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Friday, July 22, 2005

Photo Friday (Vol. XX*XV) [sacred & profane edition]

Just two pictures to share with you today... and one of them isn't even mine. 

Howzabout we start with the profane?  We can all use a giggle, right?

Near my office in Beer Sheva there is a billboard that has been cracking me up for the past couple of weeks.  It is an ad for DHL's courier service to Asia. 

The rough translation of the text is, "For your inner peace/peace of mind in the Far East.  DHL" ('hasheket hanafshi shelchah' literally means the the quietness of your soul... but the the true meaning is somewhere between my rough translation and the literal one):
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Those wacky Israeli marketing people... what will they think of next?  The Dali Lama hawking investment advice?!

Seriously... you're selling shipping services and you want to make potential customers think of swiftness... timeliness... punctuality.  So you choose as your ad's centerpiece a Tibetan monk - an image that most people associate with slow, deliberate movement and sitting perfectly still for unusually long periods of time! 

Also, how funny is it that a Buddhist monk - someone that is typically associate with simplicity and poverty - has clearly sold advertising space on his robes?  Seriously, this is a slippery slope that could end with a monk's trademark maroon robes festooned beyond recognition with corporate logos and symbols like a NASCAR driver or professional cyclist!

Another thing that tickled my funny bone isn't really visible in the way the picture came out. 

The 'monk'  was clearly some Asian guy they grabbed out of central casting, because he has a really clear 'farmer tan'... odd for someone who is supposed to have spent his every waking moment wearing an off-the-shoulder ensemble!  In person, the billboard clearly shows that his arms and neck are deeply tanned while his torso and shoulder are lily-white. 

I'm thinking that if this guy was really a monk he'd have the 'toga tan' to prove it!

Anyway... now that I've gotten that out of my system... here is the picture I'd like you to keep in your head whenever the media tries to tell you about the irreconcilable rift between the people who oppose disengagement and those who are tasked with carrying it out:
Minyan

What you see here is a minyan of Jewish men fulfilling their shared obligation for communal prayer.  Though a fence (and orders) divides them... they have other things that unite them. These are the same people that photojournalists showed the world shouting at each other over following orders and following conscience. 

You won't be likely to see this image in the mainstream media.

I have searched everywhere for some attribution for this picture, but can only find two references to the fact that it was taken at Kfar Maimon, 16 miles east of the Gaza border, where anti-disengagement demonstrators and security forces clashed yesterday.

This picture isn't meant to imply that the very worst hasn't been brought out in people on both sides of this painful issue. Rather, it is meant to remind you that the worst often gets reported... while the best (and the mundane) almost never does.

The press would have the Israeli public (and the world) believe that disengagement is a struggle to the death between the secular left and religious right.  That is a horrible and deliberate misrepresentation of the issues, and nothing could be further from the truth.  Yes, it would be much easier to mobilize sympathy and generate loyalty if the lines were so clearly drawn.  But like everything else in Israeli society... this is messy and not nearly so simple to define.

There are plenty of secular Israelis who strongly oppose disengagement, and there are plenty of religious Israelis who support it.  The thing that has tempted many people to deliberately try to make this a religious/secular issue is the fact that almost all of the Jews living in Gaza - the people most directly impacted by the disengagement -  are religious. 

It would seem that for those who see red at the sight of a kippah and beard (or long skirt and tichel), the temptation to simply ignore the sympathies of the rest of the Israeli public proved a bit too strong.  This struggle isn't 'The settlers of Gush Katif vs The nation of Israel'.  It is a national struggling with itself over a very painful internal issue.

Like most people in Israel I hope and pray that whatever comes to pass, does so without violence. 

The anti-disengagement demonstrators and settlers need to remember that the police and soldiers are their brothers, sisters, fathers, cousins and countrymen.  The police and soldiers need to remember that they are the protectors of our democracy... and that the demonstrators and settlers are entitled, in a liberal democracy, to use civil disobedience to express their will. 

The picture of the soldiers and demonstrators praying together gives me hope that when the ugly struggle comes to pass... through their tears and their rage, everyone will remember that they are facing Jews, Israelis, and brothers across the barricades.

Shabbat Shalom!
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Posted by David Bogner on July 22, 2005 | Permalink

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Hi David,

I am sure you will get many comments on the second picture, so I will add my $.02 on the first. I think the marketing is great because it represents what is missing from typical Israeli life. Relaxation. Not being nervous because the world is coming to an end. Not turning the radio up when you hear the ominous beeps preceding the news. For me the picture represents the mood of Friday night, after the main course has been served, but before dessert, when there is not a care in the world, just putting my feet up and resting my eyes, simply enjoying the moment.

I posted some new Elish pics
shababt shalom

Posted by: Daniel & Chavi | Jul 22, 2005 12:37:01 AM

David,

An early photo Friday. You threw me for a loop for a moment, normally I don't start looking for these until around Midnight here or about 6 AM PST. Now what I am going to do. ;)

Love the picture of the monk and like you find the daveners to be very intriguing. I think that the thing I like about it the most is the unity it shows me in a time of discord.

Things are not perfect, but we are all still Jews.

Posted by: Jack | Jul 22, 2005 12:38:41 AM

Great 2nd pic. Hopefully, with a little unity like this we can survive regardless of which side wins the day. I presume there is some unity left amongst the non-praying secular as well? Perhaps sharing a pot of hot water at a coffee shop? I don't know, but I hope we all still feel we can be together, even if we are arguing.

Great catch on the first photo too.

Posted by: AbbaGav | Jul 22, 2005 12:50:27 AM

the fact that the demonstration closed peacefully, considering the numbers, is not really dicussed in the news. maybe the people themselves will make a mark with each other.

Posted by: dave | Jul 22, 2005 1:27:19 AM

David,
Like Jack said, I'm still enjoying Thursday evening. But okay, who am I to argue with it being already (Photo)Friday by you?
Enjoyed the post. Have a good Shabbos together with the mishpacha.
Kol Tuv.

Posted by: Pearl | Jul 22, 2005 1:49:07 AM

It wasn't the same photo, but either Maariv or Yediot on Wednesday had a front page picture (and caption relating to it) of soldiers and protesters praying together.

Posted by: Dave | Jul 22, 2005 2:07:00 AM

I was there. The "clashes" were very few and far between. Mostly there was singing to the security forces that we are not against them, and Sharon is screwing them over. It sounds better in Hebrew. The security forces were told not to talk to us, for fear we'd talk them out of holding us back. It did not take long to wear them down and and have them joking with us. We each have our job, I'm glad I don't have theirs.

Posted by: 2R | Jul 22, 2005 2:56:50 AM

I'll leave the second one alone.

The first would have been better with that National Geographic photo of the monk running with the gigantic pot of yak butter tea. ;o)

Posted by: Tanya | Jul 22, 2005 3:20:50 AM

Oseh shalom bimromav
Hu ya'aseh shalom aleinu ve alcol Yisrael
Ve'imru...

May He Who brings peace to the Heavens
bring peace to us, and all of Israel,
and let us say...

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jul 22, 2005 5:25:27 AM

okay, the combination of the 2nd picture and Doctor Bean's comments gave me the chills.
Hu ya'aseh shalom...Wow.

Shabbat Shalom

Posted by: ac | Jul 22, 2005 6:36:10 AM

excellent post, David.
the combination of pictures covers a lot. also helps me to empathize with the protesters when all too often I'm antagonized because of the necessity of driving so far out of our way to avoid the roadblocks.
shabbat shalom.

Posted by: timna | Jul 22, 2005 7:12:45 AM

Daniel & Chavi... First of all, I LOVED the new pics on your site. What a cutie! As to your assessment of the ad, to each his own. :-)

Jack... I'm trying not to be too predictable. Besides, I've been posing Photo Friday pretty late in the past few weeks... I figured I owed you. :-) I would change your last line just a bit: "Things are not perfect, because we are all Jews".

AbbaGav... I'm sure you are right. However, the divisiveness makes better copy.

Dave... According to some friends who were there, there were some scuffles and tempers flared frequently. But I'd like to think that most of the people on both sides followed their consciences and orders in a peaceful and respectful way.

Pearl... No need to thank me... I'm a giver! :-) Shabbat Shalom to you and yours as well.

Dave... Thanks. My first instinct was to search the Hebrew dailies' web sites for the pic, but I didn't find it. Thanks for the tip.

2R... That is exactly what I was hoping to hear. Each side does indeed have a job to do... and those roles do not require that anyone get physically hurt. However, nearly everyone will be emotionally scarred from the experience, no matter what the outcome. No getting around that.

Tanya... I was thinking the same thing when I was putting the post together! :-)

Doctor Bean... Amen. Perfect.

ac... I agree. Shabbat Shalom.

timna... Glad to be of help. BTW, it was wonderful seeing you yesterday! Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: David | Jul 22, 2005 8:06:12 AM

Very poignant second picture. But you make a significant error. Being part of a liberal democracy does not entitle you to engage in civil disobedience. In fact, it wouldn't be terribly disobedient if it did. Civil disobedience works well in liberal democracies precisely because the cause for which one breaks the law in a non violent way gives moral gravity to the acts of the protesters. The fact that someone is willing to risk going to jail for something important forces the powers that be to sit up and take notice. The very fact of the lawbreaking is what gives the protesters their power. Civil disobedience is not limited to democracies, although it has a better chance of succeeding in that second worst form of government. Tianamen Square, the Orange Revolution, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Indian Independence, etc. were all causes served by courageous acts of civil disobedience against repressive regimes. But Martin Luther King was just as much a breaker of the law as any of the heroes in those other efforts.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Jul 22, 2005 9:56:35 AM

"...odd for someone who is supposed to have spent his every waking moment wearing an off-the-shoulder ensemble!"

I'm sorry, but I digress. It depends on the monk's wear and the congregation, according to what I have learned, and it changes with seasons. There are pictures of the Dalai Lama himself with said tan. It's a bit like the stupid clichee about Jews going in a Shtreimel and white silk stockings, a mismatched whig and long dresses respectively.

I think those marketing people [it's DHL, not the Israeli postal services] know what they do. If the tan was too odd, don't you think they would have had it photo-shopped? Would they have picked this one at all? After all, chances are that the DHL logo and the corporate DHL-red is the product of a good graphic designer. It's not that they could afford only cheap picks; they are advertising for a reknown brand.

Their slogan actually appeals to me. "Let us do the worrying, you relax." But a slogan is a subjective thing.

But hey, you can never be sure ;)

Oh, and if you're interested, I'll gladly tell you the Getty Images photo ID of the material used :P

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jul 22, 2005 11:52:59 AM

Jordan... Yes, you are correct in that civil disobedience is not 'legal' per se. However, the hallmark of a free society is that when all legal means have been exhausted, one may still engage in civil disobedience without fear of physical harm or exile to some gulag. Of course there is a price to pay for extending protest beyond the letter of the law. But as you so aptly pointed out, breakig the law does not invalidate teh justness of the protest... and the reward is often well worth the price paid.

mademoiselle a. ... Your points are all quite reasonable and correct (as usual), but the part about things being subjective is perhaps the most important. The ad tickled my funny bone rather than make me want to use DHL, and I don't go around looking to poke fun at advertising. :-) And yes, I would love to know the source.

Posted by: David | Jul 22, 2005 11:59:59 AM

I pray that they'll be no bloodshed in Gush Katif.

Posted by: kakarizz | Jul 22, 2005 12:16:00 PM

As they say...a picture is worth 1000 words. I've been seeing the 2nd one all over the blogosphere in the past few days. Thanks for your commentary to go along with it and what Dr Bean said was perfect, as well.
Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: Essie | Jul 22, 2005 4:39:36 PM

u can see the farmer tan once u pointed it out

Posted by: Ed | Jul 22, 2005 4:55:26 PM

Just to amplify your point, it is the breaking of the law itself that on some level gives moral credence to the cause being advocated. Or put it another way. Imagine if Arafat had engaged in civil disobedience instead of terrorism. Civil disobedience is the opposite of terrorism. In terrorism, the actor puts the burden of protest on society. In civil disobedience, the actor puts the burden on himself. That is the true meaning of calling terrorists cowards. Not because of their physical cowardice, but their moral choice.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Jul 22, 2005 5:45:44 PM

Oh well :) GettyImages files it under ec7200-001. And this is a photo taken by the brilliant Norma Zuniga. You'll probably note three to four things when you have a closer look at the lighting effects and at the robe.

And once I have a tighter grip on English vocabulary, I shall know how to keep apart "dissent" and "digress". Hmph.

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jul 22, 2005 6:55:24 PM

I put up a minyan picture that shows bears and tigers (or one tiger anyway) can pray together in peace.

Posted by: Mirty | Jul 22, 2005 11:00:17 PM

Kakarizz... You and me both!

Essie... Yes, I just noticed it over at Mirty's Place. She mentioned that she got it from Lamed, and from there it seems someone saw it at the Jewish Week. But so far I have not found any solid attribution. As I've said before, I hate posting things without the owner's permission... but I just can't seem to find out who took this picture.

Ed...Thanks... I'm glad it's not just me! :-)

Jordan... If Arafat had engaged in civil disobedience instead of terrorism, there would be a Palestinian State today, very likely celebrating it's 15thth or even 20th Independence day.

mademoiselle a. ... The most obvious thing I noticed is that in the original photo the robes are ORANGE and not the DHL Red! Besides wanting to match their own color... they obviously wanted to avoid any political tie-ins. :-)

Mirty... After Shabbat ended I noticed that you'd beat me to the punch with the minyan photo. I have since seen it on a couple of other sites as well. It really is a telling image that reveals far more than the media would like. I liked your stuffed animal minyan photo too. :-)

Posted by: David | Jul 23, 2005 11:58:40 PM

I don't think they immediately thought about political tie-ins; besides the logo, they had to find a way to create a more visual mark, a "carrier". But hey, you're married to a wonderful graphic designer, ask her about advertising psychology ;)

In any way - I have one more design example and "howdtheydoit" to add to my collection, thank you! :)

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jul 24, 2005 1:33:06 AM

mademoiselle a. ... No, thank you. Now I have two people that I can count on to point out how little I know about the world of graphic design. :-)

Posted by: David | Jul 24, 2005 2:58:23 PM

I couldn't help to mention that I was both chilled and warmed by this photo. It must be difficult that Jews are forced to oust Jews.

By the way, I hope you don't mind me asking you this, but would you be willing to put a link to my site on yours? My http://frumpter.blogspot.com site is seriously lacking in Jewish readership and I could use the increased traffic (and more importantly, the feedback) on topics that I am writing about on the blog, and I don't know how to attract more Jewish readers. I'd appreciate any suggestions you have, and I've enjoyed reading your site since I came onto the blog world in March. Thanks. -Zoe

Posted by: Zoe Strickman | Jul 24, 2005 7:13:02 PM

I know who took that photo. I was there when it when it was taken.
BTW the protesters only fought with the police at Kfar Maimon. The police provoked the altercation

Posted by: jsl | Jan 2, 2009 3:42:55 AM

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