Books Not Bombs. How About Tweets?
On Wednesday we shared a few snippets of Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole’s latest series of tweeted stories about drones.
This is an off-shoot of his Small Fates project in which he started tweeting short stories based off of forgotten news items.
But these most recent tweets take a literary view of aerial assaults.
They are an assault, of sorts, in what Cole terms the “empathy gap.”
“First and foremost it’s about identifying,” he says. “We come to hold the characters as in some way like us. Meanwhile if we hear that a drone strike killed three people in Yemen as happened on Inauguration Day that is so abstract, it almost means nothing and therefore we feel almost nothing.”
Listen to what Cole had to say about his reasons for striking down, Virginia Woolf’s character Mrs. Dalloway:
Source: theworld.org / The World
The drones that fly over Afghanistan are generally piloted by people sitting in the United States.
Those pilots also fly training missions over domestic skies.
That’s the case in northern New York.
North Country Public Radio’s David Sommerstein reports on the fuzzy line between military preparation and a creepy eye in the sky.
“Why Twitter? Why not Twitter?” Nigerian-American author Teju Cole tells anchor Marco Werman about his latest series of tweeted tales. The topic: drone strikes. A heavy topic for just 140 characters but Cole says it’s the best platform to get the word out there. With more than 70,000 followers, perhaps he’s right.
Cole takes a literary approach. Mrs. Dalloway is blown up on the way to the florist. Ishmael is “immolated” at his wedding. Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” is made invisible for a very different reason.
The tweets were collected into one story by Graduate Student/Reporter Josh Begley, who himself is tweeting an account of every reported drone strike at @dronestream.
“There is something about reading great works of literature that is first and foremost about identifying. We come to hold the protagonists, the characters as in some ways like us.”
Killing off the canon is not something Cole takes lightly. But his aim is grab people’s attention and empathy.
“I started thinking about something which in my mind I called the empathy gap between what was happening on the global war on terror and the attitude or lack of attitude that people had with what was going on.”
On Thursday, Anchor Marco Werman will talk with Cole about his latest attempt to bridge that gap.
Source: SoundCloud / The World
Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) uses radio waves to “see” in complete darkness and through rain, clouds, and snow. It is becoming a regular component of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, like those flown over Afghanistan. The following picture shows what Washington, D.C. would look like if it were imaged by a SAR-equipped spy plane flying overhead on a snowy winter day.