October 18, 2004
"I have consulted the masters of science; I have read a hundred volumes of philosophy, law, political economy, and history: would to God that I had lived in a century in which so much reading had been useless! I have made every effort to obtain exact information, comparing doctrines, replying to objections, continually constructing equations and reductions from arguments, and weighing thousands of syllogisms in the scales of the most rigorous logic. In this laborious work, I have collected many interesting facts which I shall share with my friends and the public as soon as I have leisure. But I must say that I recognized at once that we had never understood the meaning of these words, so common and yet so sacred: justice, equity, liberty; that concerning each of these principles our ideas have been utterly obscure; and, in fact, that this ignorance was the sole cause, both of the poverty that devours us, and of all the calamities that have ever afflicted the human race."
(Swans - October 18, 2004) MARTIAN QUESTION: Let's say, for argument's sake, that the current occupying forces in Iraq were not Americans or Brits but armies from the [former] Soviet block -- like 1980s Afghanistan -- how would Bush and Kerry refer to the "insurgency" and the "terrorists?" Answer: Resistance and Freedom (or is it "Freedoom"?) Fighters, Duh!
QUOTE FOR THE AGES: "Blaming any party will not bring back my dead son. It seems that 25 million people will die before the democracy is achieved in this country.''
—Najam Hussein weeping over his dead child Ali Najam (cited in, "Iraqis Blame U.S. for Massacre of Children," by Sameer N. Yacoub, The Guardian, October 2, 2004).
LIZ BURBANK of Seattle, WA, writes in regard to my Blips #3: "Quite a shock & disappointment that Gilles d'Aymery did not draw the logical conclusion to his devastating & hilarious exposure of imperialist 'dumbocracy', that IT'S THE SYSTEM, STUPID, and the only solution is to build a revolutionary international anti-US imperialist-Zionist movement -- NOT to stay locked in the deadly electoral trap, wasting precious time & energy supporting the same political-economic system & its agenda for world domination by picking another "lesser-of the-evils" rep. of capitalism!" She adds separately, "please, know that my critical comments are made in a comradely spirit."
WELL, LET ME answer in the same comradely spirit. Liz, you may be justly disappointed -- sorry for not being up to the task! -- but, had you followed my writing for the past few years, you should certainly not be shocked (though are gladly forgiven, for you appear to have discovered Swans only recently). I am not -- never have been -- in the sloganeering business. Neither am I into facile generalizations and rough amalgams. I know, I know, there must be much satisfaction gained from rushing to the Internet barricades and shouting from behind one's computer screen, "Viva la Revolución," "Down with Capitalism," "Death to America," "the only solution [emphasis added] is to build a 'revolutionary international anti-US imperialist-Zionist' movement" (wow, that was a long one...try to say it out loud!), and countless other catchphrases. Looks good, eh? Feels good, right? Time for a glass of Chablis, no?
UNDOUBTEDLY, there's a "market" for this kind of perfunctory declamations -- they help rallying the troops, I hear...and would it not be cool if the famed revolution occurred? What it would entail, no one says, though... As William Blum remarked a few weeks ago, "[V]iolent revolution, if successful [my emphasis], would be a more efficient manner of effecting progressive social change, but it can be awfully messy;" and he suggested that we concentrate our efforts on building a third party. Meanwhile, self-proclaimed "revolutionaries" (no need to name names, Liz, you know them as well as I do) have been cajoling -- and admonishing in light of the current scarecrow (or is he a scarabaeus?) -- their congregations from the height of their anointed pulpits -- revolutionary, mind you -- to hold their nose, vote for Kerry, postpone "movement" building till November 3...and please send the money so that we may carry our vital work onto the coming revolution!
DARN, LIZ, there's even a bunch of apostles of the "antiwar movement" calling to vote for Kerry, a pro-war candidate...non, mais, seriously!
SORRY, BUT, to paraphrase Achille Chavée, I'm an old Indian who's always had difficulties walking single file; and while I do not profess to know the medications or the proper surgical procedures to cure the disease, I certainly know what has been tried again and again without achieving any positive results, hence do not feel the need to repeat the same shibboleths.
AS TO ROUGH AMALGAMS, like the one conflating US imperialism with Zionism, sorry again Liz, but I have no intention to echo, or join the Raimondos and Christisons of this world (strange allies, no? CounterPunch and Antiwar). These are muddy waters that I am not prepared to tread in (and I also think that it does a grave disservice to the Palestinian legitimate aspirations). But I don't have to repeat myself here. Just read the second part of my review of Cockburn & St. Clair's Politics of Anti-Semitism. Amusingly, and between parentheses, Jeffrey St. Clair has left my e-mails unanswered ever since I published that review's second part!
THINK ABOUT IT for a second, Liz; Counterpunch and Antiwar, nice, catch-all titles, no? Both working the same crowd on the fringes; both advancing the view that a tiny, nefarious country controls the huge, as nefarious behemoth; both hammering the "fact" that a Jewish cabal -- the Likud and its American quislings (Jewish themselves, of course) -- made Bush invade Iraq...the "Jewish elite" dominating the goyims... right, err, sure, err, but of course, that is, that is it: here are the bad boys of the International Judeo-Christian conspiracy, Skull & Bones, Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg, et al., fully in the pocket of the "Jews," (except when the Bushies were supporting Hitler, but sure enough so did some "Jews," and what about the Palestinian Arabs -- they too were in cahoots with Hitler, so says whom? The "Jews," of course). I mean please, I could go on ad vitam eternam, the idiocy of the tale will keep warming the cottages for eons. Unfortunately, I do not have eons in front of me.
SAY HELLO to the Christisons on my behalf, and kindly remind them that their CIA pedigree should drive them to be more intellectually humble (how often have CIA analysts been right in the past?).
DID I MUTTER intellectual humility here above? How inconsiderate of me; my apologies to humility and intellect. When was the last time an American was humble enough to reckon the existence of the intellect? Oops, sorry, totally unpatriotic statement... Should be deported, feathered, lynched, burned on the cross, till, like Socrates, I recant.
I AM NO SOCRATES: No need to recant, then.
AGAIN, DEAR LIZ, I regret your disappointment but I hope to have dispelled the shocking part of your reaction. And remember, A VOTE FOR NADER IS A VOTE FOR SANITY. Comradely said, etc., etc., etc.
FRIENDLY FIRE: A 13-year-old Palestinian girl was killed in the Gaza strip last week. Her body was riddled with some 20 bullets holes. The girl was walking in what is termed by the Israeli Army, "suspicious circumstances." It was thought that she was perhaps carrying a bomb... Her bag only contained schoolbooks... Once shot to death, the Israeli company commander first "confirmed the killing" by shooting two bullets into the girl's already dead body, and then emptied his magazine... As soldiers under his command said, after reporting this savagery, "[he] turned us all into vicious animals and besmirched us all..." Yes, that's what it very much looks like from this Martian observing post.
"DAYS OF PENITENCE" is the name of the operation launched by the Israeli Defense Forces in the Gaza strip on September 28: As of October 12, over 100 Palestinians have been killed, 24 of those killed were under age 17. One was a 9-year-old girl. An 11-year-old schoolgirl was shot in the stomach as she sat in a classroom inside the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. A stray bullet, perhaps? Sure, and last month it was a 10-year-old girl who was shot to death in the same school while sitting at her desk... How long, how long, will it take for Israelis to reject this descent into utter abjection? How long, how long indeed, will it take for Jewish Americans to say, "enough is enough?"
EVEN HENRY SIEGMAN can't stomach the latest and open "revelations" by Ariel Sharon's éminence grise, Dov Weissglas, that the so-called disengagement in Gaza is actually a political strategy to burry the "road map" and preclude any form of viable Palestinian state, or any peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Says Weissglas, for the peace process to resume, the "Palestinians would have to turn into Finns." Also, "[E]ffectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda," and in regard to the disengagement in Gaza, "[it] is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians." Siegman concludes that there won't be anything that looks like a Palestinian state, "anything more than a collection of isolated bantustans under Israel's complete control." ("Spelling out Sharon's real plan," Henry Siegman, The International Herald Tribune, October 13, 2004.)
CERTAINLY, HENRY SIEGMAN must be a "self-hating Jew," right? Actually, he is a senior fellow on the Middle East at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a former executive head of the American Jewish Congress -- not exactly the definition of a radical... Siegman asserts that the Sharon, or any right wing, government will never accept a Palestinian State in the Occupied Territories. True enough, but one wonders how long it will take for Siegman et al. to acknowledge that no government, whether Labor or Likud, has ever accepted the existence of a Palestinian state in the Occupied Territories (Israel, by the way, does not even accept the legal construct: the Territories are disputed, not occupied), all the way back to ol' Ben Gurion and even further back to Herzl.
AND HERE IS where Siegman's discourse may be slightly disingenuous. The dreadful problem, he states, has to do with the right wing government, not with the policies of the state of Israel. Get Labor in power and the "peace process" will resume its long march toward a just solution. So, like the ABBers in the U.S., we now have the ABSers (Anybody But Sharon) in Israel. This is not a far-fetched analogy. Bush and Co. have increasingly been described as Likudniks; these guys have gone too far, implemented policies so extreme that the smoldering international uproar is spreading all over the world. Even worse, calls for having Israel annex the occupied/disputed Territories in their entirety and grant citizenship to all the Palestinians have been surfacing of late -- and this, were it to happen, would deal a death blow to the Zionist historical vision. Furthermore, Israelis -- or at least Israel's elites -- are concerned that they may become more isolated and turned into a pariah state (cf. the internal report by Israel Foreign Ministry's Center for Political Research; see http://asia.news.yahoo.com/041013/ap/d85mmucg0.html). So, here come the firefighters to the rescue -- Kerry for the U.S., a Laborite (Peres?) in Israel. The Lib-Labs, fearful of the extremes, and the antiwar do-gooders, exhausted from being marginalized and ignored, swallow the bait. At least, they pray, it will provide time to recoup, regroup, re-strategize, re-hope, re-source to the fountain of their illusions and -- see how the minds and hearts operate -- it will put a brake on the dire conditions of the Palestinians (how can't you see this, oh, you, infantile radicals?).
BUT THERE IS A CATCH: The policy of the state of Israel is to grab all the land -- ALL the land, de-populated of its inhabitants. This was true in the late 19th century; true too in 1948; and true to this very day...and counting -- the land, yes; the Indians, no.
PROVE ME WRONG! Show me, or point me toward, an official document by the state of Israel that recognizes the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to have a state within the geographical area about which we are talking (that's the BIG catch) and where so much blood is being shed. I challenge you, dear readers, friends and foes: Show me.
INDIAN COUNTRY: Well there is not much left in the U.S., neither Indians nor country, but Indian Country endures in the American psyche. For cause: According to Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, "'Indian Country' is a military term of trade, a technical term, such as 'collateral damage' and 'ordnance,' which appears in military training manuals and is used on a regular basis. 'Indian Country' is the military term for 'behind enemy lines.'" Dunbar-Ortiz adds, "[I]ts current use should serve to remind us of the origins and development of the U.S. military, as well as the nature of our political and social history: annihilation unto unconditional surrender."
POVERTY has risen in America (what's new?). Phone companies are increasing their rates by xx%; gas is up, propane and fuel oil is up -- in some cases 20 percent and more; Medicare is up 17%; public schools and education are down over 10%, healthcare insurance is up by double digits; local taxes are up, road maintenance is down, local services are on the brink of insolvency (though their administrators take home healthy salaries and get yearly increases);
THEN AGAIN, ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, the market works... Look at Orlando Pita who's opening Orlo, a Salon in down Manhattan. There, you'll be able to get your trendy haircut for a mere $800, a couple of hundred more than Sally Hershberger, who's charged $600 for taking care of your kingly hair for a few moons. They both aim for inclusiveness, and Sally will tell you that competition and the free market are good for business. With your hair done, you may as well have attended the celebrated 50th collection of Dries van Noten last week on the outskirts of Paris (yes, the French know everything about savoir vivre). Mr. van Noten had invited 500 guests to a sit-down dinner, on both sides of a 450-foot long table with three-course linen and flatware. Gorgeous models walked on top, along the table, between the main course and dessert. It was charming... Way to live the French/Belgium way! Too bad, Concorde has been retired...you could have compared your Manhattan coiffure with that of Jun Takahashi.
WHAT ARE YOU WHINING ABOUT? It takes a lot of Iraqi blood and poverty to afford such self-indulgent pleasure, you frown? But then, think about what H.L. memorably said in 1949: " In Italy, for thirty years, under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed -- but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."
"So long, Holly," H.L. added. That "so long" has gone on for xxxx years...and counting.
BOONVILLE NEWS: None, just digging my cave...
And so it goes...
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