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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

FRANCE | Fear of the consequences Controversy over a picture of a French soldier with a skull in Mali


In each battlefield there is always a provocative image that generates debate while becomes icon , a symbol of the devastation anddehumanization that breeds war . The violent context creates new layers in photographs where reading, perhaps in the shot, there was no intention to generate controversy. From the graphic evidence published since the beginning of the war in Mali is one that is subtle, possibly innocent and maybe also inconvenient , but that has not gone unnoticed, at least for Paris. In the picture one of the French soldiers present in the African country poses illuminated by the rays of a sun that opens between tanks of gunpowder and smoldering trees. The sitter seems to defy the target covered by a mask of a skull viodeojuego inspired by the 'Call of Duty' . The photo was taken inNiono, in central Mali , and flows through social networks and has upset the military hierarchy, believing that, intentional or not, the gesture associated death to the French mission in the country and not identifies intervention targets. This behavior is unacceptable. This image is representative of the action that led to France to Mali at the request of the African state and the action of the soldiers whose lives are in danger, "said ColonelThierry Burkhard , spokesman for the Army Gallo, according to the country's media collected.

"The soldier was posing"

In the video game 'Call of Duty' a character named Ghost and is a member of the American special forces of the same type of mask . The gesture of the imitator was taken by AFP photographer Issouf Sanogoand other professional French newspaper Le Parisien. According Sanogo account on his blog, when the picture was "a helicopter was about to land and was raising a lot of dust" .Therefore, "all soldiers instinctively it was close and stopped with their handkerchiefs to protect from dust. Upon the scene and found no shocking nor particularly remarkable. The soldier stood, there was no staging , "he defends. Acquitted by the author of the snapshot, some believe that the gesture may harm the image of France and his war "to liberate Mali" terrorist yoke. "The mask is a talisman to defy death. The military has played a symbol inscribed in the collective unconscious which means I am the exterminator, I have no fear of anything," he told Le Monde François Bernard Huyghe , director Research at the institute Iris.

Counterpropaganda

According to this expert Gallic photography creates a communication problem military and political, because, he says, "could be exploited by jihadist propaganda, you see it as a kind of crusade in the service of death" ."Beyond references to video game hits the viewer photo by evidence of the message (...) The liberator soldier reminds us that, in this war against terrorism, where there are few images and only official statements, clashes have murderers place every day, "says the newspaper 'Libération'. The Army analyzes the image to identify the sitter . Last November some members of the elite unit of the U.S. Navy SEAL, which killed bin Laden in 2011 were sanctioned for revealing secrets about the operation to prepare delivery of another game, Medal of Honor .

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