Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun
Author: Wafaa Bilal
Wafaa Bilal's childhood in Iraq was defined by the horrific rule of Saddam Hussein, two wars, a bloody uprising, and time spent interned in chaotic refugee camps in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Bilal eventually made it to the United States to become a professor and a successful artist, but when his brother was killed at a checkpoint in Iraq in 2005, he decided to use his art to confront those in the comfort zone with the realities of life in a conflict zone.
Thus the creation and staging of "Domestic Tension," an unsettling interactive performance piece: for one month, Bilal lived alone in a prison cell-sized room in the line of fire of a remote-controlled paintball gun and a camera that connected him to Internet viewers around the world. Visitors to the gallery and a virtual audience that grew by the thousands could shoot at him twenty-four hours a day. The project received overwhelming worldwide attention, garnering the praise of the Chicago Tribune, which called it "one of the sharpest works of political art to be seen in a long time," and Newsweek's assessment "breath taking." It spawned provocative online debates, and ultimately, Bilal was awarded the Chicago Tribune's Artist of the Year Award.
Structured in two parallel narratives, the story of Bilal's life journey and his "Domestic Tension" experience, this first-person account is supplemented with comments on the history and current political situation in Iraq and the context of "Domestic Tension" within the art world, including interviews with art scholars such as Dean of the School of Art at Columbia University, Carol Becker,who also contributes the introduction. Shoot an Iraqi is equally pertinent reading for those who seek insight into the current conflict in Iraq and for those fascinated by interactive art technologies and the ever-expanding world of online gaming.
Wafaa Bilal, a professor of art and technology at the Art Institute of Chicago, has exhibited his art worldwide and lectured extensively. He has been interviewed on NPR, the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and the History Channel.
Weaving together accounts of Iraq and America, art and violence, performance and reality, past and present, this gripping account all but shakes the reader by the lapels. Iraqi-born artist Bilal records the month he spent confined in his 2007 interactive performance piece entitled Domestic Tension, living under constant fire from a chat room-controlled paintball gun 24 hours a day, his every move dogged and determined by the hostility-or benevolence-of his thousands of online viewers. The nerve-rattling conditions were intended to reflect both decades of suffering endured by millions of Iraqis and Bilal's own life and the costs of surviving Saddam's regime, Gulf War bombardment, Sunni-Shia violence, a brutal Saudi refugee camp and, finally, the difficulties and joys of the American immigrant experience. The author emerges as an Iraqi everyman, and his provocative book brilliantly juxtaposes images and time frames to convey the toll of war on Americans and Iraqis: "We may think we are surviving," Bilal writes, "but as I... twist and turn through sleepless nights, flailing between worlds of comfort and conflict, hope and despair, I wonder." (Dec.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Ultimately the death of his brother back home via an unmanned American drone compelled Bilal to make his greatest artistic statement yet against all that makes the war in Iraq unreal to most outsiders.. . . a powerful and demanding read, that is, frankly, a literary punch to the gut.
John Freeman - Newark Star Ledger
Shoot an Iraqi' tells of Iraq's dissolution from a beacon of education in the Middle East to a locust-eaten state, mugged by a dictator and then punished from abroad for his offenses. Neither Bilal's exhibit nor this absorbing book about it can expiate Iraq's condition. Rather, they brilliantly demonstrate the lengths to which one man went to live history, and the disturbing-and occasionally hopeful-things he learned when he invited the entire world to do it with him.
Shoot an Iraqi' is an invaluable work of political art and a clear-eyed view of the profoundly disturbing fate of present-day Iraq.
The Brooklyn Rail
What is most remarkable about Shoot an Iraqi isn't, however, the chronicle of the project that brought him worldwide attention, but the back story. Weaved amid a narrative of the 31-day experiment is a memoir of his life in Iraq and eventual flight to Kuwait and then Saudi Arabia, followed by his attempt to make a new life in the United States."
Bea Leal - The Socialist Review
[A] highly readable, moving book.
What People Are Saying
Once I picked up this manuscript, I could not put it down. There is something so urgent and compelling about Bilal's story, as though he is speaking to our time. His story is not just for those interested in the arts; it is a human story of the horror, frustration, and tragedies of war. (Mary Flanagan, artist and author of re:skin (MIT Press))
This is an unsettling and gripping book. It poignantly recounts a dark and imaginative experiment inspired by an excruciating and ghastly reality. Its unsettling effects couldn't be more welcome: we desperately need to be shocked out of our collective zombification, and this book does that by leading us through a wild labyrinth at once aesthetic, political, and existential. Potent stuff. (Danny Postel, author of Reading "Legitimation Crisis" in Tehran)
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Truth about Avoiding Scams (Truth About Series)
Author: Steve Weisman
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Table of Contents:Introduction ix
Part I The Truth About Identity Theft 1
Truth 1 Identity theft 1
Truth 2 Go phish 5
Truth 3 Vishing down on the pharm 9
Truth 4 Do Not Call Registry, Patriot Act scams 13
Truth 5 Protect yourself from identity theft 15
Part II The Truth About Computer Scams 19
Truth 6 Trojan horse 19
Truth 7 PayPal, eBay 21
Truth 8 Second chances–eBay 23
Truth 9 Free adult entertainment 25
Truth 10 Two more for the road 27
Part III The Truth About Classic Scams 29
Truth 11 Ponzi scheme 29
Truth 12 Chain letters 33
Truth 13 A couple of the basics 37
Truth 14 Nigerian scam 41
Truth 15 Who knew? A flurry of old champs 45
Truth 16 More reasons to be wary 49
Truth 17 And you thought you’d heard it all 53
Truth 18 Money lost, borrowed, or gambled 57
Truth 19 Lottery and contest scams 61
Part IV The Truth About Getting Personal 65
Truth 20 Exercise scams 65
Truth 21 Weight loss scams 67
Truth 22 The CIA medical scam 71
Truth 23 Education scams 73
Truth 24 Romance scams 77
Truth 25 Rental care insurance 81
Truth 26 Personal information privacy 83
Part V The Truth About Telephone Scams 87
Truth 27 Cramming 87
Truth 28 900 numbers 89
Truth 29 Phony caller ID 93
Truth 30 Area code 809 95
Part VI The Truth About Tax Scams 97
Truth 31 Fear and loathing of the IRS 97
Truth 32 More tax scams 101
Truth 33 It just doesn’t stop 105
Part VII The Truth About Government Assistance 109
Truth 34 Social Security 109
Truth 35 Medicare 113
Truth 36 Veteran scams 115
Part VIII The Truth About Credit Card Scams 119
Truth 37 Credit cards 119
Truth 38 More credit card offers 123
Truth 39 Skimmers and ATM scams 127
Truth 40 Free credit report 133
Truth 41 Credit repair services 139
Truth 42 Credit counseling agencies 143
Truth 43 Credit card rate reduction scam 147
Truth 44 Advance fee credit cards 149
Truth 45 Credit card alarms in the night 153
Part IX The Truth About Employment Scams 155
Truth 46 Work-at-home schemes 155
Truth 47 Easy money 159
Truth 48 More wrong turns 161
Truth 49 Cruise ship employment scam 165
Truth 50 Get a job online scams 167
Part X The Truth About Home Scams 169
Truth 51 Home sweet scam 169
Truth 52 Variations on a theme 173
Part XI The Truth About Investment Scams 177
Truth 53 Stock scams 177
Truth 54 More investment scams 181
Truth 55 Unusual investment opportunities 185
Truth 56 Fees in legitimate investments 189
Truth 57 Free financial seminars 195
Part XII The Truth About Solutions 197
Truth 58 Some solutions 197
Truth 59 Keeping your computer secure 199
Truth 60 Wi-Fi 205
Truth 61 Due diligence 207
About the Author 210