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Reading The Pictures: A Terrible Day In The Neighborhood

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Knowing nothing else about this photo from Baghdad, the obvious aspect is the boy with the gun. Such a scene leads to thoughts of how wars effect children, and how a generation of kids learn to see violence as the way to deal with conflict. I can't say how spontaneous this shot was, but there have been all too many newswire images from Iraq that are similar.

I was compelled by this picture, however, for reasons other than the child.

Specifically, this is one of the few news photos I've seen documenting the ethnic cleansing taking place right in the capital. According to the caption, this Shiite boy landed here after being expelled by gunmen from his family home in the Sunni suburb of Abu Ghraib. As the MSM concentrates on incidents of bloodshed or the travails of particular military units, this image puts a human face on the final chapter of the Administration's sordid and impulsive incursion into this country.

In this makeshift tent, we see nothing less than the destruction of the Iraqi social fabric.

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(image: Sabah Arar/AFP. July 11, 2006. Baghdad. Via YahooNews.)