Propaganda | Task 5

TASK:

Research an image that has been used for Propaganda

I began my research journey by heading to the library and searching the term: ‘Propaganda’ this entry came out with hundreds of books at my disposal. I thought of what kind of propaganda I had already encountered before such as World War 2 Britain and also Germany- Hitler etc. I decided to touch upon a new and fresh area when I came across the book ‘EXTREME ISLAM Anti-American Propaganda of Muslim Fundamentalism ‘ despite this topic being quite controversial, I realised it was current and relevant to the research topic. Before taking this work out, I had only been exposed to Anti-Britain and Anti-Germany and related countries so I wanted to approach this at the other end of the spectrum, focussing on a religion that I am unaware of and a part of the world with their opposing political, religious and cultural views of America.

PROPAGANDA:

1. Information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view

2. The dissemination of such information as a political strategy

EXTREME ISLAM ANTI-AMERICAN PROPAGANDA OF MUSLIM FUNDAMENTALISM

Fundamentalism:

  • Strict maintenance of ancient or fundamental doctrines of any religion or ideology, notably Islam.
  • Fundamentalism refers to a belief in a strict adherence to an established set of basic principles (usually religious in nature), sometimes as a reaction to perceived doctrinal compromises with modern social and political life.
  • The tendency to reduce a religion to its most fundamental tenets, based on strict interpretation of core texts

Muslim Fundamentalism:

  •  Islamic fundamentalism (Arabic: usul, the “fundamentals”) is a term used to describe religious ideologies seen as advocating a return to the “fundamentals” of Islam: the Quran and the Sunnah.

SCANS FROM THE BOOK:

Through further Internet research of searching “muslim propaganda” I found many entries that explained it further in depth to me- I had used Extremist views of propaganda and text. Unfortunately, I have been unsuccessful in finding any of the images from the book, so am unable to find out further background information in order for me to analyse any potential propaganda from that book.

More time searching the web lead me to see a striking image which immediately interested me and I wanted to analyse. Its striking imagery and controversial methods had caught my eye and could see how they use the same methods as other countries, which makes me think all propaganda is the same, they’re all trying to out-do each other with new extreme methods of imagery and content.

During this research I have decided to look into how it’s covered and stories are told of propaganda in the Media. I thought it would be interesting to see how Journalists cover such stories and the content of their text/information used. I wonder how far it can be spoken or analysed.

RESEARCH LINKS:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_in_Iran

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1910361,00.html (this link connects directly with the image I have found and how a Journalist has discussed and made public issues)

http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=1173

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/13/us-embassy-attacks-iran-iraq_n_1880773.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_hostage_crisis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Liberty

After the Iranian hostage crisis (1979–1981), the walls of the former U.S. embassy in Tehran were covered in mostly anti-American murals.

As I knew nothing of the reasons for this piece of Propaganda, I had to fully scope the Internet to try and find out the story behind it and the reason for it’s extremity to where the former US Embassy was placed.

Through this research I have realised that Propaganda is made accessible and wide-spread by media such as Magazine articles, Newspapers and Online Articles. The article in the Huffington post has explained to me the reasons for the peoples anger, and insight into their way of thinking. I can now kind of get my own interpretation from the image as it being down to religion, opposing culture clashes and respect.

THE IMAGE:

Teheran_US_embassy_propaganda_statue_of_liberty

Teheran US embassy propaganda statue of liberty

The Story behind the Statue

Propaganda; 1. Information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view

Fundamentalism; 2. Strict maintenance of ancient or fundamental doctrines of any religion or ideology, notably Islam.

This photograph, at first glance, shows an extremely controversial and recognised image. The Statue of Liberty, possibly the most famous and well-known landmark in the world, situated on Staten Island, New York. dedicated on October 28, 1886. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated to America by the French. The landmark is an “icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad”. Everything that relates to the statues symbolism are ideas such as Freedom, Acceptance, Welcoming etc. So for this image of Anti-America Propaganda to be produced is pretty hard-hitting to America and also the world.

Through research I have found this area particularly interesting as it has taught me of historical events that I have been unaware of. From the initial shock of this anti-America controversial image I felt it right to find out more. The Iranian hostage crisis (1979–1981) showed a diplomatic crisis and divide between two countries: Iran and America. This was a movement seen as the Iranian Revolution. Iranians against America and the leader at the time, President Carter. The two ideologies and cultures seemed to clash at an alarming rate. A group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans for a total of 444 days. Carter noted that the hostages were “victims of terrorism and anarchy”.

This moment in history marked the start of the rupture of Iran-United States relations and their former relationship, had been destroyed. The crisis has been described as a mixture of “vengeance and mutual incomprehension” – The Long Ordeal of the Hostages By HP-Time.com;John Skow, January 26, 1981. These events lead to wide-spread public anger in both America and Iran, with the involvement of the media this crisis was made known to all creating divides between immigrants and settling members of the public in both countries.

The crisis has also been described as the “pivotal episode” in the history of Iran–United States relations. This quote makes me think as though relations between the two countries had been shifting and changing from good to bad for a while, and this confirmed how cultural divide had been set in stone and given them reason to act one negative way towards each other. Many factors contributed to the collapse of the system of authority due to widespread transgression of the rules, the main terms I see most fit are: cultural and political difference. The two countries have completely different ways of life, religion and politics, meaning that there was a consistent divide between them which could have swung either way but ultimately went to disagreement and war.

After the Iranian hostage crisis (1979–1981), the walls of the former U.S. embassy in Tehran were covered in mostly anti-American murals. Immediately, the image can be identified as the Statue of Liberty. But not how we usually know it or see it, it’s seen as an iconic positive landmark to most of us in the world, but this shows an attitude from the opposite end, the negative. This piece of Anti-American Propaganda is part of a mural, a series of decorative dedicated to oppose America and everything it stands for. Viewing this imagery, I can see and almost feel the angst of the Iranian people behind the ‘art’. On the other hand, I can understand the shock and provoked hostility within the Americans from this particular image of The Statue of Liberty with a modified skull as a face. This image metaphorically shows America as being dead, or the cause of death, or even that the country and everything that it stands for is meaningless/dead to Iran and it’s people.

Their country had been seen as under the power and leadership of the Americans, their opposing cultural and religious beliefs clashing. These murals show two parts- the fight to regain traditional ways in Iran and with their new found freedom without the involvement of America they remain, but also show how their relationship with America has changed and caused irreparable damage between the two countries and how it seems beyond any possible repair.

My research into Propaganda has opened my eyes to understand several methods of Propaganda and how they all contribute to the led deception of public opinion and speculation, using political, religious and cultural methods which usually leads to further methods of attack on these different outlets. Propaganda is everywhere and exposed and perhaps even worsened by the involvement and upheaval of media sources and opinionated journalists and writers, so it could be said that Media is a level of Propaganda.
Camera manufacturer PENTAX Corporation
Camera model PENTAX K10D
Exposure time 1/350 sec (0.0028571428571429)
F-number f/5.6
ISO speed rating 400
Date and time of data generation 12:35, 9 September 2008
Lens focal length 19 mm

Reflection:

My research journey has been lengthy for this particular area but also very interesting and thought provoking. I have again gone for an issue which I find to be against the norm of usual Propaganda looked at, thrown myself into the unknown and explored the event quite extensively to understand and interpret it in my own way. Looking at different countries and also cultures is extremely interesting to me as travel and broadening perceptions is a focal point of mine. From this I have understood how Propaganda is everywhere in the world and the research has enabled me to use different terms in the future to obtain the information needed.

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