Clash of Images: 9/11 & Terrorism

  •  Esmaeil Zeiny    
  •  Noraini Md. Yusof    


The world we live is fraught with visual images. These images are central to how we communicate and represent in our lives. They are of significance in the imagination and construction of cultural identities. Visual communication is more ubiquitous than ever before because images have the ability to quickly influence viewers both cognitively and emotionally. Many of the images that we see daily are ideological images such as the anti-Muslim or anti-American pictures triggered by 9/11. This paper examines the 9/11 images and the consequent images of ‘war on terror.’ Utilizing and extending Gillian Whitlock’s theory of ‘soft weapons’ to images, we argue that images which have long been recruited as propaganda can act as weapon in soliciting support and sympathy by generating hatred. We shed light on the fact that the clash of images is indicative of current image culture where images are powerful tools of persuasion when they array against and engage with one another.

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