Image ethics
in Terror
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Although bomb attacks and hostage-takings differ in their imagery, they share one common aspect: media reports on acts of terror always include pictures of the perpetrators and normally end when they have been caught and sentenced. The sequence ranges from mug shots of various provenances to surveillance camera footage, from depictions of execution in the nineteenth century to photographs of capture in the twentieth. The chapter discusses the significance of these images for projections of the enemy. Case studies include the most extensive man hunt campaign to this day, the search for members of the German RAF in the 1970s, the ambivalence of imagery of women and of radical-Islamic perpetrators. The chapter also looks at propaganda images issued by militant groups themselves and their attempt for self-promotion in courtrooms. It concludes with a reflection on the general ambivalence of these images. As the case studies from the nineteenth century to today show, nothing and nobody can guarantee that an image which for one side clearly represents an enemy will not become the means for hero worship on the other, and vice versa.


When images become weapons


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