Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bahrain Formula 1 Foto Round-Up

Certainly visitors here require no further discussion of the controversy surrounding the upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix on April 22. Given the length and breadth of the continuing discussion, I imagine most of what can be said has been said. (It was perhaps best said in this op-ed.) And, if some element still has been left out at this point, there's a good chance it's covered in Amnesty International's new 58-page report (summary here) on Bahrain's (non-)implementation of post-BICI "reforms," whose authors note,
"With the world's eyes on Bahrain as it prepares to host the Grand Prix, no-one should be under any illusions that the country's human rights crisis is over."
In lieu of rehashing the same points, then, I offer instead the following round-up of all of the Formula 1 images I have accumulated (including some from last year)--from pro-government and opposition forums, Twitter, etc.--along with grades. Because you gotta have grades.

Ok, here we have an oldie but a goodie. A concise message; incorporation of Saudi, American, and British flag elements; and King Hamad driving a Kalashnikov--all in all, that's pretty good.


Another throwback. Here, though, we'll have to deduct points for Bernie's driving a Mercedes rather than some sort of Kalashnikov-F1 transformer. Also the blood is a little Mortal Kombatish.


Woah! Way too much blood here--is that a protester or someone preforming tatbir?--and the message is too long and literal. It's like that PowerPoint presentation consisting of full paragraphs copied onto slides. You know what I'm talking about. Also the Photoshooping could use a bit of work.


Ok, not a cartoon per se but deserving of inclusion here. Bonus points for the more subtle use of blood, the use of the Kalashnikov as the "F" in F1, and the use of the Bahraini flag in the F1 symbol. Also the degree of difficulty is high as it was all done in spray paint on a cement wall (in Barbar, I take it)--and, in all likelihood, while under the influence of tear gas. Too bad some government people probably snuck in that night to paint back over it.


Now this is a masterpiece. Degree of difficulty is also high here as it cuts to the heart of the matter without the use of a slogan or blood. The bad Photoshopping is (I hope) purposely ironic, and the grayscale palette gives it a nostalgic feel, harking back to the days when Khalifa bin Salman was personally running over protesters in his Ford Model A.


Also fine, but after the previous cartoon it's hard to rate it too highly.


Alright, this is another one that's not a cartoon per se, but an announcement for an anti-Formula 1 protest scheduled for tomorrow ("details forthcoming," it says). Still, the use of the opposition figure photos to form the body of the F1 car, and the February 14 coalition logo as the wheel--that's pretty good work. On the other hand, the alteration of the name "Formula One" to "Formula Blood" doesn't work so well in English. Let's see if al-Wifaq can respond to this direct challenge to its electronic protest flier authoritay.


Still another by Carlos Latuff. It covers all the bases, for sure, but again is rather literal.


Here the cartoonist for The Independent is having a go at it. The car is too schizophrenic for me: is it an F1-tank or an F1-Titanic? But then King Hamad also seems to be wearing a Darth Vader mask. What's up with that? Confused all the way around.


We close with the sole pro-government Formula 1 image I've come across. It gets an extra point for the use of untraditional materials, and a lot of points for the 'Isa Qasim "crush him!" reference. It's pretty grainy, though, and the horrible Photoshopping appears not to be ironic bad but plain old "I don't know what I'm doing" bad. Overall, I would have expected better from the pro-governments.


Update: I debated whether to include this photo, which is only tangentially related to the Formula 1 and so doesn't exactly fit the theme. However, the sheer degree of difficulty involved in climbing atop the Bahraini Embassy in London--requiring indeed a Houzman-like ability to scale walls--deserves recognition here. (We'll set aside the claim of the Bahraini Foreign Ministry that these "terrorists" actually climbed from an adjacent building.)


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