by
Iraq Body Count
||50.000 dead, but who is counting?
21, 2006: -Iraq Body Count: War dead figures The number of civilians
reported to have been killed during the Iraq war and subsequent military
presence is being recorded by the campaign group Iraq Body Count.
On 15 September 2006 it put the total number of reported civilian
dead at 40,775 to 45,559 and the number of police dead at 2,437.
|Say we know more or less the number of
casualties, how many deaths, how many wounded, one needs to know
who was killed for what reason to get to an understanding what is
taking place.. An example of this can be found in a discussion on
a seemingly |nice| graphic of a bad situation and the arguments that
arose from it... the picture somewhat shrunk it does not really fir
an average size computer screen). The original introduction text
in the New York Times was: Op-Chart; 31 Days in Iraq By ADRIANA LINS
DE ALBUQUERQUE AND ALICIA CHENG Published: February 6, 2006 In January
more than 800 people -- soldiers, security officers and civilians
-- were killed as a result of the insurgency in Iraq. While the daily
toll is noted in the newspapers and on TV, it is hard for many Americans
to see these isolated reports in a broader context. The map below,
based on data from the American, British and Iraqi governments and
news reports, shows the dates, locations and circumstances of deaths
for the first month of the year. Given the fog of war, the information
may be incomplete. Nonetheless, it is our effort to visually depict
the continuing human cost of the Iraq war. Adriana Lins de Albuquerque
is a doctoral student in political science at Columbia University.
Alicia Cheng is a graphic designer at mgmt.design in Brooklyn.
This chart published in the New York Times has been criticized in
an article in the magazine Seven Oaks, a magazine of politics,
culture and resistance:
Lins de Albuquerque's introduction to the chart asserts: "In
the first two weeks of January, at least 202 people died as a result
of the insurgency in Iraq. The killings have been indiscriminate."2
As Dave Lindorff notes, however, the chart conceals more than it
reveals, as it admittedly "does not include Iraqi civilians
accidentally killed by coalition forces,"3 and the US and coalition
troops have been killing civilians at "a rate both higher than
the rate they are being killed by insurgents and higher than the
rate that the U.S. forces have been killing insurgents."
| While it is clear that the US and
coalition forces have been killing more civilians than combatants
and that more civilians have been killed by the US and coalition
forces than by guerrillas, questions still remain. First of all,
do Iraqi guerrillas themselves in fact attack more civilians than
combatants, as the corporate media regularly suggests? M. Junaid
Alam published an excellent article in LeftHook to answer this
question: "Does the Resistance Target Civilians? According
to US Intel, Not Really."7 Drawing upon Anthony H. Cordesman's
report "The Developing Iraqi Insurgency: Status at End-2004"8
and "A Report Card on Iraqi Security"9 that accompanied
Eric Schmitt's article "U.S. Commanders See Possible Cut in
Troops in Iraq" in the New York Times,10 Alam graphically
illustrates the fact that "the number of attacks on 'Coalition
Forces' far exceeds that of any other category. . . . Indeed, attacks
on military occupying forces, and by extension mostly US military
forces, accounts for 75% of all attacks. Meanwhile, civilian targets
comprise a mere 4.1% of attacks."
|A newer study by the Brookings
Institution for the period 2003-2006 comes to the same conclusion: most
attacks are on the coalition forces In other words: who
are the coalition troops protecting, apart from themselves?
|One of the web-sites (iraq-kill-maim.org)
with American soldiers that died in Iraq ... just some screen shots
from one page; click
the picture below for a direct link ...
numbers are growing, representations are compacted ... like this
US army personnel casualties web poster
||Examples of visualization how the forces casualties
hit back at home in the USA ... different from the Vietnam War blacks
do not seem to have a higher casualties range ...
The web-page (Blo Cadre.com) that posted it has the following technical
"I just came across a Google Maps hack
that geocodes the home towns of Iraq war casualties and displays
a visual timeline of the progression of U.S. soldier casualties
throughout the war. This is the most recent in a whole slew of
Google Maps hacks, where the service has been tweaked and augmented
to map things such as housing, cheap gas, crime occurances in
Chicago, and sexual predators in Florida."
Click map for direct
I have lost the link and context... but will try to find it again...
|The expansion of the Ottoman empire from 1300 till
[1997 Encyclopaedia Brittanica maps that can
be found on many educational web sites]
|The decline of that same empire from 1807 till 1924.
||A map of the 1916 agreement between Britain, France
and Russia on the carving up of the Ottoman empire, establishing
on forehand their zones of interest and power. The Ottoman empire
was on the side of Axis power. The agreement is named after the main
negotiators, Mark Sykes and rancois-Georges Picot: "The 1916
[This map and further comments can be found
at the web site of israelipalestinianprocon.org.]
|Rado, Alex (1899-1981): - Atlas fur Politik
Wirtschaft Arbeiterbewegung : I der Imperialismus (1930) [Verlag
für Literatur und Politik; Wien/Berlin] This atlas made by a Hungarian
geographer (who later became an important spy for the Soviet Union)
shows how some of the strategic spots of today had that kind of importance
already in the twenties of last century. One can see an early airline
hopping from Great Britain to Gibraltar, Malta, Cairo, Baghdad and
Basra ultimately to British India, Malaysia and Hong Kong. A curious
thing is the partly realized, partly projected railway line: Berlin-Byzantium-Baghdad
with an extension to Basra ... This was an old plan form the time
that the Ottoman and German Empire were closely collaborating. The
plan would have given the Germans free access to Iraqi oil, the Persian
Gulf and their East African colonies, without passing the British
controlled Gibraltar and Suez. The railway was only partly build
and feared by the British, Russians and French, so after the defeat
of both empires in World War I, only the Baghdad Basra part was build
(by British troops) but the connection through the mountainous border
region of nowadays Turkey and Iraq was never completed. This story
of failed long distance railways in this part of the Middle East
tells something of the lack of cooperation and integration and a
long history of strive...
|To get an understanding of the economic
scale of these oil into weapon affairs a map from one of the neo-Marxist
atlases on world affairs published by Kiron at the end of the seventies
and the beginning of the eighties of last century (curiously the
Dutch publisher is the well established educational publisher Wolters
Noordhoof, while the original Brutish publisher is the Left wing
[more pages from this atlas on my web pages
on "Mapping Human Violence", clcik map for link]
|This map on the Iran Iraq war of the eighties
of last century is a my scan from "Zones of conflict : an atlas
of future wars" (1986) [Cape; London; XVII, 158 p. : ill., krt.,
tab.; 26 cm] I have not yet put this one on-line yet...The introduction
- now twenty years ago written - is interesting:
Chess was, originally, a 'war game' and the
board a simplification of the battlefield on which the ancient armies
of cavalry and footmen met each other. Is it possible, in this apparently
all-threatening world of military power in which we live, to apply
a similar technique of simplification to its military geography?
We believe it is. For all that there are now 140 armies in the world,
a dozen major navies and air forces, five strategic nuclear forces
and the beginnings of a military apparatus in space, the places in
which military power can actually be applied are comparatively few.
Geographical or climatic factors prevent military action over wide
areas of the world. In many areas, where military movement is possible,
the absence of targets worth capturing or destroying, or mere distance
itself, makes strategic action unlikely. Many states, moreover, pursue
good-neighbour policies or, even when they do not, are too weak to
put bad intentions into effect. The result is to reduce to a mere
handful the spots on the globe where the strategic chess-player will
focus his attention. 'When' and 'how' trouble will happen he cannot
predict. But 'where' is something he can identify with considerable
The original book can be found at the University Library of Amsterdam:
UB : Kaartenzl: V 2 D 1
|Just some pictures of one of the most
murderous post World War II conventional wars fought: total victims
between 650.00 up till 1,5 million dead. Trenches, mustard gas, rocket
attacks and the like ... hardly anybody demonstrated against this
crime of two regimes... the answer why is hard to hear, but many
must have thought: "it is only Muslims, let them kill each other..." In
a way we (us Dutch, Westerners) pay now the price for this attitude
|Below a statistical overview I made this
summer during what I call The Holiday war between Palestine, Israel
and Lebanon. I felt that the reactions to this war were out of proportion,
as it was a minor case and it brought back to me the bad feelings
of the eighties concerning the Iran Iraq War... here as another addenda
to the map this exercise...(Note:
the much higher numbers of the Lancet studies on the Iraq invasion/occupation
from 2003 onward are not yet included in this statistic, but it would
raise the number from 44/58.000 to over 6500.000, which ian astonishing
magnitude jump) for
the full context of that ongoing research click the graph for a direct
|Part of Iraqi oil is found in a nation
without a state: Kurdistan. This map and cartoon taken from one of
the many Kurdish nationalist web-sites show what the borders of Kurdistan
would be if they could manage to establish their own state
The web site from which I took this map is
one of the many personnel initiatives on the web. Let me quote the
introduction to the web page to understand the picture above to understand
something of the prevailing mood:
"Welcome To My Site. Here are pictures of my country, Kurdistan.
Kurdistan is located in Meddle East, it is not a country because
we are surrounded by enemies. Four countries make up Kurdistan and
they are Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq."
Click cartoon map above for link...
The map on the left (telling how Kurdistan was before the Arabs,
Persians and Turks reduced it) comes from an American Kurdish site
www.kurdmedia.us; click the map for a link
map shows where the Kurdish hold a majority, were they are mixed
with other nations and where they are a minority population.
When one compares the two maps (maximum size
Kurdistan above with these demographic realities below) it becomes
clear that the creation of a Kurdish state could generate a lot of
bloodshed. Just think about the recent and actual strive in the Balkans
and the Caucasus...
is one the many available maps showing ethnographic diversity and
distribution of Iraq. The web site calls itself "MidEast Web
GateWay and provides a great variety of maps and other sources
click map on left for the link to the map
Directly below a small map that shows the Post Gulf War "No
Fly Zone" from 1992 that would somehow protect the Iraqi minorities
in the South and the North from aggression by the Saddam regime.
One notices how ethnic areas are roughly translated in American Air
Force flying strategies... By the way it did not stop Iraqi governmental
from perpetrating violence in those areas
|The Anfal Campaign against the Kurds in
1988 one of the crimes for which Saddam Hussein and his associates
are on trial now...
seems to be a Human Rights Watch map, which I found on a Kurdish
site with the following comment:
Kurdish Genocide Just a few example of a narrative account of
a campaign of extermination against the Kurds in southern Kurdistan
(northern Iraq) is presented in this homepage. It is a product of
tons of captured Iraqi government documents and carried out field
interviews with more than 350 witnesses, most of them survivors of
the 1988 campaign known as Anfal. It concludes that in that year
the Iraqi regime committed the crime of genocide against the Kurds.
Like Nazi Germany, the Iraqi regime concealed its actions in euphemisms.
While Nazi officials spoke of "executive measures", and "special
actions," as well as "resettlement in the east," Ba'athist
bureaucrats spoke of "collective measures," a "return
to the national ranks," and "resettlement in the south." Beneath
the euhemisms, however, Iraq's crimes against the Kurds amount to
genocide, the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national,
ethnical, racial or religious group, as such."
Click map for a link to the web site
The map below comes from this site... click
logo or map
|Another world view on oil from a brochure
of the ARAMCO oil company - using the distorted scaling of world
areas to express quantity - the major importance of the Arab countries
made visible in relation to other parts of the world. What is interesting
in this map is that in several cases 'grand' geophysical entities
are used instead of national borders, indicating the irrelevance
of national borders from a transnational, imperialist view. (this
map comes from a personal Japanese web-site by Kanzo Kobayashi with
an astonishing wide range of subjects
It is well known that oil and gas are finite
resources representing stored solar energy. Consumption of these
resources is reaching recently huge dimensions. Yearly we are consuming
so much oil and gas as the nature produced in several million years.
In the light of different, particular contrary statements to the
availability of oil and gas the question arises, how long the hydrocarbon
era will continue? Figure 1 shows schematically the oil production
in the time frame between birth of Christ and the year 2500. In
this scale the hydrocarbon era is a short episode.
(from web site oilcrisis.com:
"Will the hydrocarbon era finish soon?")
Ability to Offset Lost Iraqi Oil Doubted: Watchdog Implies Reserve
May Be Tapped in a War; Ministers Fear a Price Drop," [3.13.03,
A2]. "The International Energy Agency said OPEC alone won't
be able to make up for lost Iraqi oil exports in the event of a
war. The statement suggests that the agency, the oil-supply watchdog
for the industrialized world, may need to tap into emergency oil
reserves to maintain adequate supplies of crude and keep prices
from skyrocketing. The IEA said the global oil-supply system is
'running on empty.' The warning countered a pledge made Tuesday
by Ali Naimi, the oil minister of Saudi Arabia, the world's largest
oil exporter, that 'there will be no shortage of oil in the event
of a war. Yet the IEA data showed that Saudi capacity to offset
losses was less than many had thought.
background image of this section of the scroll is Kuwait oil fields
at the Persian Gulf, taken from one of the amateur satellite picture
collectors sites... click the thumbnail to
see the full scale version
|Protesters carried pictures of people who lost their
lives in the war in Iraq at a demonstration on May 1, 2004 in San
click picture for link
|A US military ceremonial to honour those who died
and express grieve, boots helmet and weapon are set up to represent
the victims. This symbolism is later taken over by activists against
the pursue of the Iraq intervention...
U.S. Marines line up during a memorial
service for 31 servicemen at Korean Village, near Ar Rutbah, western
Iraq Thirty Marines and one sailor died on Jan. 26, 2005 when their
helicopter crashed near Ar Rutbah while conducting security operations
|2004 January: Creative protest - 500 pairs of Army
boots stand empty in Chicago Fed. plaza
||2005: Eyes Wide Open: An Exhibition on the Human Cost
of the Iraq War" hosted by St. Mary's University in San Antonio
boots bearing the names of US soldiers killed in Iraq form an exhibit
called Eyes Wide Open The Human Cost of War in Iraq, which has
been displayed in 30 US cities.
is surprisingly neither a demographer, historian, nor polemologist,
but a business and market researcher who did get gripped by the
eerie subject of 'mass death'. It is a unique and pioneering book
on a subject that is obviously of great importance, but few have
dared to touch. At first it seems beyond comprehension to speak
about all violent death of a century, one runs the risk to drown
in the foggy swamps of uncertain numbers and never well established
facts. It will be easier to find out the number of air raids, the
tonnage of bombs thrown, the number of tanks employed in such and
such a battle, the millage of barbed wire produces, than to get
to know the number of victims wrought by all this killing hardware.
But most things can be measured, even on the basis of foggy facts,
the margins that need to be employed may be wide, but after study
of many sources and conflicting interpretations there must come
a moment where one can establish the dimensions of what happened:
at least so and so, certainly not more than... in the end "an
order of magnitude" can be established.
For more details, links and quotations see my web pages on Mapping
Human Violence; click cover of book for link...
|understanding the moral significance of scale
What is the moral context in which we should see those killed by violence? There exists a view that one violent death has the same moral value as a thousand or a million deaths. Presumably 'moral value', in this view, is kept in jars of concentrated essence on the shelves of philosophers, or in the divine pantry. The killer cannot add to his sin by committing more than one murder. However, every victim of murder would claim, if he could, that his death had a separate moral value. Thus there is an accretion of moral significance in quantity of deaths. There is no doubt that this is difficult for the imagination to compute. After a certain stage in assimilating casualties, the rest seems an ( indigestible piling-on of horror and numbers. So long as the moral significance of scale is not understood, only the crudest relationships can be made in the discussion of macro-violence: the Nazis were wicked, Stalin was a monster, and so forth. How then are we to understand scale? As we have seen, it is absurd to look upon the hundred million or so man-made deaths of the twentieth century as the 'cost' of conflict, as though they were the casualty returns of a field commander. They are more directly comparable with the scale of death from disease and plague which was the accepted norm before this century. Indeed, man-made death has largely replaced these as a source of untimely death. This is the kind of change that Hegel meant when he said that a quantitative change, if large enough, could bring about a qualitative change. The quality of this particular change becomes clear if we connect the present total of deaths with the scale of death inherent in the weapons now possessed by the large powers. Nuclear strategists talk in terms of hundreds of millions of deaths, of the destruction of whole nations and even of the entire human race. The moral significance is inescapable. If morality refers to relations between individuals, or between the individual and society, then there can be no more fundamental moral issue than the continuing survival of individuals and societies. The scale of man-made death is the central moral as well as material fact of Our time. The 'historical necessity' of Marxist materialism as well as the individual morality of Christianity must bow to its significance. [p.5-6; Elliot (1972) Twentieth century book of the dead]
Kanan Makiya: The Monument. art and vulgarity
in Saddam Huseins Iraq. A quote in the right hand column:
|During the 1970's and 1980's
money from oil revenues was allocated to building of new monuments
in Baghdad. Saddam Hussein laid out new ceremonial avenues and
ordered large monuments raised at the city's major -intersections.
He has built two victory arches in the capital, an unknown soldier's
tomb, a martyrs' memorial and dozens of small statues and fountains.
An amusement park is located at the martyr's memorial, a playground
is next to the triumphal arches, and a theater is located within
the complex of the triumphal arches. According to Kanan Makiya
[writing under the pen name Samir Al-Khalil], author of The Monument:
Art, Vulgarity and Responsibility in Iraq (1991), many of Iraq's
war memorials were commissioned before the supposed victories they
celebrate were even declared. Certain types of property are identified
by the laws of war as exempt from attack (unless misused) or seizure.
The exemptions are made on both an humanitarian (schools and hospitals),
cultural (museums and monuments) and legal order (prevention of
looting and pillaging) basis. The following sections deal with
those exemptions based upon property types. Note, however, that
the protection is not absolute. There must be some reasonably close
connection between the destruction of property and the overcoming
of the enemy's army. during the Gulf War the Allies avoided bombing
numerous Iraqi cultural monuments, including the statute of Saddam
Hussein in Baghdad. According to General Schwarzkopf [It Doesn't
Take A Hero, (Bantam, 1992) p. 455] "I had spoken to Powell
regularly throughout the day. ...At ten p.m., I called to give
him a final update. I was tired; at the end of the conversation
I heard myself say how much I'd like to blow up the giant Saddam
statue and the Victory Arch in downtown Baghdad. The Victory Arch,
a monument to the war against Iran, was a huge sculpture of two
hands, said to be Saddam's, holding two swords crossed. We'd
spared both the statue and the Victory Arch during the air campaign
because they weren't military targets. To my surprise, Powell
was all for it-- although he suggested we check with the president
first. Pentagon lawyers vetoed the idea a couple of days later..."
||Tuesday March 4 2003: I
went with Trish and Muhammad (our driver) this afternoon to see
the Monument of the Martyrs, an enormous structure honoring the
Iraqi soldiers that died in the war with Iran. From a half-mile
away as we approached the site, we saw a blue sphere, shaped
like an upside-down heart, broken into two parts, forever divided.
~ Once we arrived, we passed through a gate into a one hundred
yard marble court leading to the monument. We passed two Iraqi
soldiers along the way that were happy to pose for photographs. At
the base of the upside-down broken heart was a fountain that
filled a basin, which overflowed into a waterfall that landed
one level below. The stairs we descended wrapped around the waterfall
and led us to a dimly lit, subdued, marble interior, where a
wall loomed before us. ~ Name after name of dead Iraqi soldiers
from the Iran-Iraq war was etched from floor to ceiling on this
wall that curved around and seemed to go forever. Around a million
Iraqis, I'm told, died in that war. From a population of 20
million at the time, the staggering loss was felt in every home
in this country, and the senselessness and grief was palpable
all around me as the water falling from the broken heart rang
in my ears. I asked Mohammad what he was feeling (he fought
and was injured in this war), and he seemed confused at first.
Nobody had ever asked him this question, perhaps. He said, "it's
like Vietnam." In broken English he explained that he fought
because he was told to, and after eight years both countries
were destroyed. (Description on an American peace oriented
web-site, Louisvile.peace.org of
a visit by a peace activist Doug Johnson)
say that there are (only) 200.000 names etched in the monument, although
the death toll of the Iran-Iraq War just on the Iraqi side has been
|Monument for the approximate 5.000 inhabitants
of the Kurdish village of Halabja killed by a poison gas attack in
1988. In the inside names of the victims have been engraved in stone.
detailed photo-documentation see the Hellebje web-pages
|Some more monumental works initiated by
Saddam Hussein: the victory arch and the unknown soldier tomb ...
|The small collection of artworks at show
on the web-site maps the mood of the country under
Ba'thist rule during the last quarter of last century. The picture
to the left below is by Iraqi artist Baldin Ahmad, made in 1979.
The full collection can be found at the web-site of the Iraq
This picture comes from an exhibition of contemporary Iraqi book
art in the USA: Kareem Rissan, Pilot Vision
of Baghdad, 2003 35 x 25 cm. Mixed media on handmade paper. Click
picture for link
|1986 Godhar: untitles
||1995 Jabber Alwan:
||2000 Ismail Khayat:
the death in Halabja
|Saddam had a great admiration for pre-Islamic
Mesopotamia culture... he has studied some law in Cairo when in exile
from Iraq and later posed as Justitia with sword and scales. One
of the oldest known written law is the Codex of Hammurabi (1728-1686
BC) , it has 282 articles engraved in cuneiform script in stone.
The original codex pillar has been robbed by the Persians and landed
in the beginning of last century in the Louvre in Paris.
Marduk sent me to rule over men, to give the protection of right
to the land, I did right and righteousness in . . . , and brought
about the well-being of the oppressed
If any one ensnare another, putting a ban upon him, but he can not
prove it, then he that ensnared him shall be put to death.
If any one bring an accusation against a man, and the accused go
to the river and leap into the river, if he sink in the river his
accuser shall take possession of his house. But if the river prove
that the accused is not guilty, and he escape unhurt, then he who
had brought the accusation shall be put to death, while he who leaped
into the river shall take possession of the house that had belonged
to his accuser.
If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and
does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital
offense charged, be put to death.
If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment
in writing; if later error shall appear in his decision, and it be
through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve times the fine set
by him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the judge's
bench, and never again shall he sit there to render judgement.
VOS, Marten de (b. 1532, Antwerpen, d. 1603, Antwerpen) The Tribunal
of the Brabant Mint in Antwerp 1594 Oil on panel, 157 x 215 cm
Rockox House, Antwerp.
click picture for a link
to a bigger version on the excellent Hungarian Web gallery of Art...
The painting, which is a tableau representing justice, was painted
in 1594 to hang in the Law Court of the 'Minters' of the Duchy of
Brabant. Such paintings were intended to remind both Judges and those
seeking justice of their duty and responsibilities.
The members of the Brabant League of Minters commissioned the painting,
and had themselves depicted (from the waist up) in the background,
behind the symbolic figures from classical antiquity surrounding
Justitia herself. Justitia, crowned with laurels and holding the
scales of justice and a sword, triumphs over deceit and violence,
symbolized by a masked woman caught in her own web and a violent
miscreant who has been disarmed. In the foreground on the left, Moses
is depicted with the Tables of the Law, and on his right the Emperor
Justinian, the codifier of Roman Law. On the right there is the bearded
Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, who compiled sacred laws
inspired by his wife, the nymph Egeria. On the far right, Pliny the
Elder can be seen, with his left hand resting on the 37 scientific
works he wrote.
In a nutshell, the message of this scene is
that justice triumphs over deceit and violence, and that judges should
judge according to sacred and civil law, guided by knowledge and
|The first forensic investigation into
the murder by Saddam Hussein of hundreds of thousands of his people
was made public yesterday after the excavation of a mass grave containing
the bodies of blindfolded women, some with babies in their arms.
An American-led team has been secretly investigating a mass grave
near the village of Hatra, in northern Iraq, where about 300 bodies
have been found. Thousands more may be lying undiscovered. Michael
Trimble and Greg Keboe at a mass grave near Hatra The Iraqi government
has identified 40 mass graves. But this is the first time that a
proper study has been carried out because previous graves in the
centre and south of the country were generally excavated by distraught
relatives determined to give the victims a decent burial. The findings
will be used by investigators for the Iraqi special tribunal which
is seeking evidence to try Saddam and other leading Ba'ath Party
members for crimes against humanity. (...) Since July 5, investigators
from the tribunal have been compiling evidence from documents seized
after the fall of Saddam's regime, as well as first-hand accounts
and mass graves that have so far been unearthed. Human rights groups
say the former regime killed an estimated 250,000 Shia Muslims and
50,000 ethnic Kurds.
|But, also this must be noted: Tony Blair
admidst that claim of '400,000 bodies in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue,
and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered...
18, 2004: Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated
claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi
mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far
been uncovered. The claims by Blair in November and December of
last year, were given widespread credence, quoted by MPs and widely
published, including in the introduction to a US government pamphlet
on Iraq's mass graves. In that publication - Iraq's Legacy of Terror:
Mass Graves produced by USAID, the US government aid distribution
agency, Blair is quoted from 20 November last year: 'We've already
discovered, just so far, the remains of 400,000 people in mass
|Mass graves in the aftermath of the Gulf
War, a product of false promises of protection and a call to revolt
by Bush senior (who is neither on trial himself, nor a witness in
the tribunal of Saddam Hussein).
|Recently we visited Human Rights Watch of Karbala (HRWK), an organization founded on April 5, 2003, immediately after the fall of Saddam's regime. HRWK was the first organization to discover mass graves in the region, and has been involved in opening them, documenting the identities of the victims, and notifying the families of the victims' whereabouts. Forty-one of the forty-three mass graves near Karbala date back to 1991, when Saddam crushed a Shiite uprising seeking to depose him shortly after the first Gulf War. Estimates of the total number of victims in mass graves throughout the country range as high as 300,000. Many Americans would agree with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who commented that, "Once the war was over and I saw the mass graves and the true extent of Saddam's genocidal evil, my view was that Mr. Bush did not need to find any W.M.D.'s to justify the war for me." But unlike Friedman, many of those Iraqis whose relatives were murdered and dumped in these mass graves had something other than praise for the US government. As one Iraqi from HRWK told us, "The U.S. let Saddam's regime do what it did and therefore the mass graves are also the responsibility of the United States. For this reason we don't believe the US came [in 2003] to bring freedom to Iraqis."
See for details Christian Peacemaker team web
|Open burial trench
Remembering the dead
|One of the grave markers
Some graves have only numbers
to identify them
This long, long page with links ends here and the choices I have
made of images and texts are nothing more than desperate attempts
to make some sense out of a mass of information and disinformation
that is beyond the capacity of any of us... You need not approve
of my choices; I may have quoted a bastard here or forgot about a
very good person elsewhere; it is hardly possible to get a complete
understanding of a subject so complex as Iraq and its former leader
who stands on trial now...
Tjebbe van Tijen/Imaginary
Museum Projects 17/10/2006
last updated 20 October 2006