At first I was going to title this post "pictures from another world" or something like that. But it struck me that the pictures I was going to link to weren't from another world, really. What's more, they aren't from another time. They're this week's news.
I came across these when I clicked on a misfiled photo and found myself watching the slideshow labelled "Muslims Offended by Danish Cartoons" on Yahoo's news site.
There's a lot of ugly images in that slide show. Lots of pictures of burning flags of various nations, free speech protesters in London with the cartoons on their signs, protestors in Jakarta with banners saying Condoleezza Rice wasn't welcome, a dead Palestinian girl, victims of shootings by "suspected Islamic militants" in Thailand, funerals in Pakistan and India... Grenade wounds. Angry crowds. Blast sites. Tear gas. A picture from Guantanamo Bay.
But there are four that really struck me. They don't really have anything to do with the stories mentioned in their captions. They're just everyday scenes. And they're not from another world, and they're definitely not from another time.
A man reading
Kids being lectured
A woman in the city
And then from the Afghanistan slideshow:
A kid with a kite
A cup of tea
The beginning of spring
(Here's another stunning picture of that and one of
Of course, not all the pictures look like this. Some are ugly, like I said. And some just look like the kind of candid snapshots we all have in our albums. But some of them are magic, a kind of magic our culture doesn't know (though we have our own kinds, of course). Can you blame anyone for wanting to preserve this way of life, or for seeing us as a threat to it?