Picture a war

July 27, 2006

This map of Beirut has been posted on various pro-Israeli websites in the past couple of days. The areas targeted by Israeli air strikes are represented by the grey blobs.

I don’t know what its provenance is. But if the map is accurate, it gives the lie to the stories that have been circulating in the media about the reduction of whole suburbs of Beirut to rubble.

It brings home a commonplace point: this war is about images. Lisa Goldman at On the Face recently posted a great piece about an image that stirred much fury in the Arab blogosphere, and which turned out to be just a provocative photo-op for sensation-seeking journalists.

At Vital Perpective and Harry’s Place are some revealing commentaries by CNN journalists on how Hizbollah controls access to the damaged areas of Beirut and channels the messages that the mainstream media disseminate.

Yet (easy though it sometimes is) one can’t really blame the media. They want strong stories and strong images. It was never truer than today that media reportage is only the first — and very rough– draft of history. Thank God the blogs are around now to provide the instant corrective.

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