Artificial landscapes and real war traumas serve to expose the fake news of the Iraq war.
In the clothes of an Irani soldier from the war with Iraq, Gelare Khoshgozaran shows the areas in the Californian Mojave desert, where, on stolen indigenous land, replicas were built of cities in the Middle East. The film was shot in the small cities of Mecca and Thermal, as well as in the Fort Irwin National Military Training Centre, AKA ‘The Box’, ‘Little Afghanistan’ or ‘Medina Wasl’.
The area of The Box contains various (copied) war-torn Middle-Eastern towns. Simulated battlefields in a climate comparable to that of Iraq. The images are interwoven with interviews with American war veterans who speak of their memories of the landscape in the areas they were deployed. In his famous book Orientalism, Edward Said describes the patronising way in which the West imagines the East. It is from this perspective that Medina Wasl: Connecting Town studies the role and history of fiction in the depiction of the Middle East. The suggestion is that just like the ‘War on Terror’, the conflation of languages, landscapes, cultures and geographical areas is also a form of violence.
Part of NORMAL SCHNORMAL, a multidisciplinary programme on normality and other deviations.
US/IR, 2018, 31’
English spoken, starts every 30'