when the dust clears

Words about and images of matters political, social, and military

Iraqi Army barracks tour and Omar & Bravo Part 2

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This video is an assemblage of three clips from 2006 that we couldn’t fit into the doc.

The first two are segments of a tour Iraqi Army soldiers gave me of their quarters at 1/2 Charlie Company’s Firm Base 1.

Number three is a second scene from 1/2 Bravo’s encounter with the Anbari college student Omar. In this one, they discuss (American) popular music.

The grunts, IAs, and Omar are clearly consciousness of me and my camera. They perform, as many (all?) of us do when there’s a lens trained on us. This camera consciousness made me uncomfortable as I screened the videotape the first half dozen times, but I realized that such performances were as meaningful as the candid moments — or moments in which folks appeared to be unaware of the video camera but could very well have been calculating and acting.

The IAs direct their mordant jokes and complaints at me and through me to the presumed American audience. Omar and the boys of Bravo are ostensibly communicating among themselves, but they too are calibrating their statements for the “reporter guy” and the people in the U.S. who will see the video. There’s a heap of subtext the men dance around, under, and on top of — the issue of race springs to mind. This verbal shimmying and jiving is funny, ironic, absurd, poignant, and telling.

Agree? Disagree? Weigh in with a comment below!

AND: This will be my final prodding. Voting for Best of Doc 2011 ends in two days. Please cast your final digi-ballots for Full Disclosure!

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