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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Why Kobani? It's all about the Image, stupid

The role of image and its interplay with power is a major theme of postmodern thought. Image is Power.

Kobani is interesting only because for once in this peculiar war the world can see it. Kobani is located on the border between Syria and Turkey. So unlike Raqqa or Hit or these other places that have supposedly been bombed by the United States, Kobani can have big cameras on it (not only little phone camera which allow videos to be posted somewhere online for a few terror experts and enthusiasts to watch). There are networked cameras that can transmit the image broadly.

This puts the contending parties in an interesting, postmodern war. One side or the other may win this worthless border crossing. It will at that point be demolished and essentially useless to the victor. But the fight and the image of this fight can go on for some time. At a low cost to ISIS, the long-running image of fighting for that particular place can be spun usefully in many different ways.

How this war-event is interpreted over time will be what matters, not who has more jets. The battle for Kobany is entirely image, notwithstanding the carnage.