No. 6001 Is Now Being Served

This week we were told that the US had applied one of the oldest tricks at hand within psychological warfare, dispersing 60,000 leaflets on March 16 from an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle fighter above Raqqa, in which Daesh/IS are presiding.

Image produced by Military Information Support Operations
and released by U.S. Central Command

There is a tendency these years - if not most of the time, admittedly - to belittle the possible impact of imagery. Especially since it is near impossible to prove impact and outcome at the best of times, and leaflets and posters remembered might just be the result of assisted memory from the like of historians and exhibitions. Still, the stubborn imagery-pushers among us would say that given it is recalled long after the fact, gives us certain indications. Especially since such material would have been printed on cheap paper that disintegrates while the print is still wet. And so the discussion continues, all the while images such as the one above are being dispersed in much the same way they have been for the past 550 years since their printing was first made possible.

This one is less speaking on a symbolical level than telling a story. A young man drops his ticket at the "ISIS Employment Office" as the sign says to the left, as he realizes what the Daesh is all about the very moment his number comes up. The sign to the right says in spoken Arabic that No. 6001 is now being served.

The narration is not a subtle one, of course. Not so much the busy meat grinder as the characterization of the protagonists. I am a naïve Northerner, so I have asked those who knows, if this even works? The figure in the middle has been seen ad nauseam in Western iconography of the meanest kind: The Child Eater. Complete with the crooked finger luring in the young, the spiky fingernails and the grinning teeth baring the evil intentions...

Victimization yet again, sighed Tony Daoud, why make this a story about innocent youth and not what they simply are, ignorant? This way it is but yet another good vs. evil dichotomy, not even scratching the surface of the real nature of the Daesh. As Daryl Cagle wrote with a hearty grin this is a drawing that would do wonderfully in Tennessee with "Obamacare" written on the meat grinder.

But it could work as intended, Tarek Alghorani laid in, possibly too among the young in the West, who are contemplating joining the Daesh. A prerequisite for its efficiency is the possibility of choice at hand. The door out is perhaps the subtlest part of the drawing, hinted at in the background thus situating the two routes at same place of the picture plane.

I am deeply grateful for all inputs and to Tony Daoud for furthermore translating saving me yet again.

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