Dressed to Die

Fariba, Wife of Al Qaeda member, 2002

Unprecedentedly, El País printed on its first and last page two images of a Palestinian woman burnt alive by her own family, and now wearing a mysterious mask, which expresses the horror through the paradoxical vehicle of extreme impassivity. The hidden face of Souad contrasts with the flawless oval and calm gaze of the Palestinian suicide bomber, or with the inscribed countenance of the Faceless Shirin Neshat, who threatens us with fake fierceness. Is it legitimate for the American colonel to refuse covering her head in Saudi Arabia, as the Pentagon requires?Her British comrades-in-arms express in the same country a different side of the cultural conflict as far as faces and identities are concerned. The mass hangings in Iran or the execution of women in the Olympic Stadium of Kabul, do they justify the gulag of the Talibans in Guantanamo? In contrast with the sad westernization of children’s wear, can we praise the beauty of the burka? After all, even the Palestinian baby-bomb is a Western product, as are pop the anti-American murals of Baghdad and as there is a close connection between the veiled Statue of Liberty and the hooded Abu Ghraib prisoner. Yet there is nothing but question marks, coincidences, fears, fictions...[+]

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