At the outset of Thursday's assault on Fortress Op-Ed Illo, Alex Nabaum looked pretty good. He had a strong graphic idea: for an essay on why the Middle East in 2005 is nothing like Berlin in 1989, a demonstrator's hammer hits a massive wall—and the hammer rather than the wall shatters on impact. His choice of a muscular, realistic style, with its revolutionary resonances, was fitting. But either something went awry in the execution, or this picture's meaning is more complex than it first lets on. First, the position of the hand, palm facing us, is off. The person with the hammer cannot be trying that hard to tear down the wall. He's got his back to it, as if to hammer theatrically while urging on a crowd before him, "Come, let us smash the state!" The lines where hammer meets wall are oddly done, too. Graphic convention holds that impact lines radiate evenly around the point of impact; these look more like a shadow or a reflection off the wall's surface. Maybe the point is, per the article title, that the wall isn't made of mere stone? Rather than quibble over Nabaum's draftsmanship, I prefer to imagine that he is intimating something here. Perhaps he created an image with obvious inconsistencies because he's dismayed, as I am, that an argument against triumphalism in the Middle East even needs to be made at this point. Or maybe he'd respond to all this nitpicking by driving me off with a hammer.