August 14, 2006

The Show Must Go On

According to Reuters photographer Zohra Bensemra, an elderly injured woman lies injured in the ruins of her house, awaiting rescue as Bensemra snaps these pictures.


Let's for a moment try to look past the staging elements that we've become accustomed to searching for over the past weeks.

Ignore for a moment the fact that a wounded elderly woman in a bombed out building is unlikely to be in the kind of physical condition needed to drag several pristine sofa pillows through the rubble and make a bed out of them. Look past the fact that she, in her weakened condition, has found a nearly spotless black blanket in the fine gray dust of a bombed out building to cover her legs against the 80 degree cold. Ignore the conveniently-placed bottled water she somehow found intact and had for the middle photo only.

Look past all this, and the total absence of any readily identifiable injury, to momentarily take Zohra Bensemra's word at face value that this is an injured, elderly woman lying in the rubble, that he seems to have stumbled across before help has arrived.

Now place yourself in Zohra Bensemra's shoes.

If you came across someone lying injured in the rubble, would you cry for assistance, seek to comfort her, or stop to determine which camera angle best captures this scene?

Would you come forward quickly and see how badly she is injured and try to render assistance, or would you compose an increasingly intimate montage of photos?

Reuters, no doubt, will offer the excuse that the photographer has the duty to capture the story, not to become part of it.

I'd like to ask Reuters when a photo-op becomes more important than basic humanity, but I'm afraid they'd be all too ready and willing with an answer.

Update: After thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided one element of these photos deserves more attention, so I updated the second photo to highlight the interesting detail.

According to the photographer's caption:

An injured Lebanese woman lies in her damaged house as she waits to be rescued during the first day of ceasefire, at Bint Jbail, east of the port city of Tyre (Soure) August 14, 2006. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra (LEBANON)

If she "waits to be rescued" alone, who, then, is moving the bottled water in the second photo out of frame in the first and third pictures? Is it Gatorade's new fitness drink, "self-Propel?"

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 14, 2006 01:27 PM | TrackBack

Is this person alive? Rigor mortis?

Why do we bother looking?

Posted by: dc at August 14, 2006 02:22 PM

Didn't she know she was being photographed? Couldn't she have fixed up a little and sweep the floor? What a pig.

Posted by: UncleZeb at August 14, 2006 03:47 PM

self-propel..... good one.

Posted by: adamboysmom at August 14, 2006 05:14 PM

The picture with the water bottle looks very strange. A little enlargement shows the bottle somehow suspended in mid-air with no apparent support from the woman's hand. You can quite clearly see all her fingers through the clear plastic and none are clutching the bottle. I'd say that it's been Photoshopped by the photographer but there's nothing to be gained by doing that. Maybe it's just perspective

Posted by: Wes at August 14, 2006 09:33 PM
The picture with the water bottle looks very strange. A little enlargement shows the bottle somehow suspended in mid-air with no apparent support from the woman's hand.

I noticed the same thing. Nothing conclusive, but certainly looks odd.

Now for a photoshop that is really obvious, but needs to get more play, check out this post

I'm obsessed and won't rest until someone at the NY Times is fired.

Posted by: RightWinged at August 14, 2006 10:45 PM

It's clear she was gesturing with her arms in an attempt to get the photographer to help her.

As far as we know, he took pictures and left.

(Sure doesn't look like she's faking to me.)

Posted by: Chris at August 15, 2006 12:30 PM

I dont doubt that this woman may be in need of some assistance but the question I ask is "Is the assistance she needs already there and just waiting for the pictures to be taken?" Since as so many have pointed out the waterbottle mysteriously disappears in the first and third photos.

Posted by: 81 at August 15, 2006 12:53 PM

I'm glad that there are intelligent people out there that ask questions first before blindly believing a terrorist group. Israel does not target civilians and when was the last time you heard about a an Israeli suicide bomber or I.D.F. hiding in amoungst civilians. People of the world better wise up before more bad things happen because of terror groups deliberately using women children as shields. Does any one wonder why so many civilians die in lebonan.....possibly because the men are out putting off rockets near the building and it is then painted for a target.And don't forget as a result of 2 soldiers being kidnapped the whole north part of our country now lives in bomb shelters. Over 2000 rockets have landed in Israel and i think we have been extremely patient

Posted by: Liz at August 15, 2006 05:20 PM

I agree with Wes. The water bottle looks shopped. Very strange.

Posted by: lady redhawk at August 15, 2006 05:25 PM

Just like Passion of the Toys, the square throw pillow in the bottom photo is dust free, no mudstains, etc. Strange that it would be lying ever so peacefully like that in a "bombed out" house.

Posted by: TBOB at August 15, 2006 06:19 PM

But why would Evian photoshop their product into this picture?

Or did Dasani do it? As if to say, "Evian is the water for dead old ladies."

This could be huge. Did you call the government? But they might be in on it!

Or...someobody picked up the water and drank it. Maybe they were refilling it for her. Or, she knocked it over on accident.

But, whatever the case, I'm with you, I would never, NEVER take the time to put pillows under a dying woman. Or give here a sip of water. That's just providing comfort to the enemy. And, if you look closely, notice that her left hand has moved during the series, at least enough to stick a knife in you.

Posted by: Grizzly at August 15, 2006 06:41 PM

Do you think she's an actor? Maybe it is Sean Penn in disguise? Or maybe a cockroach person? Whoever she is, she certainly is unworthy of pity, otherwise why would they have taken her out.

Posted by: Grizzly at August 15, 2006 06:43 PM

Perhaps not too surprisingly, Grizzly didn't bother to engage his brain before leaving his comments.

Let's see if we can guide him to the relevant part of the picture caption shall we?

An injured Lebanese woman lies in her damaged house as she waits to be rescued during the first day of ceasefire, at Bint Jbail, east of the port city of Tyre (Soure) August 14, 2006. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra (LEBANON)

An injured woman waits to be rescued, and yet, the too-weak-to-move woman:

  • she is laying on sofa cushions, from furniture that does not appear to come from that room
  • is laying on a mattress pad covered by a clean blanket
  • has her lower legs covered by a blanket
  • has a bottle of water that appears and disappears by magic.

The obvious fact illustrated by these photos is that this woman was not waiting to be rescued. She was taken care of if ever injured at all, and thus the story presented in these photos is a lie.

Perhaps that is a concept loss on the simple.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at August 15, 2006 11:39 PM

I was thinking about it. And you are right.

I know that if my grandma's house got blown up, I'd heave her onto some cushions (and not the clean ones!), toss a blanket on her, and then leave her to fend for herself.

One thing I know is that old folks will always take advantage of any kindness you show them. That's why I support ending social security. We should just dump them on an island somewhere with a bunch of guns, let them learn what it means to be free.

Rescued? Lazy ingrate has already been rescued! Can't you see the water that she had? What a fake photo!!!!

Posted by: Grizzly at August 16, 2006 10:27 AM

Good catch Con Yank.

Posted by: Baldy at August 16, 2006 08:04 PM

Thank you, Grizzly, for illustrating the point at hand. You wouldn't treat your grandmother that way? Neither would I.

That's the point. The people we are fighting are not us, and not like us. They don't think like us. Most importantly, they don't value life like us.

Well done.

Posted by: JPatterson at August 17, 2006 01:46 PM