Friday, May 14, 2010
Anti-American Art: Old Grudges Are Hard To Forget
Two colorful triptychs of stamps from the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, aka Libya, marking the burning of the US frigate "Philadelphia" off the Libyan capital of Tripoli in 1804. The Philadelphia had been sent to North Africa to fight the Barbary coast pirates; it was captured by the forces of Tripoli's Pasha. US Marines under Stephen Decatur boarded the Philadelphia and burned it during a battle with the Pasha's forces to prevent the frigate from being used by the Libyans. The narrative of these stamps seems to suggest that the ship was burned by the Libyans themselves.
The second panel of stamps compares the Philadelphia's attack on Libya and its destruction to the 1986 attack by American F111 aircraft ordered against Libya by Ronald Reagan as a reprisal for alleged Libyan involvement in a terrorist attack in Germany. One of the US planes was shot down; and the targeting of Libyan leader Gaddafi barely missed, killing instead one of his children and wounding two more. The attack was roundly condemned internationally. Several dozen Libyan civilians and military personnel were killed.
Click on the image to see it in all its cartoonish propaganda glory: the top image showing the US marine brutally stabbing a Libyan in the chest; the bottom of course featuring the requisite bloodied children.