Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shoot an Iraqi or Truth about Avoiding Scams

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.

Publishers Weekly

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.

Shelf Awareness

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

Mary Flanagan
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))

Danny Postel
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)

Read also Leah Chase or Food for Thought

Truth about Avoiding Scams (Truth About Series)

Author: Steve Weisman

"You should read this book and take Steve Weisman's advice. And from the money and assets he helps you protect, take a few dollars and buy a copy for a good friend."

--Alan Colmes, Syndicated radio talk show host and co-host of Hannity and Colmes on Fox News Channel


Scams are discover exactly how to protect yourself!


·        The truth about recognizing today’s newest scams--online and off

·        The truth about safeguarding your money, health, and reputation

·        The truth about phishing, vishing, pharming, slamming, and more


Scams have always been with us, and they always will be - except now, technology makes scammers' jobs even easier, enabling them to reach out from anywhere around the world, and take advantage of more people than ever before. No matter how smart you think you are, you can easily become a victim: in fact, scammers have discovered that educated, sophisticated individuals are among their best targets. The Truth About Avoiding Scams arms you with everything you need to protect yourself: real, up-to-the-minute knowledge, and the "internal sensors" you need to sniff out even the subtlest, most well-crafted scams. Consumer finance expert and nationally syndicated radio host Steve Weisman offers quick, bite-size, just-the-facts information about every type of fraud, from identity scams to computer-based fraud, travel and health scams to phony educational loans andscholarships. Weisman exposes the new epidemic of "affinity fraud," where "people just like you" target you based on your ethnicity, racial group, church, club, or fraternal organization. You'll find up-to-the-minute guidance on avoiding illegitimate online dating services; "cramming" and other phone frauds; tax and Social Security scams; employment, home repair, and investment scams; and a whole lot more.


Unlike some books on scams, this one's simple to read, simple to use, up to date, and complete: the only guide you need to keep yourself safe!

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


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