Painters and the Iraq war

This video from the USA says about itself:

A review of the U.S. premiere of Fernando Botero’s complete Abu Ghraib series at American University’s Katzen Arts Center in Washington.

From Art for a Change blog in the USA:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Modern Painters: Art & War

The April 2008 edition of Modern Painters: The International Contemporary Art Magazine, is devoted to “the politically driven art made in response to war and its critical reception.” An introductory statement from the magazine’s Assistant Editor, Quinn Latimer, sums up the profusely illustrated April edition thusly: “Each month, with some discomfiture, we publish art criticism that rarely touches on the Iraq war. But the fifth anniversary of the American invasion compelled us to unambiguously address the conflict. For while there has been no shortage of artistic responses, their critical reception has been scant. Modern Painters is devoting this issue to speaking to that void – and to filling any implied silences by putting words and images in their stead.”

How the Pentagon manipulated the media to promote the Iraq war: here.

Botero on Abu Ghraib, and 19th century ‘Orientalist’ paintings: here.

2 thoughts on “Painters and the Iraq war

  1. 14-15 November 2008: European day of action against military

    On 23 Apr 2008 14:50 Hans Lammerant wrote:

    War starts from Europe.

    14-15 November 2008: European day of action against military

    Europe is at war.

    The bombs are not falling in Europe. They are falling several thousands
    of km away in Iraq and Afghanistan. But still war is waged from Europe.
    Europe serves as a launch pad for military interventions worldwide. The
    frameworks differ: NATO, EU, US coalition of the willing, UN. The
    targets also vary: Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Chad, etc. But the
    departure points don’t: military bases and civilian airports and
    harbours in Europe.

    *Europe hosts a large military intervention machinery.*

    The Iraq war made this very visible. The US and the UK waged war from
    their European bases. In 2003, there were 54,000 Europe-based US
    military personnel who were directly involved in the war against Iraq.
    For example, the US Army was deployed out of Germany and Italy., Bombing
    flights departed from UK bases and aircraft carriers in the
    Mediterranean. Marines were inserted into northern Iraq from Crete and
    Bulgaria. And this is still going on. In 2006 two-thirds of the Europe
    based US military were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, preparing to
    depart or had just returned. Since January2003, over 1 million US troops
    have passed through Shannon Airport in Ireland en route to Afghanistan
    and Iraq. Airports across Europe have been used for ‘rendition’ flights.
    *Without Europe the Iraq war was impossible.*

    European countries themselves are participating in the ongoing conflicts
    in Afghanistan and Iraq. More than 25,000 European soldiers fight under
    NATO command in Afghanistan. EU forces are intervening in Africa. Both
    NATO and the EU are developing rapid intervention forces. Several
    European countries have military bases outside Europe to support their

    We make war under the labels of ‘military humanitarian intervention’ and
    ‘war against terrorism’. *Behind these PR labels, the military
    intervention machineries protect economic interests and sustain the
    existing global order.*

    War Starts from Europe. Let’s Stop War from Europe.

    *We call for a European day of nonviolent direct action against war on
    14-15 November 2008. *This day of action is not being organised by any
    one organisation ― the idea is that anti-militarists across Europe can
    adapt the action day to their local context. This call originated in
    discussions amongst anti-militarist activists from across Europe at the
    ‘NATO GAME OVER’ action in March 2008.

    It is important that we encourage and support each other. It can also be
    useful when doing media work to be able to say how widespread the day of
    action is across Europe. Log in to to be
    inspired by others ideas and to post your planned action in advance
    (unless the action is a ‘surprise’). After the action day please post

    *Take action at your local military bases and installations used for
    military interventions! Let’s resist military globalisation together!


    Hans Lammerant

    Vredesactie – Bomspotting



    US snipers accused of targeting civilians in Sadr City
    Middle East Online

    Residents, doctors of Baghdad’s Sadr City say US snipers deliberately shoot civilians in feet, stomachs.

    April 22, 2008

    BAGHDAD – Civilians caught up in the crossfire during raging street battles between Shiite militiamen and security forces in Baghdad’s Shiite bastion Sadr City are blaming an unseen danger — US military snipers.

    At least 321 people have been killed in Sadr City since March 25 and hundreds more wounded, many of them brought to hospitals with wounds that doctors say appear to be caused by high-powered rifles and “American bullets.”

    US military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Steven Stover dismissed claims that US snipers are targeting women and children as “preposterous” and said the wounds could be the result of “un-aimed” militia fire.

    Residents of Sadr City, however, bastion of the Shiite militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, blame US snipers whenever someone is shot in the stomach or the legs.

    The mother of Ali Murtatha, a three-year-old boy lying with bullet wounds to his stomach in Al-Sadr hospital, has no doubt that her only son was shot by a US sniper.

    “An American sniper shot my child. Who else would shoot my boy? The place where we stay is tense. There are American soldiers everywhere near us,” she said as she watched over him on his hospital bed, where he is lying with bandages on his stomach and an oxygen tube in his nose.

    His mother, Umm Murtatha, says he was shot outside his home in a southern sector of the impoverished slum district, which is criss-crossed by tiny lanes lined with small overcrowded homes.

    In the same hospital, Tharwat Abbas, aged 26, lies under a heavy blanket in one of the hospital’s few air-conditioned rooms on the ground floor.

    Abbas has two bullet wounds — one in the stomach, the other in his left thigh.

    “There was some random shooting in our area. After a while it stopped and I stepped out of my house to fetch my younger brother when suddenly I was shot twice,” Abbas said.

    He too believes the bullets were fired by a US sharpshooter.

    “I don’t know who shot me but I believe it was an American soldier,” he said.

    Medics at Al-Sadr Hospital say some bullet wounds are difficult to explain as being caused by random fire.

    “Random shots usually hit anywhere, but these people have wounds on specific parts of the body … like their stomachs and legs,” said Doctor Ala Haider.

    He said some patients had been cut down by bullets that appear to have been fired by US forces.

    “During the operations on the patients we found bullets inside the bodies. They were American bullets. We can distinguish the American bullets from the Iraqis,” he said.

    Lawmaker from Sadr’s political bloc, Falah Shanshal, backed the widespread claims by locals that US snipers have been targeting residents of Sadr City since Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered a crackdown on Shiite militants.

    “American snipers are on the roof-tops. They have killed many people. It has become difficult to move now, especially in the evenings,” he said.

    The US military dismissed the allegations.

    “No American soldier is targeting innocent civilians of any age. We don’t do that,” Lieutenant Colonel Stover, spokesman for the US military command in Baghdad told.

    “Allegations that we would target innocent teenagers, children, women and men are preposterous. Tell the mother of the three-year-old our hearts go out to her, but her son was not targeted by an American sniper.”

    Observers say, however, the US military is well known for its indiscriminate fire whenever they come under attack.


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