I/Eye: On Photography

Juxtaposition, no. 8: “The Only Important Place” / War Bling

Posted in Juxtaposition by Sheila Newbery on July 12, 2011
War Bling (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011) © Sheila Newbery

War Bling (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011) © Sheila Newbery

War is its own kind of opium, and I had a small taste of that drug a few months after our attacks in New York, when I left the despondency of Manhattan for Jerusalem. It was February. Two bombers had struck Ben Yehuda Street’s cafes in December, and in January, a gunman disguised as a soldier had machine-gunned a crowd, and the first female suicide-bomber of the Palestinian revolt had struck outside the Freiman and Bein shoe store on Jaffa Street. Although your odds of being hit were slight, everyone expected another bomb as soon as he stepped out of a taxi or looked up from his coffee. Among the men and women of thirty countries huddled in the caliginous, cryptlike bar of the American Colony Hotel, despair and elation were mixed like a drink that was bitter and sweet at the same time, and I experienced that hybrid of excitement myself, feeling that closer to violence was, after New York, the only important place to be. It is easy to become addicted to the atmosphere of war.” —Leo Rubinfien, Wounded Cities (Steidl, 2008).

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