TheTexas Observer and the University of Texas Press invite you to join us for the release of ‘VIETNAM 7011,1PIIMON, a collection of the photography of N ‘o ut. t Thursday, September 27, 6-9 pm The Old School 1604 E iith Street Austin Alan Pogue is one of the nation’s most respected documentary photographers and his book offers a comprehensive visual survey of his work. It opens with images of social protest of the 1960s and early 1970s, then covers farm workers and prison conditions, and ends with the ordinary people who are most affected by war and social and political injustice in the Middle East and Latin America. Come to The Old School and help us celebrate! We’ll have music, food, and a show of Alan’s work. Featuring premier Austin saxophonist ALEX COKE accompanied by Russ Scanlon Food and drink will be provided b y Texas French Bread, Wheatsville Food Coop, and Black Star Beer Coop Baghdad other than the Americans called Iraq the Red Zone, and Americans spoke the word with fear, as if to enter it was to risk being set upon by the locals and eaten over a bed of shredded lettuce, like so much kebab. Of course, most Iraqis thought the same thing about people in the Green Zone.” Describing a typical mosque scene upon their arrival, LeMoine writes, “A bullhorn sounded; a voice boomed. I popped three 10-milligram Valiums and washed them down with U.S. Army-supplied water. … About then I remembered I was a hungover Jew who was now on drugs at a mosque in a place where the only law was Islam. … The boxes were ripped open. A line formed. A Drew Bledsoe New England Patriots jersey was handed to a boy. Then a pair of shoes to a little girl, a pair of tiny jeans to another, and so on. … The crowd grew excited; borderline pandemonium broke out.” Making contacts with sheikhs for aid distribution through an Iraqi their age named Hayder, LeMoine and Neumann watched as the younger generation sought to gain hold of their country. “The sudden fall of Saddam had created a vacuum that infected the younger majority of Sadr City with a newfound feeling of relevance and vibrancy,” LeMoine writes. “According to Hayder, it had awakened a religious nationalism in Iraq’s youth. ‘They really love Iraq, almost as much as they do the mosque. Sadr City’s future belongs to the mosque. Al-Hawza [a pro-Sadr newspaper] and Muqtada al-Sadr want to solve the problems Saddam and the Americans couldn’t:” With al-Sadr’s voice gaining political strength, more and more young Iraqis began calling for American withdrawal. Iraqis he met felt the coalition’s “is like living with your parents, except you don’t know them, they don’t like you, they speak a different language than you do, and they enforce their ‘belief systems’ with big guns. It’s humiliating,” LeMoine writes. The most glaring fault in Babylon by Bus is also its greatest assetthe immaturity of its authors. At times, reading the book is like watching Werner Herzog’s documentary Grizzly Man, whose doomed protagonist is eaten after getting close to one bear too many. LeMoine and Neumann are so brazenly reckless traveling Baghdad backstreets at night that the thrill of imminent danger translates to the reader. While they use the constant anxieties of living in Baghdad as an excuse for their drug consumption, these guys would probably be piled up stateside as well. Insights into governmental 26 THE TEXAS OBSERVER SEPTEMBER 21, 2007
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