/ False Witnessing: U.S. Coast Guard Photography of Haitian Boat Refugees

April Shemak

in Asylum Speakers

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780823233557
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241194 | DOI:

Series: American Literatures Initiative

/ False Witnessing: U.S. Coast Guard Photography of Haitian Boat Refugees

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Instead of being seen as an entity whose role is to prohibit refugees' entrance to the United States, the Coast Guard has typically been viewed through the lens of salvation. One cartoon even consecrated the Coast Guard as “New Orleans' Saints” through the drawing of a helicopter, rotating propellers giving off a halo-like glow, a cable extending below with a basket carrying an anonymous black body. In many ways this cartoon is part of a broader visual rhetoric of Coast Guard search-and-rescue, or “SAR” in Coast Guard parlance. The depiction of an anonymous black body hanging in the helicopter basket can be linked to the Coast Guard visual rhetoric whereby the interdiction of Haitian refugees on the high seas becomes recast as rescue.

Keywords: refugees; salvation; Coast Guard; search-and-rescue; inter-diction; refugees; Haitian

Chapter.  13362 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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