Skip to main content

Banksy: Americans Working Overhead

Living overseas as I do, even in a country as friendly to America as the United Kingdom, I'm sensitive to the damage done to America's reputation by the Bush administration.  

I saw the above sign this weekend for the first time, as I strolled an idyllic footpath by a canal in the English countryside.  It adorned the stern door of a narrowboat on the canal.

I googled it to see where it originated.  It is another wonderful example of the art of Banksy, fast beocming one of the most influential young artists in Europe.  

And guess what?  He doesn't like what he sees of America.  Look below for more of his art.  It is quite moving and unsettling at the same time.

Banksy started as a graffiti artist, and some of his best work is on obscure walls - now protected as works of art.  Being of the generation that dismisses grafitti, it wasn't until a Belgian family visiting me last year insisted that the only priority they had in London was seeing Banksy's works that I began to take him seriously.

A soldier frisked by a little girl.

The fleeing napalmed Vietnamese girl flanked by Micky Mouse and Ronald McDonald.

Dorothy having her basket searched at a checkpoint.

GIs for Peace

Oil is thicker than Blood

The first thought I had on seeing "Americans Working Overhead" (now part of the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, no less) was of a late night/early morning story I heard in Iraq in 2003.  This old school British military intelligence type was recounting his flight with the Kurds to the mountains as Saddam's troops devastated Erbil in 1993.  He said that the helicopter snipers had a game of shooting babies and toddlers off the shoulders of their fleeing fathers for fun.  I wondered as I looked at Banksy's stencil if Americans play such games now.  I doubt Banksy would put it past them, and he is influencing a new generation of European youth in their perception of my country.

Originally posted to LondonYank on Tue May 06, 2008 at 10:13 AM PDT.


Can graffiti rise to become art?

2%9 votes
9%40 votes
3%15 votes
20%82 votes
63%257 votes

| 403 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site