• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

vrijdag 20 augustus 2010

Hans de Clercq Ressentimenten 2

Dit is de laatste informatie op de weblog van Hans de Clercq. Informatie die volgens De Clercq de mensheid moet weten. Hij heeft niet de eer, lof, erkenning gekregen (uncredited) voor zijn werk, althans zo meent hij. Enfin, leest u zelf maar:


Uncredited

Achttien jaar na dato heb ik ontdekt dat ik zonder het te weten naar alle waarschijnlijkheid een bijdrage heb geleverd aan het script van een speelfilm met Dustin Hoffman. Hoe dat kan? Let op.
We schrijven 9 april 1992. Ik maak voor de VPRO een interview met de Britse filmregisseur Stephen Frears, die kortstondig in Nederland is op uitnodiging van de toenmalige minister van cultuur Hedy d’Ancona. Als ik me goed herinner had het iets te maken met de uitreiking van de ADO mediaprijs. Geen idee of die nog bestaat, de prijs werd destijds in het leven geroepen om radio- en televisiemakers te bekronen die zich hadden ingezet voor een evenwichtige beeldvorming over minderheden in Nederland. Stephen Frears is op dat moment bij het grote publiek bekend door films als My Beautiful Laundrette, het verontrustende Prick Up Your Ears en het schitterend vileine Dangerous Liaisons.
Frears laat me off the record weten dat hij eigenlijk met enige tegenzin naar Nederland is gekomen, omdat die dag in Groot-Brittannië verkiezingen worden gehouden en hij, Thatcher-hater van het eerste uur, hoopt op een uitslag ten gunste van Labour. Het liefst zou hij in zijn hotelkamer naar de analyses op de BBC kijken. (‘s Avonds laat worden de exit polls, die een overwinning voor Labour in het vooruitzicht stelden, overigens gelogenstraft. De conservatieven winnen en Jon Major blijft op Downing Street 10.)
Ik spreek hem in de Sonesta Koepel in Amsterdam. Eerst wandelen we wat rond over het Singel (waar een fotografe van Vrij Nederland onderstaande foto van ons maakt) en het vlakbij gelegen Kattegat, waar ik hem de lokatie laat zien waar in vroeger jaren het Werkteater (jazeker, zonder h) haar roemruchte voorstellingen gaf. Daarna gaan we naar de Sonesta Koepel en, zittend op de tribune, heb ik ruim de tijd om hem te interviewen.

Met Stephen Frears. © Elisabeth van Dorp 1992
Terwijl we praten, wordt op het toneel het instrumentarium van een band opgebouwd die daar ‘s avonds zal optreden. Frears praat honderduit over de politieke situatie thuis, en natuurlijk komt zijn werk ter sprake, waarin hij waar hij maar kan de gelegenheid te baat neemt kritiek te leveren op het beleid van Margaret Thatcher (Frears: She was a hysteric. With her in charge we didn’t need a National Front. It was as though Romans came to govern us and the British just touched their caps and called them ‘sir’). Omdat hij veel van zijn politieke opvattingen in zijn werk stopt, komen films als My Beautiful Laundrette enSammy and Rosie Get Laid ter sprake, en analyseren we de situatie van de Indiase en Pakistaanse minderheden in Groot-Brittannie. Maar natuurlijk ben ik ook benieuwd naar zijn huidige werk. Waar werkt hij momenteel aan? Mijn gesprekspartner gaat er eens even voor zitten. Hij is bezig in Amerika aan een film met Dustin Hoffman en Andy Garcia. En waar gaat de film over? Frears wil antwoorden, maar precies op dat moment breekt een hels kabaal los: de band heeft z’n instrumenten klaar en houdt nu een sound check. Frears’ antwoord verdrinkt in de herrie. Later, bij het terugluisteren van de bandopname, hoor ik hem nog boven het tumult uitroepen: you’ll have to see the film to get the answer.
Nooit meer aan gedacht natuurlijk, zoals die dingen gaan. Maar onlangs zag ik die film op dvd. Accidental Hero. Een alleraardigste film over een kleine scharrelaar (Hoffman) die getuige is van een vliegtuigongeluk en de passagiers van een wisse dood redt door de buitendeur open te breken, waardoor ze kunnen ontsnappen voordat het ding ontploft. Later gaat iemand anders (Andy Garcia) met de eer aan de haal. Enfin, allerhande verwikkelingen, en intussen heeft die arme Hoffman ook nog het nodige te stellen met zijn ex-vrouw, die hem een geboren looser vindt, en zijn zoontje, waar hij graag een goede vader voor wil zijn. Uiteindelijk komt alles natuurlijk goed, en in de slotscène zien we Hoffman met zijn zoontje op een bankje in een park zitten en de jongen vraagt aan zijn vader: wat gebeurde er nu precies, met dat vliegtuig? En nu komt het. Hoffman wil antwoorden, maar precies op dat moment breekt een hels kabaal los: een hoempa-band marcheert voorbij, we horen een kakofonie van trommels en toeters en zien Hoffman met grote gebaren een verhaal aan zijn zoontje vertellen. Dan is de laatste trommel voorbij en we horen Hoffman zeggen and that’s how it happened.
Ik zal het bij gelegenheid aan hem vragen of het klopt, maar ik weet wel zeker dat Frears toen in de Sonesta Koepel het idee heeft gekregen voor die scène. En zo ben ik een heel klein beetje deel van Accidental Hero. Uncredited, maar toch.

Vul je e-mail adres in en bevestig met 'klik hier'. Je krijgt dan een e-mail. Als je die bevestigt, is alles rond.

Zie: http://hanslcv.wordpress.com/



The Empire 634

How Much Is Enough? America's Runaway Military Spending

"We have fewer enemies [than in the Cold War era] and we're spending more money."
 
Photo Credit: goober
 
 
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The August 9 announcement by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates of cost-containment measures at the Defense Department should not obscure two underlying facts. First, as he conceded, these proposed economies will not result in cutting the overall Pentagon budget, which is slated for expansion. And, second, as a Washington Post article reported, "defense officials characterized them as a political preemptive strike to fend off growing sentiment elsewhere in Washington to tackle the federal government's soaring deficits by making deep cuts in military spending."
But why should anyone want to cut the U.S. military budget? One reason is that -- with $549 billion requested for basic military expenditures and another $159 billion requested for U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- the record $708 billion military spending called for by the Obama administration for fiscal 2011 will be nearly equivalent to the military spending of all other nations in the world combined. When it comes to military appropriations, the U.S. government already spends about seven times as much as China, thirteen times as much as Russia, and seventy-three times as much as Iran.
Is this really necessary? During the Cold War, the United States confronted far more dangerous and numerous military adversaries, including the Soviet Union. And the U.S. government certainly possessed an enormous and devastating military arsenal, as well as the armed forces that used it. But in those years, U.S. military spending accounted for only 26 percent of the world total. Today, as U.S. Congressman Barney Frank has observed, "we have fewer enemies and we're spending more money."
Where does this vast outlay of U.S. tax dollars -- the greatest military appropriations in U.S. history -- go? One place is to overseas U.S. military bases. According to Chalmers Johnson, a political scientist and former CIA consultant, as much as $250 billion per year is used to maintain some 865 U.S. military facilities in more than forty countries and overseas U.S. territories.
The money also goes to fund vast legions of private military contractors. A recent Pentagon report estimated that the Defense Department relies on 766,000 contractors at an annual cost of about $155 billion, and this figure does not include private intelligence organizations. A Washington Post study, which included all categories, estimated that the Defense Department employs 1.2 million private contractors.
Of course, enormously expensive air and naval weapons systems -- often accompanied by huge cost over-runs -- account for a substantial portion of the Pentagon's budget. But exactly who are these high tech, Cold War weapons to be used against? Certainly they have little value in a world threatened by terrorism. As Congressman Frank has remarked: "I don't think any terrorist has ever been shot by a nuclear submarine."
Furthermore, when bemoaning budget deficits, Americans should not forget the enormous price the United States has paid for its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the highly-respected National Priorities Project, their cost, so far, amounts to $1.06 trillion. (For those readers who are unaccustomed to dealing with a trillion dollar budget, that's $1,060,000,000,000.)

The New Anti-Semitism

In the Netherlands the new antisemites use their support for Israel as a weapon against the islam. The antisemite and the modern philosemite drink from the same source. According to the old fashioned antisemite a jew is not allowed to do anything, and according to the modern antisemite, the so called philosemite, a jew can do everything. For the antisemite as well as the philosemite jews are another breed of people, not people like themselves. Jews are for them the other.



Rage Against Islam: the New Anti-Semitism

Recent attacks on Islam in the United States echo old slurs against Jews.
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After Abraham Foxman waded into the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy,opposing plans to construct an Islamic community center a few blocks from the World Trade Center site, the Anti-Defamation League chief was assailed by critics who charged that the ADL was giving license to bigotry and betraying its historic mission “to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike.” A week after initially coming out against the mosque, Foxman announced that the ADL was bowing out of the controversy, but the damage to the group’s reputation had been done.
The problem for the ADL is that there simply isn’t much anti-Semitism of consequence in the United States these days. While anti-Semitism continues to thrive elsewhere in the world and to molder on the fringes of American society, Jews have by now been fully assimilated into the American ruling class and into the mainstream of American life. A mundane event like the recent wedding of Protestant Chelsea Clinton and Jewish Marc Mezvinsky drove this point home. What was notable was not the question “will she convert?” but how little importance anyone attached to the answer; the former first daughter’s choice between Judaism and Christianity seemed as inconsequential as the choice between Episcopalianism and Presbyterianism would have a few decades ago.
At the same time, many of the tropes of classic anti-Semitism have been revived and given new force on the American right. Once again jingoistic politicians and commentators posit a religious conspiracy breeding within Western society, pledging allegiance to an alien power, conspiring with allies at the highest levels of government to overturn the existing order. Because the propagators of these conspiracy theories are not anti-Semitic but militantly pro-Israel, and because their targets are not Jews but Muslims, the ADL and other Jewish groups have had little to say about them. But since the election of President Barack Obama, this Islamophobic discourse has rapidly intensified.
While the political operatives behind the anti-mosque campaign speak the language of nativism and American exceptionalism, their ideology is itself something of a European import. Most of the tropes of the American “anti-jihadists,” as they call themselves, are taken from European models: a “creeping” imposition of sharia, Muslim allegiance to the ummah rather than to the nation-state, the coming demographic crisis as Muslims outbreed their Judeo-Christian counterparts. In recent years the call-to-arms about the impending Islamicization of Europe has become a well-worn genre, ranging from more sophisticated treatments like Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe to cruder polemics like Mark Steyn’s America Alone and Bat Ye’or’s Eurabia.
It would be a mistake to seek too precise a correspondence between the new Islamophobia and the old anti-Semitism, which differ in some key respects. Jews have never threatened to become a numerical majority, or even a sizable minority, in any European country, so anxiety about Jewish power naturally gravitated toward the myth of the shadowy elite manipulating the majority from behind the scenes. By contrast, anti-Muslim anxiety has focused on the supposed demographic threat posed by Muslims, in which the dusky hordes overwhelm the West by sheer weight of numbers. (“The sons of Allah breed like rats,” as the late Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci put it.) It may be that in many ways this Islamophobia shares more of the tropes of traditional anti-Catholicism than classic anti-Semitism.

Hans de Clercq Ressentimenten

Naar aanleiding van dit bericht http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2010/08/empire-631.html kreeg ik de volgende reacties, onder andere van ene Hans de Clercq, iemand die in de journalistiek geen merkbare sporen heeft achter gelaten, maar wel allerlei ressentimenten heeft tegen degenen die dit wel hebben gedaan. Ik kom hier op terug:

reacties:
 Paul zei
Gezien de huidige politiek zal Wikileaks nog genoeg te doen hebben in de toekomst

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/world/15shadowwar.html?_r=3&hp
12:27 PM
 Hans de Clercq zei
Ik begrijp de functie van dit weblog niet zo goed. Van her en der meningen van anderen plukken en met paste/copy op je eigen weblog plaatsen. Wonderlijk. Stan was vroeger al berucht om zijn neiging tot epigonisme Kennelijk is daar niet veel aan veranderd.
7:55 PM
 Anoniem zei
Wel, de Clerq, als u dit weblog niet begrijpt, kan ik u doorverwijzen naar Krapuul. Daar ligt het allemaal wat eenvoudiger en zult u uw mening zeker kwijt kunnen.

anzi
8:06 PM
 Anoniem zei
ISRAEL’S PRE-ELECTION ATTEMPT TO DEFLECT A NEW 9/11 INVESTIGATION
By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

There never were plans for a mosque at “ground zero.” The entire story is made up by a public relations agency working with the Israeli government and the GOP. There are plans for an Islamic center in an old Burlington Coat Factory store blocks away. That far down the island of Manhattan, a couple blocks away is “across town.” The idea that Israel is financing the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy when Mossad agents were arrested, dancing in the streets on 9/11, is an obscenity.

Lees www.veteranstoday.com

anzi
8:14 PM
 Anoniem zei
Meneer de Clerq, omdat u er nadrukkelijk om vroeg, ben ik een kijkje gaan nemen bij uw wederwaardigheden. U stelt me niet teleur. Wat te zeggen over uw fietstochten?. Na alle 5 volzinnen van kilometers, komt het menu op tafel.

"Op tafel: brood, een bidon water en worteltjes. Niet vanwege de koningin, maar omdat het gezond is. En lekker. En omdat het moet van Mirjam".

Ja hoor,

anzi
8:45 PM
 stan zei
stan zei
ach, een reactie van hans de clercq. hou vol hans, het leven is hard, en je oogst wat je zaait.
succes.
4:01 AM
 Hans zei
Juist Stan, precies zo is het. Je mag trouwens wel trots zijn op je lezers. Aanzienlijk niveau, als beide anonieme reacties representatief zijn. Ben trouwens benieuwd wanneer je Brodsky weer eens van stal haalt, of Dennis Meadows. Sterkte.
9:22 AM
 stan zei
wat een bitterheid, wat een onverholen minachting. wat is er fout met je gegaan hans? heb je het niet getrokken? voel je je mislukt? kennelijk heb je je gram al die jaren in stilte gekoesterd en nu barst het ineens naar buiten. waarom pas nu? en vanwaar deze ressentimenten? laat me weten.
3:45 PM
 Anoniem zei
Om dan maar op uw niveau te blijven, meneer, komkommertijd?

anzi
3:59 PM
 Hans zei
Niet via dit publieke medium, Stan. Ik wil eventueel wel iets laten weten, maar dan alleen jij en ik. Niet met die halfgare anonieme intermezzi. En of ik het niet getrokken heb? Mislukt? Au contraire. Ik word aanstonds 62 en kijk terug op een rijk en gevuld leven.
5:07 PM
 Anoniem zei
En sorry, meneer de Clercq ,met een c ertussen, had nooit van u gehoord. Waarschijnlijk heb ik een hoop gemist.

anzi
5:26 PM
 Anoniem zei
Doorzichtig, de Clercg.

anzi
5:34 PM
 Anoniem zei
En misschien kan je dan gelijk je excuses aanbieden i.v.m. jouw halfgare intermezzi,held

anzi
5:40 PM
 Anoniem zei
Je wilt wel iets laten weten, maar niet via dit publieke medium. Wat je wel publiekelijk kenbaar wil maken is je minachting naar Stan toe. Hoe moeten wij, lezers, dit opvatten?

anzi
6:34 PM
 stan zei
hans, ik citeer je:

'Niet via dit publieke medium, Stan. Ik wil eventueel wel iets laten weten, maar dan alleen jij en ik.'

hoe nu? ik heb niets te verbergen, sterker nog: jij bent begonnen mij publiekelijk te bekritiseren. ik nodig je dus bij deze uit je motieven publiekelijk bekend te maken.
stan
2:40 AM
 stan zei
hans,

ik verneem niets van je. ineens sprakeloos geworden? hoe komt dat? eerst praatjes en nu ineens te laf om een reactie te geven. het was john berger die erop wees dat onder de grote invloed van de massamedia ‘er grote delen van de… arbeiders en middenklasse bestaan die zich niet helder kunnen uitdrukken als gevolg van de grootscheepse culturele deprivatie. De middelen om datgene wat ze weten te vertalen in gedachten is hen ontnomen… Ze bezitten geen voorbeelden die ze kunnen volgen, waarbij woorden ervaringen duidelijk maken.’
stan
1:18 AM
 Anoniem zei
Held op sokken dus. Aanzienlijk niveau, nou,nou,

anzi
10:26 AM
 Hans zei
Ach Stan, zie je niet wat je doet? En altijd al deed? Alwéér illustreer je een 'eigen' mening met een citaat, alsof dat jouw argumentatie legitimeert. Waar is de oorspronkelijke Stan, die zijn eigen mening formuleert? Dat is precies wat ik bedoelde met epigonisme. Ontgaat het je, dat als je Berger aanhaalt, dit vooral op jouzelf lijkt te slaan? Waarom zou je, als je je helder kunt uitdrukken, de noodzaak voelen anderen te citeren?

En wat die anonieme deelnemers hier betreft, met name de intermezzi van 'anzi', ik citeer Stan zelf (forum De Journalist, 9 oktober 2008, 10:34) Zonder argumenten anderen stigmatiseren, het is altijd het wapen geweest van de straat en het cafe en anoniem. dit soort luitjes laten altijd overal hun voorgeprogrammeerde meningen horen.

Overigens ben ik het met je oneens dat ik 'praatjes' had. Ik signaleer iets, zoals jij overal van alles signaleert. Met dit verschil dat het nu betrekking heeft op jouzelf. Lastig, ja.

En voor het overige blijf ik bij mijn oorspronkelijke vraagstelling: Ik begrijp de functie van dit weblog niet zo goed. Van her en der meningen van anderen plukken en met paste/copy op je eigen weblog plaatsen.

Het leek, en lijkt nog steeds, een legitieme vraag. Maar inmiddels interesseert het me niet meer.

Succes verder.
8:05 PM

donderdag 19 augustus 2010

John Pilger 37

Why WikiLeaks Must Be Protected

By John Pilger

August 19, 2010
 "Information Clearing House" -- On 26 July, WikiLeaks released thousands of secret US military files on the war in Afghanistan. Cover-ups, a secret assassination unit and the killing of civilians are documented. In file after file, the brutalities echo the colonial past. From Malaya and Vietnam to Bloody Sunday and Basra, little has changed. The difference is that today there is an extraordinary way of knowing how faraway societies are routinely ravaged in our name. WikiLeaks has acquired records of six years of civilian killing for both Afghanistan and Iraq, of which those published in the Guardian, Der Spiegel and the New York Times are a fraction.
There is understandably hysteria on high, with demands that the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is "hunted down" and "rendered." In Washington, I interviewed a senior Defense Department official and asked, "Can you give a guarantee that the editors of WikiLeaks and the editor in chief, who is not American, will not be subjected to the kind of manhunt that we read about in the media?" He replied, "It’s not my position to give guarantees on anything." He referred me to the "ongoing criminal investigation" of a US soldier, Bradley Manning, an alleged whistleblower. In a nation that claims its constitution protects truth-tellers, the Obama administration is pursuing and prosecuting more whistleblowers than any of its modern predecessors. A Pentagon document states bluntly that US intelligence intends to "fatally marginalize" WikiLeaks. The preferred tactic is smear, with corporate journalists ever ready to play their part.
On 31 July, the American celebrity reporter Christiane Amanpour interviewed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on the ABC network. She invited Gates to describe to her viewers his "anger" at WikiLeaks. She  echoed the Pentagon line that "this leak has blood on its hands," thereby cueing Gates to find WikiLeaks "guilty" of "moral culpability." Such hypocrisy coming from a regime drenched in the blood of the people of Afghanistan and Iraq – as its own files make clear – is apparently not for journalistic enquiry. This is hardly surprising now that a new and fearless form of public accountability, which WikiLeaks represents, threatens not only the war-makers but their apologists.
Their current propaganda is that WikiLeaks is "irresponsible." Earlier this year, before it released the cockpit video of an American Apache gunship killing 19 civilians in Iraq, including journalists and children, WikiLeaks sent people to Baghdad to find the families of the victims in order to prepare them. Prior to the release of last month’s Afghan War Logs, WikiLeaks wrote to the White House asking that it identify names that might draw reprisals. There was no reply. More than 15,000 files were withheld and these, says Assange, will not be released until they have been scrutinized "line by line" so that names of those at risk can be deleted.
The pressure on Assange himself seems unrelenting. In his homeland, Australia, the shadow foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has said that if her right-wing coalition wins the general election on 21 August, "appropriate action" will be taken "if an Australian citizen has deliberately undertaken an activity that could put at risk the lives of Australian forces in Afghanistan or undermine our operations in any way." The Australian role in Afghanistan,  effectively mercenary in the service of Washington, has produced two striking results: the massacre of five children in a village in Oruzgan province and the overwhelming disapproval of the majority of Australians.
Last May, following the release of the Apache footage, Assange had his Australian passport temporarily confiscated when he returned home. The Labor government in Canberra denies it has received requests from Washington to detain him and spy on the WikiLeaks network. The Cameron government also denies this. They would, wouldn’t they? Assange, who came to London last month to work on exposing the war logs, has had to leave Britain hastily for, as he puts it, "safer climes."
On 16 August, the Guardian, citing Daniel Ellsberg, described the great Israeli whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu as "the pre-eminent hero of the nuclear age." Vanunu, who alerted the world to Israel’s secret nuclear weapons, was kidnapped by the Israelis and incarcerated for 18 years after he was left unprotected by the London Sunday Times, which had published the documents he supplied. In 1983, another heroic whistleblower, Sarah Tisdall, a Foreign Office clerical officer, sent documents to the Guardian that disclosed how the Thatcher government planned to spin the arrival of American cruise missiles in Britain. The Guardian complied with a court order to hand over the documents, and Tisdall went to prison.
In one sense, the WikiLeaks revelations shame the dominant section of journalism devoted merely to taking down what cynical and malign power tells it. This is state stenography, not journalism. Look on the WikiLeaks site and read a Ministry of Defense document that describes the "threat" of real journalism. And so it should be a threat. Having published skillfully the WikiLeaks expose of a fraudulent war, the Guardian should now give its most powerful and unreserved editorial support to the protection of Julian Assange and his colleagues, whose truth-telling is as important as any in my lifetime.  
I like Julian Assange’s dust-dry wit. When I asked him if it was more difficult to publish secret information in Britain, he replied, "When we look at Official Secrets Act labeled documents we see that they state it is offence to retain the information and an offence to destroy the information. So the only possible outcome we have is to publish the information."

Israel as a Rogue State 88

Formalizing Israel’s Land Grab

Posted on Aug 16, 2010
Editor’s Note: Chris Hedges’ next column will appear Sept. 6.


Time is running out for Israel. And the Israeli government knows it. The Jewish Diaspora, especially the young, has a waning emotional and ideological investment in Israel. The demographic boom means that Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories will soon outnumber Jews. And Israel’s increasing status as a pariah nation means that informal and eventually formal state sanctions against the country are probably inevitable.
Desperate Israeli politicians, watching opposition to their apartheid state mount, have proposed a perverted form of what they term “the one-state solution.” It is the latest tool to thwart a Palestinian state and allow Israel to retain its huge settlement complexes and land seizures in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The idea of a single state was backed by Moshe Arens, a former defense minister and foreign minister from the Likud Party, in a column he wrote last month in the newspaper Haaretz asking “Is There Another Option?” Arens has been joined by several other Israeli politicians including Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin.
The Israeli vision, however, does not include a state with equal rights for Jewish and Palestinians citizens. The call for a single state appears to include pushing Gaza into the unwilling arms of Egypt and incorporating the West Bank and East Jerusalem into Israel. Palestinians within Israeli-controlled territory, however, will remain burdened with crippling travel, work and security restrictions already in place. Palestinians in the occupied territories, for example, cannot reclaim lost property or acquire Israeli citizenship, yet watch as Jews born outside of Israel and with no prior tie to the country become Israeli citizens and receive government-subsidized housing. Palestinians in the West Bank live in a series of roughly eight squalid, ringed ghettos and are governed by military courts. Jews living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, like all full Israeli citizens, are subject to Israeli civilian law and constitutional protection. Palestinians cannot serve in the armed forces or the security services, while Jewish settlers are issued automatic weapons and protected by the Israel Defense Force.
If Israel sheds Gaza, which has 1.5 million Palestinians, the Jewish state will be left with 5.8 million Jews and 3.8 million Arabs. And, at least in the near future, Jews will remain the majority. This seems to be the main attraction of the plan.
The landscape of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, known as “facts on the ground,” has altered dramatically since I first went to Jerusalem over two decades ago. Huge fortress-like apartment complexes ring East Jerusalem and dominate the hillsides in the West Bank. The settler population is now more than 462,000, with 271,400 living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and 191,000 living in and around Jerusalem. The settler population has grown at the rate of 4.6 percent per year since 1990 while the Israeli society taken as a whole has grown at 1.5 percent.
The net effect of the Israeli seizure of land in East Jerusalem, which includes recent approval for an additional 9,000 housing units, and the West Bank is to promulgate a form of administrative ethnic cleansing. Palestinian families are being pushed off land they have owned for generations and evicted from their homes by Israeli authorities. Dozens of families, tossed out of dwellings they have occupied in East Jerusalem for decades, have been forced onto the streets. Groups such as Ateret Cohanim, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish private organization that collects funds from abroad, purchases Palestinian properties and pursues legal strategies to evict families that have long resided in East Jerusalem. Israel’s judicial system and police, in violation of international law, facilitate and enforce these evictions and land seizures.
Heavily armed settlers carry out frequent unprovoked attacks and ad hoc raids and house evictions to supplement the terror imposed by the police and military. They are the civilian arm of the occupation.
“This acquiescence in settler violence is particularly objectionable from the perspective of international humanitarian law because the settlers are already unlawfully present in occupied territory, making it perverse to victimize those who should be protected—the Palestinians—and offer protection to those who are lawbreakers—the settlers,” said Richard Falk when we spoke a few days ago. Falk is the U.N. special rapporteur who was denied entry into the occupied territories by the Israeli government.
Falk said that incorporating Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank into a single Israeli state would see Israel impose gradations of citizenship.
“If the Palestinians in pre-’67 Israel enjoy second-class citizenship, those in the West Bank and East Jerusalem will be given a third-class citizenship,” Falk said. “The real proposal, the envisioned outcome of this kind of proposal, is an extension of Israeli control over the occupied territory as a permanent reality. It is presently a de facto annexation. The creation of a single state would give the arrangement a more legalistic cover. It would seek to resolve the issue of occupied territory without the bother of international negotiations.”
“The effect is to fragment the Palestinian people in such defining ways as to make it almost impossible to envision the emergence of a viable Palestinian sovereign state,” said Falk. “The longer it continues, the more difficult it is to overcome, and the more serious are the abridgement of fundamental Palestinian rights.”
    NEXT PAGE >>> 


http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/formalizing_israels_land_grab_20100816/


Israel as a Rogue State 87

FOCUS: OPINION 
The roots of Israeli exceptionalism
 By Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti
http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/06/20106146372913751.html

Aggression immersed in victimhood is a striking reality of the Israeli discourse [GETTY] 
An American academic once told me: "Many people in the Islamic world think America does not believe in human rights, but they are wrong; America believes in human rights indeed, the problem is the American definition of human."
In other words: the American definition of 'human' is not a universal one. This is not purely an American characteristic; every culture faces the challenge of broadening its cultural limits and universalising its moral norms.
But among all human cultures and ideologies, the Israeli case is unique in its double standard.
Criminality wrapped in self-righteousness and aggression immersed in victimhood are a few striking characteristics of the Israeli reality and discourse.
The Israeli personality
The duality of "Israel's insistent emphasis upon its isolation and uniqueness, its claim to be both victim and hero," as Tony Judt wrote in Haaretz a few years ago, reflects the fragility and self-centeredness of the Israeli personality. This is not, unfortunately, exclusive to Israel's political elite, but rather it extends to their Zionist supporters worldwide, including those, such as novelist Elie Wiesel and philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who portray themselves in humanistic and aesthetic images.
I was profoundly moved by the graphic description of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust in Elie Wiesel's Night, which depicts his and his father's experience of a terrifying process that violates human life and degrades human dignity.
But I was struck by the tone of self-righteousness and self-justification in Wiesel's fictional Dawn, particularly when he writes: "The commandment thou shalt not kill was given from the summit of one of the mountains here in Palestine, and we were the only ones to obey it. But that all over ... in the days and weeks and months to come, you will have only one purpose: to kill those who have made us killers."
When the Jewish South African judge, Richard Goldstone, exposed Israeli war crimes in Gaza, Wiesel called that "a crime against the Jewish people". But this is simply an immoral use of past atrocities as a moral justification for present brutalities and oppression.
Moreover, one cannot but entertain two questions here: Firstly, what kind of moral claim does Wiesel, who was born of a Romanian father and a Hungarian mother, have over the divine call at Mount Sinai in the heart of a Middle Eastern desert? And secondly, by which moral or legal norm are the Palestinians of today responsible for the wrongdoings of the Germans of yesterday?
Self-serving myths
Israel uses past atrocities as a moral justification for present brutalities [GETTY]
The worst of this hypocritical language, however, can be found in Bernard-Henri Lévy's article about Israel's aggression against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla published in Haaretz on June 8, 2010.
Lévy presents himself in self-glorifying terms as being "someone who takes pride in having helped to conceive, with others, this kind of symbolic action ‏(the boat for Vietnam; the march for the survival of Cambodia in 1979)...".

But when it comes to Gaza's plight, Lévy simply dismisses the tragedy by denying the existence of the Israeli blockade and attacking easy targets, such as "the fascislamist government of Ismail Haniya" and "the Islamist gang who took power by force three years ago".
Thus, he shamelessly dismisses the grand effort of the multiethnic, multinational and religiously diverse group of humanistic leaders and activists on the Freedom Flotilla.
Moreover, Lévy lacks the objectivity to address the fascizionist - to borrow from his own terminology - gangs who aggressively invaded Palestinian land over six decades ago, and uprooted a whole population forcing them into the new Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps - Gaza and the West Bank.
Indeed, for those who put their selfish desires above the moral principles of justice and compassion, their self-serving myths are better in their eyes than the ugly truth.
Jewish humanistic intellectuals, such as Professor Tony Judt and musician Gilad Atzmon deplore Israel's self-indulgence and lack of maturity. Judt writes: "Israel still comports itself like an adolescent: consumed by a brittle confidence in its own uniqueness; certain that no one 'understands' it and everyone is 'against' it; full of wounded self-esteem, quick to take offence and quick to give it ... that it can do as it wishes, that its actions carry no consequences, and that it is immortal."
Atzmon writes: "We are dealing here with a uniquely and seriously disturbed immature nation. We are dealing with a self-loving narcissistic child .... The more the Israelis love themselves and their delusional phantasmic innocence, the more they are frightened that people out there may be as sadistic as they themselves proved to be. This behavioural mode is called projection .... Jews have a very good reason to be frightened. Their national state is a racist genocidal entity."
'Holocaustianity'
What is most disappointing, however, is not the Zionist self-righteousness and narcissism; rather it is the Western acceptance and support of this attitude - an attitude that is better understood when placed in a historical context.
The main theoretical basis of the acceptance of Israeli exceptionalism in Western culture is the diversion, mainly within the Protestant branch of Christianity, of the Christian incarnation of God in the person of Jesus to a new incarnation of God in the Jews as a people - the Chosen People.
This tendency started with Martin Luther (1483-1546) who subdued Christianity theologically and morally to the Jewish factor in his small epistle That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew. Luther wrote in that epistle: "When we are inclined to boast of our position, we should remember that we are but Gentiles, while the Jews are of the lineage of Christ. We are aliens and in-laws; they are blood relatives, cousins, and brothers of our Lord."
Through this Luther - who was paradoxically a staunch anti-Semite - inadvertently opened a theological window, that would centuries later allow the 'cult of Israel', as it has been dubbed by the American writer Grace Halsell, to replace Christianity in most Protestant denominations, especially among American Baptists. After all, what they are doing is no more than a literal implementation of Luther's deification of the Jews.
Professor Yvonne Haddad of Georgetown University's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding calls this heresy 'Holocaustianity'. And within this new heresy lie the roots of the Israeli exceptionalism.
Trivialising the Holocaust
 
Israel is becoming a moral burden for those who value social justice [GETTY]
Professor Judt writes that: "What Israel lost by its continuing occupation of Arab lands it gained through its close identification with the recovered memory of Europe's dead Jews." But he knows well that the memory of the dead is the worse moral justification for murdering innocents: "In the eyes of a watching world, the fact that the great-grandmother of an Israeli soldier died in Treblinka is no excuse for his own abusive treatment of a Palestinian woman waiting to cross a checkpoint. 'Remember Auschwitz' is not an acceptable response."
But that is exactly the kind of moral justification we have from the Israelis today.
When an advisor to Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, tried to attack Helen Thomas' remarks in which she said Israelis should "go home ... [to] Poland, Germany ..." all he did is remind her that some of his relatives were killed in Poland and Germany more than half a century ago, as if that is a good reason to starve the Palestinians to death and to kill humanitarian activists in international waters today.
After all, the Israeli politician was just confirming what Thomas said: you belong there; not here.
This is how the Holocaust memory, a memory of a human tragedy by any and every measure, is trivialised by Israeli criminality.
A moral burden
Many political thinkers and politicians have recently realised that Israel is becoming a liability and a strategic burden for the US. It has always been a strategic burden. But the problem is much deeper. Israel is becoming a moral burden on all those who have an ethical conscience, including Jews who value human dignity and social justice.
Even those who spent their lives advancing the Zionist cause are today realising the moral paradox of their life's achievement. Henry Siegman, a German-born American writer who served as the executive director of the American Jewish Congress from 1978 to 1994, wrote in Haaretz on June 11, 2010: "A million and a half civilians have been forced to live in an open-air prison in inhuman conditions for over three years now, but unlike the Hitler years, they are not Jews but Palestinians. Their jailers, incredibly, are survivors of the Holocaust, or their descendants."
All decent human beings must support the oppressed Palestinian against the Israeli oppressor.
The oppressed Arabs of Palestine (Muslims and Christians) are rendering through their suffering a great service to the entire body of humanity, by exposing the most self-centered and supremacist ideology in our world - an ideology that is wrapped today in a bloody sacredness.
Mohamed El-Moctar El-Shinqiti is an author in political history and history of religion. He is a research coordinator at Qatar Foundation.

woensdag 18 augustus 2010

The Empire 633

States of Paralysis: America's Surrender to the Spectacle of Terror

by: Henry A. Giroux, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
When our fears have all been serialized, our creativity censured, our ideas "marketplaced," our intelligence sloganized, our strength downsized, our privacy auctioned; when the theatricality, the entertainment value, the marketing of life is complete, we will find ourselves living not in a nation but in a consortium of industries, and wholly un-intelligible to ourselves except for what we see as through a screen darkly. -Toni Morrison(1)
As the link between the media and corporate power becomes more integrated, the visual theater of terror mimics the politics of the "official" war on terror. Echoing the discourse of the "official" war on terror, the violence of extremist groups as well as state-sanctioned and corporate violence are understood almost exclusively within the discourse of moral absolutes pitting good against evil. Whether it is former President George W. Bush's claim, "You are either with us or against us,"(2) or Osama bin Laden's injunction, "You are either a believer or an infidel,"(3) this is a repressive binary logic that not only comes from the mouth of too many politicians, but also saturates the media.
Within the current spectacle of politics, fear and the rhetoric of terror prevail. Obama's press secretary, Robert Gibbs, lashes out at leftist critics suggesting they are both losers and drug users. As Glenn Greenwald points out, Gibbs seems to be in denial over a number of substantive criticisms of the Obama administration raised by the left, including the fact they have "done so little about crisis-level unemployment, foreclosures and widespread economic misery," exhibited an "endless devotion to Wall Street," expanded "a miserable, pointless and unwinnable war that is entering its ninth year.... claimed the power to imprison people for life with no charges and to assassinate American citizens without due process, intensified the secrecy weapons and immunity instruments abused by his predecessor, ... found all new ways of denying habeas corpus.... granted full-scale legal immunity to those who committed serious crimes in the last administration [and] failed to fulfill - or affirmatively broken - promises ranging from transparency to gay rights.(4)
Many of these claims are also backed up by a recent ACLU report, which, as Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, states:
So, some of the places we point to in the report include the endorsement of indefinite detention for some of the people who are now held at Guantánamo, the failure to hold accountable the people who endorsed torture. The last administration built a framework for torture, but this administration, we say in the report, is building a framework for impunity. Allowing those senior officials who endorsed torture to get away with it leaves torture on the table as a permissible policy option, if not for this president, then for the next president.(5)
In spite of the seriousness of such claims, the possibility of genuine criticism coming from the left is dismissed by Gibbs through character assassination and the false and disabling lens of the friend/enemy distinction. The message is clear: any sort of criticism is to be associated with an unjustifiable attack, and any response must be directed toward a newly constituted enemy.
Sarah Palin shares the same culture of fear stage with Ben Quayle - son of former Vice President Day Quayle - who is running for Congress in Arizona. Palin titillates her audiences with a lock-and-load metaphor and carries her militant rhetoric to new extremes on her Facebook page, which "now carries a map featuring 20 gun sights, one for each of the Democrats targeted this year by her political action committee SarahPAC."(6) Quayle, who tells his audiences, "someone has to go to Washington and knock the hell out of the place,"(7) engages in mode of address that devalues reasoned debate and dialogue in favor of feeding an apocalyptic desire for destruction, fear and militarism.
Just as the necessity of fighting terror has become the central rationale for war by the Bush administration and the Obama regime, a visual culture of fear and humiliation has emerged, made ubiquitous by commercial television, the Internet and 24-hour cable news shows devoted to representations of the everyday violence, ranging from the spectacle of spousal abuse, extreme sports, reality TV and the ongoing pornographic violence of war that is fed to the public by "in bed" news reporters nightly.
The visual theater of terror, fear and humiliation aestheticizes politics while celebrating the glory and spectacle of a permanent war machine. At the same time, raw violence becomes stylized as it is integrated into audio-visual spectacles that shock and massage the mind and emotions with a theatricality of power and a steady regimen of fear, violence and vengeance. If the media are to be believed, every aspect of life, as Brian Massumi has argued, increasingly appears as "a workstation in the mass production line of fear."(8)
The spectacle of terror and fear has become America's chief source of entertainment, and not only requires a new conception of politics, pedagogy and society; it also raises significant questions about the new media and its centrality to democracy. Image-based technologies have redefined the relationship among the ethical, political and aesthetic. While "the proximity is perhaps discomforting to some, ... it is also the condition of any serious intervention"(9) into what it means to connect cultural politics to matters of political and social responsibility. This is especially true at a time when, as Frank Rich has pointed out, "We live in a culture where accountability and responsibility are forgotten vales."(10) The spectacle of terror and raw violence as entertainment along with the conditions that have produced it do not sound the death knell of democracy, but demand that we "begin to rethink democracy from within these conditions."(11)
How might we construct a cultural politics based on social relations that enable individuals and social groups to rethink the crucial nature of pedagogy, agency and social responsibility in a media-violence-saturated global sphere? How can we begin to address these new technologies within a democratic cultural politics that challenges religious fundamentalism, neoliberal ideology, militarism and the cult of mindless violent entertainment?
Such a collective project requires a politics that is in the process of being invented, one that has to be attentive to the new realities of power, global social movements and the promise of a planetary democracy. At stake here are both modes of critical education and public spheres that develops those modes of knowledge and skills needed to critically understand the new visual and visualizing technologies and their attendant screen culture, not simply as new modes of communication, but as structural forces and educational tools capable of expanding critical citizenship, animating public life and extending democratic public spheres.
It would be a mistake to simply align the new media exclusively with the forces of domination and commercialism, or what Allen Feldman calls "total spectrum violence."(12) Instead, what has to be stressed is the complex role of the new media within the larger political, social and communicative landscape. It is too easy either to overly romanticize the new image-based technologies or to simply dismiss them as new sources of oppressive control. Whether we are talking about the Internet, the emergence of powerful social media networks or the new digital technologies, what we cannot pretend is that these new information technologies represent a new utopia.
In fact, they are technologies supported by a formative culture that carries both the residues of dominant power and the possibilities of new forms of resistance. Even within the spectacle of terror, there are hints of structural forces and elements of resistance that could be used for emancipatory rather than oppressive purposes.
Historically, both the spectacle of the 9/11 bombings and the beheading videos that followed, communicated far more than grisly acts of terror and atrocity. They also "point[ed] to ... a new structural feature of the international state system: that the historical monopoly of the means of destruction by the state is now at risk."(13)
When Defense Secretary Robert Gates denounced the web site WikiLeaks for disclosing 75,000 classified documents about the Afghanistan war, he was not simply arguing that a security leak had taken place that might jeopardize state secrets, he was also implicitly acknowledging what the administration did not want the public to know. In this case that the leaks made public both the distortions and misrepresentations the government has used to defend the war. The buried order of politics in his condemnation of WikiLeaks is that the leak laid bare what Ray McGovern calls rightly the "brutality and fecklessness of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan" as well as making visible serious questions about the billions of dollars wasted in such a shameful and unnecessary war.(14) Similarly, such leaks not only revealed the power of the Internet and screen culture to challenge official power, they also indicted a fourth estate that has largely been bought and sold by corporate and political power.
At the same time, terrorist spectacles harbor great danger to both humanity and the fate of democracy. In complex ways, they illustrate how important it is to engage in struggles to defend democracy in part through attempts to reclaim the social media, public values, public spheres and the new emerging screen culture from the death-provoking, zombie politics of both state-sanctioned and stateless terrorists.(15)
The spectacle of terror, with its recognition of the image as a key force of social power, makes clear that cultural politics is now constituted by a plurality of sites of resistance and social struggle, offering up new ways for progressives to conceptualize how the media might be used to create alternative public spheres, as in, for instance, pirate radio, alternative film production, new interactive forms of communication, and so on.
Theorists such as Thomas Keenan, Mark Poster, Douglas Kellner and Jacques Derrida are right in suggesting that the new electronic technologies and media publics "remove restrictions on the horizon of possible communications"(16) and, in doing so, suggest new possibilities for engaging the media as a democratic force both for critique and for positive intervention and change. The spectacle of terror and its expanding culture of fear and cruelty, if examined closely, provide some resources for rethinking how the political is connected to particular understandings of the social; how distinctive modes of address are used to marshal specific identities, memories and histories; and how certain pedagogical practices are employed to mobilize a range of affective investments around images of trauma and suffering.
A democratic defense of the social and public values also has to be waged on another front, currently dominated by a market-driven discourse, by asking hard questions concerning not only how to imagine the basic elements of a social democracy, but also what it would mean to expand the reach of democratic values by placing limits on markets and the drive for efficiency, profits and privatization.
Equally important, a defense of common social goods, substantive equality, public services, redistribution of wealth, collective protection against risk, racial and economic justice, public ownership and critical education has to take place at a time when democracy is being endlessly invoked as a justification for the culture of fear. Any viable democracy requires informed citizens with access to information that enables them to govern rather than simply be governed. By reasserting a notion of democracy that rejects the concept of passive citizenry, it will be possible to resurrect the concept of an expansive social contract that views economic equality and difference as inseparable from political democracy.
Democracy implies an experience in which power is shared; dialogue is connected to involvement in the public sphere; competency is linked to intervention; and education enables a public capacity to deal with and respect differences that expand the range of values, capacities and social forms that inform public life.
Politicians now act as if a public and informed citizenry is irrelevant to politics itself. How else to explain the egregious call by Republicans for tax cuts for the rich and the cutting of social benefits for the millions of Americans who are unemployed, homeless, lack food and are suffering unimaginable hardships. House Minority Leader John Boehner denounces the Obama administration's $26 billion state-aid bill to save the jobs of 300,000 teachers and other public employees as irresponsible, claiming it is a "bailout to the teachers unions"(forgetting that the teachers' unions have no love for Obama's educational policies). At the same time, he calls for cutting the deficit and the taxes of the rich. This is a version of zombie politics where the living dead feed off the ailing, democratic polity.
Fear and terror are cultural constructs deeply embedded in diverse sites and locations in American culture. They now shape the cultural apparatus that haunts our dreams and destroys our political landscape.
Central to a rethinking of cultural politics is the issue of pedagogy both as a structural formation and as a moral and political practice. Pedagogy is now primarily public, no longer restricted to traditional sites of learning such as the school, family or place of worship. Diverse material contexts and institutional forces, such as conservative foundations in the United States, fund new sites for the dissemination of knowledge, ranging from radio, cable and television stations to high-speed Internet connections offering magazine and newspaper sites.(17) Think-tanks vie with pirate radio stations, alternative online zines and blogs. These diverse pedagogical sites also organize "personal and public structures of attention" within specific circuits of power as part of their attempt to reach distinct audiences.(18)
The combination of new technologies and diverse modes of circulation and interaction is mediated, in turn, through various interpretative communities, which both situate texts and confer meanings in ways that cannot be specified in advance. Meanings are received, but they are not guaranteed and posit an important terrain of struggle. And, while public pedagogy is the outgrowth of new public technologies,(19) the particular forms and ideologies it produces are almost always open to interpretation and resistance.
Roger Simon has suggested that there is a need for various individuals and groups to develop pedagogical practices, which encourage a form of attentiveness that enables audiences to engage in a dialogue with the stories told by spectacles of terror and fear, regardless of their source.(20) Such a pedagogy would reject the anti-intellectualism, the fear of critical dialogue and the general indifference to the stories of others that are embedded in the pedagogy of the spectacle.
In addressing what kind of pedagogical work is performed by the spectacle of terror and the culture of fear and cruelty, audiences would analyze, first, how their own gaze might be aligned with the insidious modes and bodies of power that participate in images of destruction, humiliation and fear; second, what is at stake in their attraction, expanding upon the highly individuated response solicited by the spectacle.
The experience of the spectacle must be critically examined by analyzing the power relations and institutions that make up its social networks, modes of storytelling. Crucial here is how the spectacle works to eliminate memory, history and reduce public issues to private concerns. How does the spectacle and the formative culture that support it, whether in the world of newspapers, television, the Internet, and other forms of public pedagogy undercut those modes of power, contexts and relations that can address a public rather than a merely private sensibility?
The spectacle of terror currently resonates with the entrenched spirit of social Darwinism, endemic to neoliberalism and the contemporary racial backlash. The spectacle of cruelty, consumption and terror paralyzes critical agency through the regressive retreat into privatized worries and fears and powerfully undermines all notions of dialogue, critical engagement and historical remembrance.(21) Against such a spectacle, there is the need for modes of critical education and social movements that value a culture of questioning, view critical agency as a condition of public life and reject voyeurism in favor of the search for justice.
The screen culture, which now envelopes our lives through a vast array of technologies ranging from smart phones to computers to televisions are is inextricably linked to how we understand ourselves and our relationship to others within a democratic global public sphere. But it also contributes to policies such as the racist laws being enacted in Arizona and other states, which exemplify the power of fear and the appeal to terror to short circuit any appeal to reason, justice and freedom. The cultural front is one of our most important pedagogical sites and it must be rethought, appropriated and used to reject the dystopian, anti-intellectual and often racist vision at work in the spectacle of terror and culture of fear and, in doing so, provide a language of both criticism and hope as a condition for rethinking the possibilities of the future and the promise of global democracy itself.
As Tony Judt reminds us in "Ill Fares the Land," we need a new language, a new way to think about politics, one that rejects the current cruel and zombie-like discourse reproduced endlessly by the rich and powerful, regardless of whether they are located in government or in the corporate world.
We need to begin from somewhere other than a market-driven language. We need to start from a discourse that imagines democracy in its most productive forms and what it would take to resist those forces that undermine it while imagining the policies, institutions, values and social relations that would give it substantive meaning. We need to rethink a new future out of the currently dismal present.
The discourse of the market privileges the needs and interests of the powerful and enshrines profit margins over human and environmental needs, while ignoring the vital concerns of those who need jobs, housing, public services, social protections, decent public schools, health care and a life with dignity and justice.
Arguing for tax cuts for the rich while cutting social services in the name of deficit reduction is a prime example of the discourse of injustice and privilege that now is touted as common sense in the political arena. This is really the discourse that accompanies a culture of cruelty and terror. Put differently, we need a language born out of critique and possibility - one that rejects the discourse of the rich, powerful and corporate elites while envisioning new kind of society in which wealth, freedom and justice benefit the common god and expand the rights and entitlements that provide a life of dignity to everyone.
Finally, any viable political and pedagogical struggle against the spectacle of terror and fear must work diligently to rescue the promise of a radical democracy from the clutches of religious, market and militaristic fundamentalists who have hijacked a once-rich social imagination, reducing politics to the rabid discourse of neoliberal individualism, the utterly sectarian impulses of the authoritarian values of a newly energized militarism.
Although the spectacle of terror and fear connects directly to affairs of state through the new media, any politics that matters will have to engage both the culture of the image and screen and those material relations of power and institutions on local, national and global levels that deploy information technologies.
Under the shadow of a growing authoritarianism, the spectacle of terror gives meaning to public life primarily through the modalities of xenophobia, violence and fear and, in doing so, makes shared irresponsible and unwarranted fears the condition of unity and surrendering dissent and freedom the condition of agency. Any effective challenge to the spectacle of terror and fear must embrace those strategies and movements willing to raise "democracy and politics to the global level at which capital seeks and enjoys its freedom from human ideas of decency and justice."(22)
This suggests that any viable oppositional politics must get beyond the growing isolation of intellectuals from the activist movements that are developing both within America and across the globe. As Stanley Aronowitz points out, a global politics cannot afford to ignore the new possibilities arising from the 1999 demonstrations by students and workers in Seattle, the "subsequent mass demonstrations at Quebec, Genoa and Spain against the key institutions of global capital and the development of the World Social Forum, whose location in Brazil's Porto Alegre was symbolic of a global shift, as both an attempt to create a new civil society and a post-9/11 continuation of the protests."(23) Integrating a global perspective and reclaiming the social as part of a broader democratic imaginary means drawing attention to the realities of power and authority and locating across multiple and diverse spaces and borders what Edward Said calls "the energy of resistance ... to all totalizing political movements and institutions and systems of thought."(24)
What can be learned from the democratic relations that are being developed in places such as Northern?(25) What is to be learned from the new South Africa as it mediates the legacy, torture and abuses of apartheid through the forging of a new state, legal system and set of social relations?(26) What is to be critically appropriated from oppositional cultures and their use of the new media as part of a large attempt to keep democracy alive? What might it mean to address the spectacle of terror and fear as part of a broader attempt to make education more political by developing social relations grounded in a sense of power, history, memory, justice, ethics and hope, all of which would be seen as central to connecting the new media to democratic struggles both in the US and abroad?
The spectacle of terror and fear has developed a singular focus of communication and control, in part because of the atrophy of public discourse. The central challenge here is to develop new forms of solidarity, new institutions and new public spheres in order to not only address the conditions of authoritarianism and various fundamentalisms, which increasingly generate a culture of fear and insecurity, but also provide new ways of dealing with and defusing the experiences of fear, threat and terror. Such a challenge points to the necessity of providing the public with an expanded vision and a productive sense of the common good, a new language for what it means to translate private considerations into public concerns and a deeply felt concern with how power can work in both the symbolic and material realms to produce vocabularies of critique and possibility in the service of a substantive and inclusive global democracy.
Footnotes:
1. Toni Morrison, "Racism and Fascism," The Nation 260:21 (May 29, 1995), p. 760.
2. President George W. Bush, "President Welcomes President Chirac to the White House," White House News Release, November 6, 2001, available online.
3. Adnan R. Kahn, "Piety and Profits," MacLeans.ca, December 27, 2004, available online.
4. Glenn Greenwald, "Robert Gibbs Attacks the Fringe Losers of the Left," Salon.com (August 10, 2010). Online here.
5. Amy Goodman, "As Gibbs Attacks Progressive Critics, ACLU Says Obama White House Enshrining Bush-Era Policies," Democracy Now!, (April 12, 2010). Online here.
6. Huffington Post, "Sarah Palin's PAC Puts Gun Sights On Democrats She's Targeting In 2010," (March 24, 2010). Online here.
7. Cited in Gail Collins, "More American Idols," New York Times (August 11, 2010), p., A31.
8. Brian Massumi, "Preface," in "The Politics of Everyday Fear," ed. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), p. viii.
9. Thomas Keenan, "Mobilizing Shame," The South Atlantic Quarterly 103:2/3, (Summer 2004), p. 447. Keenan explores the relationship between ethics and responsibility in even greater detail in his "Fables of Responsibility," (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997).
10. Frank Rich, "No One is to Blame for Anything," New York Times (April 11, 2010), p. Wk10
11. Jacques Derrida cited in Michael Peters, "The Promise of Politics and Pedagogy in Derrida," Review of Education/Pedagogy/Cultural Studies (in press).
12. Allen Feldman, "On the Actuarial Gaze: from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib," Cultural Studies 19:2 (March 2005), p. 212.
13. Retort (Ian Boal, T.J.Clark, Joseph Matthews and Michael Watts), "Afflicted Powers - the State, the Spectacle and September 11," New Left Review 27, (May/June 2005), p. 17.
14. Ray McGovern, "WikiLeaks Bombshell Docs Paint Afghan War as Utter Disaster - Will We Finally Stop Throwing Money and Lives at This Catastrophe?," AlterNet, (July 29, 2010). Online here.
15. I take this up in more detail in "Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism," (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, forthcoming).
16. Jürgen Habermas, "Theory of Communicative Action," Vol. 2. "Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason," trans. Thomas McCarthy (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1987), p. 390.
17. Lewis H. Lapham, "Tentacles of Rage - The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History," Harper's Magazine, September 2004, pp. 31-41.
18. Sharon Sliwinski, "A Painful Labour: Responsibility and Photography," Visual Studies 19, no. 2 (2004): 148.
19. Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar and Elizabeth A. Povinelli, "Technologies of Public Forms: Circulation, Transfiguration, Recognition," Public Culture 15, no. 3 (2003): 385-397.
20. See Roger I. Simon, Mario DiPaolantoni and Mark Clamen, "Remembrance as Praxis and the Ethics of the Inter Human," Culture Machine, (October 24, 2004). Online here.
21. Some excellent sources on neoliberalism are Pierre Bourdieu, "Acts of Resistance," (New York: Free Press, 1989); Noam Chomsky, "Profit over People: Neoliberalism and the Global Order," (New York: Seven Stories Press, 1999); Zygmunt Bauman, "The Individualized Society," (London: Polity Press, 2001); Colin Leys, "Market Driven Politics," (London: Verso, 2001); Jean and John Comaroff, eds., "Millennial Capitalism and the Culture of Neoliberalism," (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001); Doug Henwood, "After the New Economy," (New York: The New Press, 2003); Kevin Phillips, "Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich," (New York: Broadway, 2003); Paul Krugman, "The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century," (New York: W.W. Norton, 2003); David Harvey, "The New Imperialism," (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003); Lisa Duggan, "The Twilight of Equality: Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics and the Attack on Democracy," (Boston: Beacon Press, 2003); Henry A. Giroux, "Against The Terror of Neoliberalism," (Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2008).
22. Daniel Leighton, "Searching for Politics in an Uncertain World: Interview with Zygmunt Bauman," Renewal: A Journal of Labour Politics 10, no. 1 (Winter 2002): 14.
23. Stanley Aronowitz, "The Retreat to Postmodern Politics," Situations 1, no. 1 (April 2005), p. 43.
24. Edward W. Said, "Power, Politics and Culture: Interviews With Edward W. Said," ed. Gauri Viswanathan (New York: Vintage Books, 2001), p. 65.
25. I want to thank Roger Simon for this suggestion.
26. Some of the most important work on South Africa and postcolonialism can be found in various essays by John and Jean Comaroff. See, for example, John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff, "Nurturing the Nation: Aliens, Apocalypse and the Post Colonial State," Journal of South African Studies 27, no. 3 (September 2001): 627-651; John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff, "Cultural Policing in Postcolonial South Africa," (Chicago: American Bar Federation, 1999); John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff, "Reflections on the Colonial State, in South Africa and Elsewhere: Factions, Fragments, Facts and Fictions," Social Identities 4, no. 3 (October 1998): 321-361; and John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff, eds., "Civil Society and Political Imagination in South Africa," (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).