The Blog

'October 1973: Panorama and Myopia'

5:27 PM, Oct 24, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

An illuminating slide show from Martin Kramer called, "October 1973: Panorama and Myopia."

In Cairo and Damascus, the October 1973 war with Israel is celebrated by museums of similar design and purpose. At the center of both attractions is a panorama (or cyclorama): a 360-degree depiction of the key battles of the war. The concept is to immerse the visitor in a "surround" view of a battle—in Egypt's case, the crossing of the Suez Canal, in Syria's, the battle for the Golan Heights—with visual and sound effects, stirring narration, and martial music. Both sites have adjacent grounds for the display of captured and destroyed Israeli hardware, alongside examples of the Soviet-made Egyptian and Syrian armament of the day. The construction of panoramas has become a North Korean specialty, and the Egyptian and Syrian panoramas are of North Korean design and execution.

School groups, soldiers, and local and foreign tourists who visit these sites are told similar stories of triumphant victory, leaving no room for ambiguity as to the war's outcome. A recent visitor described her experience at the Cairo attraction: "A vast panorama of lights and noise depicted the epic struggle to cross the canal. I saw no mention of the Israeli counterattack. It has been subsumed by myth and propaganda." Another recent visitor to the Damascus panorama made this observation: "If you relied only on a visit to the Panorama for information about the war, you would not know a) that Egypt was also involved in the fighting, b) how long the war lasted, c) how many people died, or d) that Israel won."

Whole thing (with pictures!) here

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers