Oliphant's Anthem: Pat Oliphant at the Library of Congress

Yitzhak Rabin, the prime minister of Israel, and Yasir Arafat, the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) shook hands on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, sealing an accord that committed Israelis and Palestinians to share a land they both claimed as their own. Minutes earlier, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and the PLO's chief negotiator with Israel, Mahmoud Abbas, signed a declaration of principles for interim Palestinian self-government in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho.

"[Rabin, Arafat, and dove of peace]", September 14, 1993. Ink over pencil with paste-ons on duoshade paper. Swann Fund Purchase. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (35)

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The United Nations General Assembly opened a debate on "the question of Palestine" on November 13, 1974. Yasir Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), delivered the opening address, calling for the restoration of a Palestinian state that included Moslems, Christians, and Jews. Concluding his address, he said "I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand."

‘May I please have your undivided attention . . ?’, November 13, 1974. Ink and white out over pencil with paste-on on duoshade paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (6)

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At midday on April 18, 1983, a massive car-bomb reduced the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, to rubble, killing dozens and wounding over one hundred. Casualties included U.S. staff members, Marine guards, Lebanese clerical workers, and civilians. Congressmen urged the U.S. to end its military presence in Lebanon — talks had, in fact, been underway for the withdrawal of U.S. and Israeli forces from Lebanon. President Reagan denounced the terrorist attack, saying it would not deter the U.S. from its goals in the region.

U.S. Embassy–Business as usual, April 20, 1983. Ink over pencil on layered paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (15)

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On March 23, 1986, a huge U.S. Navy task force gathered in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya to conduct "freedom of navigation" exercises in the disputed waters of the Gulf of Sidra. When Libya fired missiles at American warplanes, the United States responded by attacking Libyan ships and a missile installation on the mainland. Most commentators feared that the action would backfire, giving Libyan leader Colonel Muammer el-Qaddafi an opportunity to "stand up" to the U.S. and enhance his prestige at home and in the Arab world. In his response to American hostilities on March 25, Qaddafi stated, "This is not the time for speaking. It is a time for confrontation, for war."

Let a thousand flowers bloom, March 25, 1986. Ink and white out over pencil on layered paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (17)

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The member states of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon), the Soviet-bloc trade organization, agreed on January 10, 1990, at the conclusion of a heated two-day summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, to adopt a gradual free-market approach in their trading policies. Cuba, Vietnam, and Mongolia, the non-European members, were not enthusiastic about the proposed changes. They indicated that their economies would continue along traditional Marxist lines, no matter what policies Comecon adopted.

[Fidel Castro building a sand castle]. January 10, 1990. Ink and white out over pencil on layered paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (23)

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A student-led, pro-democracy movement that had begun in Beijing, the Chinese capital, in mid-April 1989, led to the imposition of martial law in mid-May. On the night of June 2, following a demonstration in the vast 100-acre Tiananmen Square, led by pop singer Hou Dejian, a police van plowed into four bicyclists, killing one instantly. Two others died later. Although it was an accident, rumors that it had been deliberate led to a dramatic increase in demonstrators. About midnight on June 4, thousands of armed troops, supported by dozens of tanks and armored personnel carriers, moved toward the central square. The crowd fought back and impeded their progress, but scores of students and civilians were injured as tanks advanced through Tiananmen Square.

Remember Tiananmen Square. June 5, 1989. Ink, brush, and white out over pencil on layered paper board. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (20)

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During 1989, the Cold War drew to a dramatic close. The Marxist economies of Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania failed during the autumn. This resulted in a call for the end of Communist rule, a return to democracy, and the revitalization of capitalism in those countries. The Berlin Wall was opened in November and several former Eastern Bloc countries witnessed a revolution in government.

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On August 19, 1989, more than 900 East German refugees in Hungary fled across the Hungarian border into Austria at the border town of Sopron, where a joint Hungarian-Austrian friendship picnic was taking place. Scores of East Germans had gathered in Sopron in anticipation of the opportunity to escape. When Hungarian border guards opened a frontier gate to let the Austrian picknickers through, about 300 East Germans rushed through into Austria. No effort was made to stop them and the guards left the gate open for hundreds of other East Germans to follow. This was believed to be the largest single illegal flight of East Germans to the West up to that point, and the Western press dubbed the incident the "Great Escape." The escapees began arriving in West Germany from Austria on August 21.

‘Hold it . . . wait for me!’. August 23, 1989. Ink, brush and white out over pencil on layered paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (21)

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Russian leader Boris Yeltsin engaged in a power struggle for control of the country with his parliamentary opponents in the Supreme Soviet, leading him to claim special emergency powers in a televised address on March 20, 1993. This followed a week in which the Congress of People's Deputies, led by chairman Ruslan I. Khasbulatov, voted to take away prerogatives granted to Yeltsin in December 1992. Yeltsin modified his decree when it was published on March 24 and did not mention "special powers." The Constitutional Court, which convened on March 22, ruled that Yeltsin's actions had violated provisions of the constitution. The Court argued that Yeltsin did not have the right to ask the populace to choose between presidential or parliamentary control of the government. Khasbulatov called for Yeltsin's impeachment.

Nine lives and counting . . . March 25, 1993. Ink and white out over pencil on paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (32)

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The civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina entered its second year as Serbs, under the leadership of President Slobodan Milosevic, broke a two-week-old ceasefire on April 12, 1993, and tightened their grip on the area surrounding Sarajevo, renewing their attacks on the former Yugoslavian capital as well as the predominantly Moslem city of Srebrenica. The shelling of Sarajevo killed about ten people and the attacks on Srebrenica killed at least fifty-six civilians, including fifteen children. On April 3, the Bosnian Serbs had rejected a U.N.-sponsored peace plan that would have left Serbs in control of 43 percent of Bosnia, as opposed to the 70 percent they currently held.

‘Thank you for not interfering.’. April 15, 1993. Ink and white out over pencil on paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (33)

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An international force led by the U.S. launched an air missile attack against Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait on January 16, 1991, after Iraq failed to withdraw its troops from Kuwait. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein announced the next day that "the mother of all battles" had begun. Code-named "Operation Desert Storm," the Persian Gulf War involved the use of high-technology weaponry, with strikes launched from bases in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and from ships in the region. The Department of Defense exercised complete control over press coverage during the first month of the war, convinced that the grisly pictures that came out of Vietnam had swung public opinion against that war. Various U.S. media outlets complained that the system did not permit free flow of news, and that the daily allied military briefings in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, presented a manipulated, sanitized account of the war.

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On February 13, scores of Iraqi civilians were killed when U.S. bombs destroyed a reinforced building where they had taken refuge from the nightly bombing. Television pictures from Baghdad showed badly burned survivors of the attack, shocking and angering many members of the public.

‘Oo! Is it too late to go back to sanctions?’. February 14, 1991. Ink and white out over pencil on paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (25)

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