Peace and War in the 20th Century
is an ambitious, in progress, massive assemblage of posters, photographs, propaganda, ephemera, letters, diaries, paintings, sketches, stories, letters, music and related items, from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The collection is international in scope. Some of the nodes lack content, and the navigation is a little confusing, so the jump I list some of my favourite case studies from their site. [more inside]
This propaganda leaflet
is apparently being dropped in afghanistan by the American Military (taken from this msnbc story about the first american soldier to die from hostile fire
). Regardless of your opinion about propaganda, this seems rather sloppy. If the purpose of propaganda is to convince people of something, wouldn't you want to say it in a language they understand? Is the American military getting lazy / sloppy / over-confident? It looks like the propaganda leaflets from Desert storm
(1991), Desert Fox
(1998), and the bombing of Kosovo
were at least in the local languages. (Who knew there was a quarterly magazine
dedicated to aerial leaflet propaganda?)
"It's not propaganda, it's the truth"
Rumsfeld declared. OK, but leaflets with radio broadcasts
, and Information Programs
, is this the best we can do? How about some Daffy Goes to War
, even some inspirational Soviet
communist posters, as we do battle on the psyops
dropped over Afghanistan are online now for your viewing pleasure. There are two designs
, and they come in both English and Arabic
. But my question is, can anyone actually read the things?
According to the CIA World Factbook the languages spoken in Afghanistan are "Pashtu 35%, Afghan Persian (Dari) 50%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism" And the country has a literacy rate of less than a third. I mean, the soldier shaking hands is somewhat obvious, but the radio tower?