Coming from South Africa, a country where ‘swart gevaar’ (the threat of blackness) was
used by the apartheid State for decades to keep the white population in a state of fear, the
artist, who spent several months in Washington DC in 2007, was struck by the way the
constant threat of terrorism is used to justify the continuation of the war in Iraq.
Many believe this propaganda attack is used to cover up the real reason for the war: to allow
the US to commandeer Iraq’s oil resources. Billions of dollars of Iraqi oil gone missing
during the war is currently unaccounted for. Meanwhile, warnings to be on alert for ‘terrorism’
abound in Washington, and posters demonizing the Arab countries and glorifying the
military can be seen in the city’s subway system.
In the satirical short film W*A*S*H (a play on the title of the Korean War movie M*A*S*H)
three ‘oil rigs’ allegedly gone missing from Iraq have found their way to Washington. Radio
broadcasts announce this new threat. Symbols of a commodity without which society
would come to a standstill, the rigs are apparently everywhere: mingling with bikers at the
Vietnam War Memorial, waiting on subway stations, visiting museums, indulging a desire
to ride the merry-go-round with children.
In the final scene, one rig is seen wandering ghost-like amongst the graves during a military
funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.