Tuesday, February 22, 2005

"Voices of Iraq"

No matter what one thinks of the Iraq war, Voices of Iraq (Magnolia Pictures, 2004 on DVD) is a must-see. "The producers of this grounbreaking doumentary distributed 150 digital video cameras across Iraq to enable everyday people -- mothers, children, teachers, sheiks, even insurgents -- to voice their perspectives on issues such as war, terror and the democratic reform. The result is a unique tableau documenting Iraqis' lives, and their hopes as they struggle with years of turmoil and strive to build a civil society. Note: Contains graphic content" (from the wrapper).

We will never know how representative the views expressed are. My impression is that they are moreso than what I get from the evening news. There is tragedy (mostly remembrances of the past regime) and hope and optimisim. Mainly the latter.

Interestingly, among the of-hand on-camera comments are references to Saddam's link to Al Qaeda and Syria's link to the inusrgents (which is also celebrated on interspersed jihadist recruitment video).

The project itself once again demonstrates how new technologies (in this case the user-friendly cameras) undermine the gatekeepers. It may have been a worse year for Dan Rather than he knows.