Saturday, September 22, 2007

Take 62

I live and work in the neighborhood, so for the past week have navigated barricades, stalled traffic, clusters of ill-assorted men in ill-fitting suits, and all the other annual inconveniences of the General Assembly. The protesters with bullhorns have been less in evidence and I'm trying to recall whether I've got my seasons confused and they really only appear in the spring and summer (I know they do show up then but I thought now too). At any rate, there is one group that has set up along the Second Avenue side of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza for the past week, protesting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presidency and his appearance before the UN. They have set up a barricade of lurid photographs depicting the executions over which he and his government have presided.

I am conditioned by the anti-abortion lobby and their crude intimidation tactics to disregard gruesome close-ups of aborted fetuses and other visual, visceral efforts to supplant reason and law with emotion and religion.

One photograph disturbs me terribly though. It's a woman in a white chador, facing the camera with an expression of extreme anguish. She is at a 30 degree angle, buried above her elbows, surrounded by men with shovels who are intent on completing the job.

It's incredibly ugly. But however righteous, indignation and outrage should not supplant discussion and debate.

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