Any meeting separates its participants from the environment from which they are drawn. It constitutes a space apart, a vantage point from which participants view – that is, remember and imagine – the world around them. It’s a place of withdrawal, in the same way that churches have spaces for reflection and prayer. And some rooms are devoted explicitly to understanding, assessing and ultimately defining the situation.
Salam Pax blogged from what was something like his own situation room. Living in war put information at a premium: his blog is shot through with references to sources of news and rumour, including Iraqi tv as well as other satellite, free-to-air, private and state-owned channels broadcast from different countries in the region; international news outlets such as ABC, the BBC and Reuters; party newspapers; other blogs, email and the phone.
Underground is a kind of inverse correlate of the situation room: underground activities are carried on surreptitiously, sometimes in disguise, always out of sight of those who might sit in situation rooms.
‘The ultimate form…’: Edelman, ‘Architecture, spaces and social order’, op cit, p 86
‘I was greeted: Michael Barnett, ‘The UN Security Council’, op cit, p 552
‘We start counting…’: Salam Pax, The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi, op cit, p 131
Bernardine Dohrn is interviewed in The Weather Underground, dir Sam Green and Bill Siegel, US, 2003, and this remark comes at min:sec 57:01