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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Time for the Nancy Reagan Strategy in Iraq

This big budget slick Hollywood produced PSA asks Iraqis to "Just Say No" to suicide bombing.

This ad is slated to get airplay on Iraq television according to this article:
It's a tall order considering that post-occupation Iraq is now rife with militant groups and plagued by increasing sectarian violence. In March alone there were an estimated 175 suicide bombings. There’s also the question of just who will be able to see the PSA. The cost of owning a TV is often prohibitive for the average Iraqi, and those who are affluent enough to get Iraq’s state-sponsored programs are not always thrilled by what they’re seeing. Though there is the new, post-Saddam Iraqi Media Network (IMN), its $6-million monthly budget is provided by the United States and many local viewers feel that its positive reports on the U.S.-led war are simply propaganda so they turn to satellite TV instead.

I wonder how locals will react to the Matrix-like shots that used 120 cameras to get the panning, frozen-in-time effect.Or if they will identify themselves with the extras?
At least 60 extras dressed in hijabs, kaffiyehs and polyester-wool blend slacks were herded onto the set to simulate an average shopping day. But there was hardly any Arabic spoken on this Baghdad street. Spanish, Punjabi and even Italian could be heard as extras gathered around the Kraft services table to munch on chips and guacamole. When asked if he is Iraqi, Bidkar Ramos, an extra on the set, laughs. "No, I'm Chinese and Mexican,” he says. “Like most of these people, I'm just a look-alike."

Of couse if we ever institute racial-profiling many of these selfsame extras will probably be mistakenly harrassed as potential terrorists even if they are not in costume

Maha has a post worth reading about how confusing it is to distinguish between different races of brown-skinned people. I was struck by this line about the Minority Majority:
If airport and other security were to put people wearing Muslim dress through special security, it wouldn’t take long for the enterprising terrorist to figure out how to dress and act so as not to arouse suspicion that he is Muslim. He might even rent “Born in East L.A.” and get tips on passing as Latino. If Chinese can do it, becoming Latinized should be a snap for a Pakistani.

(via MetaFilter)