The Digital Journalist
Since ancient times, the white flag has been a symbol of either capitulation or neutrality, a means to communicate across the battlefield "I surrender" or "I come in peace." But the white flag doesn't really work on the modern battlefield, where shells and bombs are fired from great distances away, and often guided to their destinations by someone sitting before a computer screen in a different country. After the "massacre" in Qana, the Israeli military announced a unilateral 48-hour cessation of "offensive operations," and throughout southern Lebanon those who had been trapped by the fighting made for safer ground. In fleeing, they tied strips of white cloth to their car antennas or to sticks or, most poignantly, around their own necks. There was an element of religious superstition to it, this notion that taking up the ancient talisman might somehow protect them, but you could see in their eyes they didn't really believe it.