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18 posts categorized "Poster Wars"

Jun 15, 2009

The Post-Election Campaign

Mousavi posters.jpg
With the crisis in Iran playing out as much on the international media stage, Iran has entered what could be called the "post-election" campaign.   

In that regard, one mission of the reformers -- here, with a hat-tip to Warhol and Fairey, perhaps -- is to re-introduce Mousavi as the most iconic and contemporary figure possible.

Tehran green bow.jpg

In this instance, the green bow identified with Mr. Mousavi's candidacy is blown up to enormous size and passed around the huge crowd demonstrating in Tehran. The scale elevates the symbol, usually worn on the wrist, to something the entire country might try on.

(updated 10 pm EST)


(update 4pm EST - June 16) A screen grab from a Tehran street demonstration today (via BBC). Proposing a rightful place.

(image: Behrouz Mehri -AFP/Getty Images. caption: Iranian opposition demonstrators carry portraits of defeated reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, in Tehran on June 15, 2009. Opposition supporters defied a ban to stage a mass rally in Tehran in protest at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's landslide election win, as Iran faced a growing international backlash over the validity of the election and the subsequent crackdown on opposition protests. image 2: credit: The New York Times. from the slideshow: Opposition Defies Protest Ban in Tehran.)

Jun 08, 2009

Campaign Update: The Youth Of Iran

Ahmadinejad poster.jpg

If you're following the photo coverage of the tense and emotional Iranian election, the difference between "the Ahmadinejad-" and "Mousavi images" are fascinating for the separate minds.

The poster above is being held up by a supporter of the moderate Mirhossein Mousavi, Ahmadinejad's main competitor. (We know that because the wrist sports a green ribbon, a signature of the Mousavi campaign.) I'm not sure how much cultural meaning I'm missing due to the characters and the flags, but the main twist involves the text at the bottom which, according to the Reuters caption, reads: "Dear father and mother choose the best."

Continue reading "Campaign Update: The Youth Of Iran" »

Beyond Ahmadinejad

Mousavi poster.jpg

The tag line to end all tag lines?

(image: Damir Sagolj/Reuters. caption: Supporters of the former Prime Minister Mirhossein Mousavi who is a candidate for the upcoming presidential elections react and display his picture as he addresses them at the stadium in the city of Karaj, 50 km (31 miles) west of Tehran June 6, 2009)

May 06, 2007

"Together, Anything Is Possible!" (Add: No Eyes, No Mouth, Horns, Tail, Twirling Mustache)


I'm feeling sorry this morning I didn't do any coverage of the French presidential election, especially in light of The BAG's reading of election posters.

My reaction was only heightened after discovering this very interesting piece by Patricia Alessandrini at Dissident Voice ("Image, Anecdote, and Reality: Why Sarkozy Really Is to Be Feared") analyzing the candidate in terms of the multiplicitous ways in which his election posters have been embellished or impaired by people in the street.

The article begins: "I have yet to see a Sarkozy poster in Paris — or even just a sticker with his name on it — that has not been defaced within a few hours of being posted. "

As you might imagine, I was fascinated both by the methodological strategy and categorical differentiation Ms. Alessandrini brought to the populist guerrilla action.  The article calls out four different personality takes on Sarkozy based on four different types of graphic defacement, providing an anecdote and an analysis for each one.

You can read the article for yourself, but I can't help recalling a couple:

Continue reading ""Together, Anything Is Possible!" (Add: No Eyes, No Mouth, Horns, Tail, Twirling Mustache)" »

Jan 15, 2006

Palestinian Poster Wars: Face Time


Let me present you with a ridiculous hypothesis.

What if I were to say that the Hamas candidates (lower photo) had a better chance of winning in the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections because they are more individually identifiable and less identified with the past than the Fatah candidates above.

(In the Fatah shot, the candidates come off as relatively small, background figures in comparison to their icons, Yassir Arafat and Marwan Barghouti, to whom they remain dependent for stature and propping up.  In contrast, the Hamas figures front a banner of their own iconic leader -- the martyred Sheik Ahmed Yassin -- but make do without borrowing from his stature ... or being dragged down by his polarizing effects.)


Sounds thoroughly over-determined by two random images, right?

Continue reading "Palestinian Poster Wars: Face Time" »

Dec 11, 2005

Iraqi Poster Wars: Horse Of A Different Color



Is Ayad Allawi running a campaign with two faces?

In general, Ayad Allawi's campaign posters bear a decidedly Western-style design and a modern, professional look.  For that reason, there is a marked discrepancy between the graphics produced for Allawi himself, and for his slate.  Allawi is running as part of  the Iraqi National List, which is made up of secular Sunnis and Shi'ites, and includes the well known senior Sunni politician Adnan al-Pachachi (right, above) and Hameed Majeed (left above) representing the Communist party.


As compared to these slick Allawi posters that have blanketed the country, however, notice how much simpler and homegrown the lists' logo is.

Continue reading "Iraqi Poster Wars: Horse Of A Different Color" »

Dec 08, 2005

Iraq Poster Wars: A Peeling Candidate


It seems Ayad Allawi continues to take punishment on the broadsheet front.  A WAPO article, for instance, featured a shot of Mahdi Army members flagellating themselves during a walking trip to allegedly go stomp Allawi posters.

According to iraqrebel, rumor has it that "contractors" are being paid up to 25,000 dinars per day to "clean" particular Baghdad neighborhoods of campaign posters.  Allawi material is said to be a main target.  According to the al-Badeel newspaper (via iraqvote), Interior Ministry employees were tearing down Allawi posters and replacing them with UIA material in three Baghdad locations, Palestine Street, al-Qanat and Sadr city.  The NYT reports that a rocket propelled grenade was fired into Allawi's Najaf headquarters on Tuesday evening (although no perpetrators were named).

There are any number of images circulating right now showing torn, marked or otherwise defaced Allawi posters.  This one is especially visceral.  It's just a kid pick-pick-picking away at Allawi's face.  Still, I wouldn't buy the impression that Allawi is suffering just because his face has become such a target.  If anything, it suggests that the other slates believe he is a credible threat.

I have a couple follow ups to recent Poster War posts.....

Continue reading "Iraq Poster Wars: A Peeling Candidate" »

Dec 06, 2005

Iraqi Poster Wars: Something Of A Windsock

Chalabi-Little-1   Chalabi-Little-2

Once a player, always a player.

I thought it was telling that this Chalabi campaign poster could be paired with a street vendor one minute, and then with Iraqi troops the next.  It just shows how fast, and arbitrarily, this artful dodger -- who just came untangled from from the United Iraqi Alliance -- can realign himself.

More than anything, I like this description of the Jordanian fugitive from my friend Salam Adil:

Chalabi is especially seen as something of a windsock. If you want to know who is winning in Iraq just look to the place the wind has blown Chalabi. His friendliness with Iran is telling. It is possible Chalabi jumped before he was pushed out by the UIA. They have made their own contacts now and do not need him any more.

Having most recently served in the ruling cabinet as deputy prime minister, it seems Chalabi has shape shifted once again.  He told al-Jazeera that he left the Shi'ite slate, backed by Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani, because they were overly Islamist.  After the slate hooked up with Muqtada al-Sadr with the offer of 30 seats, however, it seems more likely Chalabi couldn't accept that he was offered only three.

By the way, the slogan of Chalabi's cobbled-together National Congress Party list is pretty classic too:  "We liberated Iraq and we will build it together."  Love that "we."

(image 1&  2: Hadi Mizban/A.P.  December 1, 2005. Baghdad, Iraq.  Via YahooNews)

Series: Iraqi Parliamentary Elections.  December 15, 2005

Iraqi Poster Wars: No Longer Just A Metaphor


I had been keeping track of reports of Iraqi election workers killed while hanging campaign posters.

The first mention I heard of these murders was in an LA Times article a week ago Sunday.  (I may have linked to it previously.)  The write up gave no location, but reported that four poster hangers had been shot, and one killed, in a drive by shooting on November 26th.

I since read that at least two workers hanging posters for Allawi's Iraqi National Coalition had been slain, one in Basra and the other in Amara.

The image above is dated November 29th, but it apparently showed up on the newswire last night or today.  According to the Reuters caption, gunmen attacked a car in Mosul on November 29th killing two members of the Assyrian Movement (Election Slate 740) as they were hanging election posters.

This is about The BAG's fourth cycle covering elections through the lens of campaign posters.  When I first came up with the term "Poster War," I never imagined it would acquire a literal meaning.

(image: Namir Noor-Eldeen/Reuters.  November 29, 2005.  Mosul, Iraq. Via YahooNews)
Series: Iraqi Parliamentary Elections.  December 15, 2005

Dec 05, 2005

Iraqi Poster Wars: U.S. Behind The Allawi Banner?

Last Thursday: Hot Off The Press

In a piece published in July entitled "Did Washington try to manipulate Iraq’s election?" (link), Seymour Hersch examines the role the U.S. played in Iraq's first parliamentary election last January.  His article follows two threads.  One involves overt and covert U.S. support for the campaign of Ayad Allawi, who was interim Prime Minster at the time.  The other deals with alleged "improprieties" in the conduct of the election itself.

Over the past year, the examination of elections through the lens of campaign posters has been a regular feature of this site.  In the last parlimentary go-round, The BAG thought there was something suspicious "on it's face" about the Allawi's campaign (link).  In quality, his posters seemed highly sophisticated, with a style that looked decidedly Western.  At least from newswire photos, it seemed he also had an impressive number and variety of posters (not to mention, expertly constructed banners and billboards) which seemed to blanket Baghdad and other locales.

To solve the mystery of the Allawi visuals, one might look to U.S. funded organizations mandated to foster a U.S.-style political process in Iraq.  The most overt is the National Democratic Institute, currently headed by Madeline Albright.  According to a recent profile in WAPO, the organization not only provides all facets of campaign operation training, they also have "graphic artists standing by" along with a standing offer to all parties to supply 70,000 posters.  (Lest you think this is a large number, however, the SCIRI party turned down the benefit, saying they only print in batches of 100,000.)


If this visual help is provided to all comers, however, it doesn't explain the exceeding sophistication of the Allawi enterprise.  Sy Hersh offers some ideas, however.  Allegedly,  the C.I.A. funneled considerable cash and assistance to Allawi in the previous election.  Although not expecting him to win, the idea was for him to siphon off enough support from religious Shi'ite parties (known for warm ties to Iran) to help offset their power.  With this goal in mind, Hersh reports how a woman named Margaret McDonagh, a Tony Blair operative, assumed a primary last-minute role in the Allawi campaign, particularly engineering a big-budget advertising blitz.

If Hersh's story is accurate, it's hard not to think the Bush Administration wouldn't again be lending Allawi similar assistance.  In fact, it would make even more sense given the higher stakes and the fact the main Shi'ite coalition has lately encountered setbacks.

(image 1:  Mohammed Hato/A.P. December 1, 2005. Baghdad. YahooNews.  image 2: Susan Biddle/Washington Post. September 28, 2004. Washington.

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