July 19, 2006

True/False Passports










































"In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely, and without passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers. "
-Herman Melville


Israel has displaced, as we have seen, those who flee by foot, by hoof, by bus, by Mercedes, by BMW, by Jeep, by French or American Helicopters, etc., They have not diplaced them equally and the US media is not afraid to risk capsizing the weight of their reports by doggedly focusing on the airlfting of those with the proper passports, all the while unilaterally labeling Israeli strikes as against Hezbollah targets. The vast majority of Israel's savage strikes have been against civilians and civilian infastructure.

As usual it will be the poor who will suffer the most for not being able to leave, it will be the poor who will also refuse to give up their homes to the Zionists, and as usual it will be (and has been thus far) the poor who will resist epically.

I needn't identify the nationality of this corpse; were she the "correct" nationality this would be one of the most famous pictures in the world.

The passports of bombs and rockets, however, are given a mistier treatment. For instance, a missle fired by Hezbollah is unfailingly referred to as "Iranian" whereas an Israeli shell is almost never identified as "American". Perhaps the massive number of Israeli bombs justifies their shrouded identity; well over 9,000 US made shells have been fired into Lebanon by the Israeli aggressors in just one week -- not to mention US missles, the US jets that carry them, and as yet unidentified American weapons of mass destruction being used on the civilian population in Gaza.

Robert Fisk (the British journalist who lives in Beirut and always provides valuable on-the- ground reports from the Middle East) has even stooped, in this degraded time, to begging for some sort of class/culturally based outrage over Israel's arrogance and boundless barbarism:

"It amazes me -- I mean, living here in Beirut, as I have for 30 years. Here are the Lebanese people, sophisticated, educated, cosmopolitan, people who don't look like the Arab world, they look like us; I mean, people who could be quite at home on the streets of Paris or New York and London, and some of them are; people who read, who are very well educated; people who speak English fluently, French beautifully, and fluent Arabic."

Indeed it is shocking, especially insofar as Europe has given up the ghost on its own visage in Lebanon, but no more so than the concurrent occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq, and most critically, Gaza and the West Bank.

The left needs to unify its outrage in the face of the spurious 'clash of civilizations' mantra of the capitalists. If one has the suspicion that Chavez is right, that the capitalist/imperalist US (as it exists today, and has long before Bush) will NOT last another 100 years...then the left must focus on facilitating that fall...This requires mass solidarity with ALL who are oppressed and exploited by the US and its facilitators, across all supposed cultural lines. Class IS tied up with culture, we can't deny that: mass culture is inseperable from mass production and signification, but everyone on the planet is subject to the FACT that almost nothing is purely signification, that material conditions provide existence. Why be afraid of this knot (in the same stomach that must be filled from day to day)? I say we use it as a basis for renewed human solidarity and revolution. This requires signification; signification is not sinful; and this is where cinema comes back in...

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