Images that rend, and those that mend

As News Over The Last Few Weeks has ricocheted from sickening photos out of the United States-run Abu Ghraib prison, to the revenge-video of the Nick Berg execution, to other abhorrent scenes, a war-weary global public is left reeling. Is this some sort of macabre rivalry, some sadistic matchup of Who-Can-Produce-The-Most-Horrific-Image?

Every bad opinion of the US on the Arab street—and every bad opinion of the Arab world—seems to have been verified. Every upbeat image of coalition forces helping to rebuild Iraq, and of Iraqis striving to put their country on the path of reconciliation and renewal, appears to be permanently tarnished. Time and again news analysts glumly observe: A single abhorrent image out of that region outweighs a thousand images of either coalition forces or peace-seeking Iraqis helping one another.

But is that inevitable? Do vile images have more power to rend than do positive images to mend a torn country?

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Testimony of Healing
Prayer quickly heals injuries from a fall
June 7, 2004

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