On March 4th, police raided the offices of Memorial, a human-rights organization that the state has ordered to close. After eleven hours, they left the place in shambles—and with the letter “Z” scrawled in various places, including a flip chart on which someone had written, “Z. Memorial is over.”
Keepsake? I can keep my German passports, they just get invalidated. Over here they just cut of an edge and stamp it, but it’s still a memento of your travel stamps. Also, if you say “sorry, lost it” they are not gonna search your house and help you find it.
i don’t mean to seem like a negative nancy here but i would feel a little bit better about the coverage of the russia-ukraine war if cnn had conducted the same kind of emotionally fraught, blow by blow coverage of the slaughter of civilians during the u.s.-iraq war.a conflict which involved at least as much mendacity on our part as this current conflict has from russia for which individuals who were lauded after death as statesman told all manner of lies before the united nations and individuals who still hold their jobs as opinion piece writers for the new york times like tom friedman said during an interview with charlie rose that the people of iraq could “suck on this!”
Sometimes, when you are applying for a visa or for citizenship, you may be asked to submit past passports or other travel/citizenship/identification records going way back. When applying for Japanese citizenship, I had to submit photocopies of every single page of my current and previous US passports.
My hope, and this comes from a crazy-privileged situation looking for a silver lining, is that this coverage is something that we can point to in future (and other contemporary) conflicts to say, “This is obviously how you could cover a war…why aren’t you covering these other wars this way?” It’s perhaps slim hope, but in every crisis, I try to look for what could possibly come out of it that’s better than it was before. A poor trade, but a trade nonetheless.
I know this is a trivial thing to focus on; apologies for that. It’s got my attention.
I haven’t heard any halfway-sensible explanation or theory for the “Z” except one: It was a red team / blue team marker for vehicles on training manoeuvres. There isn’t a story, it’s just that people noticed it and a few themes sprung up around it until one stuck.
Given how well this invasion has gone to plan (spoiler: it hasn’t), I think this was a serendipitous accident for the propaganda department. Which, if true, says a lot about what people will rally around.
I believe, with all my heart, that news outlets are aware of the difference and are doing it on purpose. And I believe it’ll take more than some firm questions in their direction to make that change.
Questions like “why would they do that?” and “what can be done about it?” are much more interesting. These questions come back to the role of media, who has power over it, and how that power is wielded.