Reactionary Reflexivity: Sealing the Iron Dome on Media Coverage of Gaza, Part One
Tuesday, 16 July 2024 02:30

Reactionary Reflexivity: Sealing the Iron Dome on Media Coverage of Gaza, Part One

Part One of two articles on the modern media, by Dennis Broe. Image above: The New York Times: Is Any of Their News Fit to Print? 

There was a time, before postmodernism had atrophied and before it simply became a formal textual strategy for ignoring what is going on in the world, when one of the early postmodern bywords “reflexivity” connoted a kind of fun and carefree field of play with a satirical overtone that made all kinds of intertextual relations possible.

In today’s media field, however, reflexivity is a trick used to seal the discussion and make sure that the limited media boundaries of discourse are never breached. In literature there is the rise of narcissism in autofiction (Karl Ove Knausgård’s A Death in the Family) or of an infinite play of incestuous signifiers in metafiction (Mark Haddon’s The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night).

In film and television, the earlier exposure of the wires of the cinematic apparatus has given way to complexification as a trope that conceals the fact that there is no actual referent outside the apparatus. Thus, Marvel’s Loki maps the possibilities of the online world of diverging timelines which do nothing but reify and promote Facebook’s virtual and now failing (as is the Marvel formula) Meta World.

Loki serie

Loki and Meta World - limited, not infinite 

This predilection though is most overwhelmingly dominant in the mainstream corporate media’s coverage of what is happening in Gaza. The New York Times continually uses the trick of linking as an assertion of proof to stories by… The New York Times. A recent article purported to be perplexed at, despite the supposed groundswell and its attendant pressure, why the Writer’s Guild had not condemned the October 7 uprising. However, the “groundswell” and the pressure was mainly coming from…The New York Times. The media bubble validates itself and makes it seem that it is part of an overall movement when in fact the stories originate from the same source or sources, all behind a hermetically sealed bubble.

Reflexivity, no longer a playful and potentially satirical device, has hardened into simply a means of a minority maintaining power and acting like they are the majority, as now most of the people in the U.S., from no matter what party, favour a ceasefire in Gaza. That fact is seldom acknowledged in the corporate media bubble, as CNN initially forbid the word “genocide” from ever being emitted on its soundstages, and as the New York Times in a memo to its staff equally forbade “genocide” as well as “ethnic cleansing” and “occupied territory.”

NYTBias The Intercept SCREEN

The News Not Fit to Print 

Those words were only then adopted and in a limited and “italicized” format when it became clear that most of the American public, the media audience, was resisting the one-way coverage. The boundary around which “civilized” media discussion is permitted is sometimes called ‘The Overton Window’.

The window may shift depending on public opinion but there are narrow limits beyond which corporate media will not allow. To suggest for example that October 7 was not a terrorist attack but rather, as George Galloway described it on YouTube, “a prison breakout”; or to point out that Joe Biden soiled himself as he used D-Day to campaign for more war; or that Biden’s emergency aid port in Gaza was used by the Israelis in a mass slaughter in Gaza, where the Israelis besides killing and wounding over 1000 people freed 4 hostages but killed 3 others, all these are outside the window.

If they do make their way into corporate media coverage they do so as an aside dropped in in the middle of a discourse that rationalizes the other actions: i.e., D-Day where the Germans, the cause of the invasion, are invited and the Russians, who largely rid Europe of the Nazis, are not, is a glorious event; that Biden’s port is a humanitarian endeavor; and that the “daring” Israeli raid was a courageous act akin to the Mossad’s freeing of the hostages at Entebbe instead of a war crime.

The Times will often backtrack, as they did on the Israeli attack on the Palestinian camp in the hostage release story and the next day ‘reassess” what actually went on, but the impression is formed in the first 24-hour news cycle. If, as in this case, the media files an assessment the next day, it is then countered, as was this story, a day later in a return to the “heroic” tale, most likely after the outlet has been chastised by its State Department masters. The Overton Window in the case of coverage of Gaza is an Israeli Iron Dome through which little alternative coverage penetrates.

The Perversion of Reflexivity

The coalescing of self-referential trends in postmodern thought was outlined in Robert Stam’s Reflexivity in Film and Literature in 1985. Stam’s work, describing what he termed this “other tradition,” drawing on literary texts including Rabelais, Lawrence Sterne and his “ur text” Cervantes’ Don Quixote, focused attention on the process of “the construction of the fictive ‘world’ through writing [and no longer] through consciousness.

Besides the playful aspect of these references, Stam argued that the political thrust of this tradition, carried forward most notably by Brecht and which in film and literature has continued to expand, is that by “drawing attention to the process of the construction of the fictive world,” these works “lay bare the material construction of the text.” By pointing to their own textual constructs, they “break with art as enchantment.”

The argument is that reflexive examples – and in cinema Stam’s ur texts are by Jean-Luc Godard – “interrupt the flow of narrative in order to foreground the specific means of literary and filmic production through such methods as “narrative discontinuities, authorial intrusions, essayistic digressions, stylistic virtuosities.” The accumulation of these strategies is “playful, parodic and disruptive” demystifying “our naïve faith in fictions while opening new vistas for literary and cinematic expression as a whole in a double movement of “celebratory fabulation and demystifying critique.”

Stam’s argument is highly nuanced, acknowledging that there is a perennial tension between illusionism, though here presented negatively as “substantiated fact,” and reflexivity which “points to its own mask and invites the public to examine its design and texture.” Aware also of the fact that “the reflexivity of a certain avant-garde is eminently co-optable and easily reappropriated by the hegemonic culture” and that forms of television reflexivity including commercials and that employed by the direct address of the audience by TV news “rather than trigger alienation effects” “often simply alienate.”

The book’s appearance in the mid-80s was at the time when these techniques were passing over into the mainstream, being employed on network TV for example in the constant debunking of the staid devices of late-night talk shows by NBC’s David Letterman and Showtime’s meta series It’s Gary Shandling’s Show about a comedian named Gary Shandling who lived in Sherman Oaks with actual friends and neighbors such as Tom Petty popping in to say hello.

The trend toward reflexivity though has hardened. Instead of a progressive deconstructive device, the movement of “the process made visible,” now part of its own genre termed metafiction, is often seen, instead of expansionary, as “a symptom of literary exhaustion.” And not creativity but narcissism is the description now most often levelled at this hardening of literary reflexivity.

It was, as one critic put it, as if the novel had no more territory to develop and so it turned inward on itself in a kind of “spectre of infinite regress.” This is a frenzy of a style whose most salient characteristic is not its exposure of the means of literary production but rather its construction of an interior world hermetically sealed from the actual one.

What is driving this regress and retreat is a failure to confront the triple dangers of an ever more rapid escalation toward nuclear war, unheeded climate catastrophe, and ever increasing inequality, marked by an attack on the working and middle classes under the claim of fighting inflation and the creation of more low paying jobs in a condition now called “in work poverty.”

Trump and Biden

No wonder that (bourgeois) artists are now “committed only to endless, self-indulgent textual play,” which in the end is a mirror of the sealed-off quality of the Western, imperialist, settler-colonial world that is even now being surpassed and isolated by the Global South in forms such as the BRICS alliance. In a sense metafiction, sometimes seen as a harbinger of the end of the novel, is, as is the candidacy of the geriatric defenders of an ever more oligarchic “Free World” Trump and Biden, also a harbinger of the end or exhaustion of the West and in particular of Western bourgeois democracy.

This aesthetic practice, in an era of increasing financialization and ever more rapid deindustrialization, has its “reflexive” echo in the economic practice of stock buybacks where companies instead of productive investment pump up the value of their own stock to further reward already wealthy shareholders.

These parallels also help to explain why literary and cinematic metafiction has broken through to enter the privileged mainstream of a public consciousness now imbued with these values.

Whereas for Stam, “A socially strategic reflexivity…can lay bare the devices of art while exposing the mechanisms of society,” that moment may have passed into simple reaffirming of a closed world.

 db2    db

David Letterman, before and after

Take the aforementioned examples of David Letterman and Gary Shandling. Letterman’s rabid critique and exposing of the money-grubbing, penny-pinching methods of General Electric’s ownership of NBC was bounded by his not getting The Tonight Show host job. When he then was awarded the CBS equivalent, the satirical exposing element of the reflexivity disappeared and hardened, as in metafiction, into complicated games playing.

It must be noted that Shandling, who never got a job as a late-night host, went on to create one of the most vicious exposés of the vacuousness and backbiting of late night entertainment culture in The Larry Sanders Show, but here the reflexive elements of his previous series receded and the more overt satirical elements came to the fore.

In series TV production, the element of reflexivity has combined with a hardening of generic conventions to produce, with mixed results, series which reflect on their own generic construction, seen in the continual film noir clips viewed by the movie-loving detective in Sugar and the meta-references and sometimes deconstruction of cinematic depiction of the Vietnam War in the spy series about the end of that war, The Sympathizer.

While the reflexive elements harden, actual attempts to overturn the generic codes are instead discarded. Take the example of the BBC’s Channel 4 2004 series NY-LON, a romcom where in the end none of the three couplings are successful and the main romance flounders on the opposition of the bohemian female to the lifestyle of a banker. That rewriting of the genre was never pursued and the romcom promptly returned to happily ever after.

TheCurse 110 1364 RT 2400x1350

The Curse, orbiting the earth and leaving critique behind 

Perhaps the most vacuous use of the meta-reflexive trend was in the final episode of The Curse, (23) a series about the greed and hypocrisy of gentrifying land developers which instead of driving home that critique becomes simply an epic and literal flight of fancy and manages to nearly abolish what had gone before. Needless to say that bastion of bourgeois reflexivity The New York Times hailed the episode as a series breakthrough.

Conclusion: Toppling Another Postmodern Icon

There is another pillar of postmodern thought that is equally in danger of collapsing, and that is “post-colonialism.” The discipline came to the fore in the two decades of the 1990s and the first decade of the new millennium, a time of US unipolar dominance. Post-colonialism itself, whose founding tenet is that there is no separating the imbrication of the colonizer and the colonized, is a kind of compromise formation. The push of Global South scholars for equality was met by a pushback by Anglo and Western scholars fearful that this area of study would leave no place for Western intellectuals. So was born, in the wake of and, partially as a reaction to, 40 years of revolutionary activity, an imperative to put studies of the colonial center back at the heart of the debate.

What is happening though is similar to what Freud claimed with Dora: reality is intervening and curing the neurosis. The emergence of BRICS and the resistance of the Global South, first to being enlisted in the Ukraine war and then in general to being made a part of three global wars against Russia, China and Iran that would decimate the world and halt the drive for development of those in the majority of the world, is hastening a questioning of whether in key ways the Global South may go its own way and throw off the yoke of colonial “imbrication,” with the new key word being “sovereignty,” the ability of each of these countries to pursue their own path to development.

New anti-colonial movements in eg Niger and New Caledonia are calling “imbrication” into question as these areas demand control of their own resources, uranium in the former and nickel in the latter. As they do the Western media responds by disingenuously attacking these movements as “undemocratic.”

The New York Times following Le Monde lauded an amendment proposed by New Caledonia’s colonial overlord Emmanuel Macron to allow more French citizens in the territory to vote, which the Times described, “a move toward full democracy.” What the story leaves out is that the move is a trick to extend the franchise to more French voters in order to shut out the demands of the Kanaks, the indigenous movement, for independence and keep the nickel, crucial for future development of batteries, under French control.

Here media reflexivity and post-colonialism go hand in hand, with both operating to sustain Western power as that power is rapidly decaying and becoming increasingly irrelevant in ever more expanding economic regions and intellectual spheres of the world.

Tyrant
Tuesday, 16 July 2024 02:30

Tyrant

Published in Poetry

Tyrant

by Pete Godfrey, with image above by Martin Gollan

Never have we seen one quite like this,
Empty of respect or feeling, King Disdain,
Terror his watchword, bombs his calling card,
Antipathy towards those of different faiths.
No god or devil could have dreamed him up
Yet here he is, a human wrecking-ball
Adamant Gaza’s made rubble, Palestinians too.
Hubris will fell him, stop his sorry project dead,
Unveil delusions there are lesser beings (I speak as a Jew). 

Jaffa
Tuesday, 16 July 2024 02:30

Jaffa

Published in Poetry

Jaffa{used to be a byword for a succulent orange

by Steven Taylor

Before you say I’m antisemitic

He wasn’t Jewish

But there was a child in our class
at St. George’s (kindergarten)
who kept stabbing other girls
and boys with leaded pencils

It didn’t seem to bother him
how much pain he caused

The teacher warned him
repeatedly, explaining

how children other than himself
had feelings, nerve endings

Eventually she became so
exasperated with his behaviour
she took away his pencils

told him,
read a book instead of stabbing

So why does Britain
supply arms to Israel?

Whose Name?
Tuesday, 16 July 2024 02:30

Whose Name?

Published in Poetry

Whose Name?

by Mike Jenkins 

Whose name on the bomb?
Is it yours or is it mine?
Is it the men & women on the lines?
The factory owner or the shareholder?

Is it that genial politician we voted for?
Or the one who only cares for his own future?
Is it the madman calls himself a ruler?
The pilot, tank commander, drone controller
With their coordinates & radar?

Is it the trader , the dealer ,
The captain of the ship which carries it?
Is it the people who cheer,
Or the reporter who fails to trace it back?

Is it the names of everyone who let it happen?
A bomb the size of our planet.

*

Mike Jenkins writes:

This is one of the poems in For Gaza, a new collection of poems. "How can you write about an atrocity of such enormity?" some ask about the genocide in Gaza since last October. To which I'd reply - " How can I not write about it?"

It has consumed my waking ( and dreaming) thoughts and visions since Israel began its merciless assault on the people of Gaza. When I have found most of the mainstream media appallingly biased and ready and willing to go along with the Israeli government line, we sought out Al Jazeera, the only channel with reporters on the ground , many of whom paid for the truth they told with their lives.

I have been here before and wrote several poems about Palestine for my book Nobody's Subject over a decade ago. I have marched for Palestinian freedom for many years and especially recall the time thousands of us marched towards the Cardiff City stadium when Wales were playing Israel in a Euro qualifier. I stood with protesters as both family and friends passed by on the way to the game and I stood alone outside afterwards listening for sounds of us scoring. For a member of Y Wal Goch, this was hard. But the constant suffering of those people of Gaza, the daily tales of utter brutality by the IDF fully sanctioned by Western governments leaves my sacrifice looking tiny and trivial.

As with all my work , the oppressed people are at the very centre of my concerns and particularly the boy Mohammed with his kite-making, the poet Mosab Abu Toha and the small girl Hind Rajab trapped in a car and surrounded by Israeli tanks. I also wanted to include poems about other war experiences: the effect of the Troubles on my wife and, from our visit last year to Krakow and Auschwitz, my reactions to the sheer horrors of the past there.

I was very much influenced by reading the great US anti-war poet Brian Turner and his book Phantom Noise. The wars live through us and around us and, if we do not speak out then they will surely suffocate us. For many , the whole myth of the democratic, civilised West has been torn apart by the realisation that our so-called reasonable politicians and commentators could actively condone a modern holocaust. I experienced this on a smaller scale in Northern Ireland, where security services killed civilians with impunity.

I never thought this pamphlet would happen; I had so many knockbacks. But I was looking everywhere except in front of me and I'm wrth fy modd (as we say in Welsh) that For Gaza is a Red Poets publication. It is available from Mwnci Coch / Red Monkey on Facebook, or directly from Mike Jenkins at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All proceeds go to Medical Aid for Palestine.

'Gaza: This Bleeding Land', by John Wight
Tuesday, 16 July 2024 02:30

'Gaza: This Bleeding Land', by John Wight

Published in Fiction

John Wight presents an extract from his new book, Gaza: This Bleeding Land, which tells the story of this prolonged tragedy through the eyes of two rival combatants. The novel is currently available from Amazon and all good bookstores and shops in the US and UK. It comes in hardcover, softcover, and eBook formats.

GAZA: THIS BLEEDING LAND

Death will overtake you wherever you may be, even in high towers

- Quran 4:78

I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life that both thou and thou and the seed may live.

- Deuteronomy 30:19

CHAPTER 1

Five days and four nights we've been waiting, and still they don't come. Instead they attack us from the air like cowards, pouring their hatred down on the heads of our villages and towns, killing our children. God be praised, is there nothing we can do except wait? It feels as if we are fighting a giant machine instead of men. The Zionists own the skies, the sea, even the air we breathe it seems.

But, then, we have our sacred cause of freedom which gives us courage and, inshallah, we shall be victorious.

Hamza beside me has finally stopped talking. And even if it's only while we eat our dates and bread and drink our tea, it is a welcome respite from his constant chattering. Hamza, like Mustafa, is young and inexperienced. This is their first experience of combat and I recognise in their bravado an attempt to conceal their fear. They keep telling me how excited they are to be given the honour of fighting the enemy, of how happy they are to have been selected for martyrdom. I have heard such talk before. There is no shame in being afraid to die. There is only shame in allowing your fear to conquer you. We will have to watch Hamza in case, like Mustafa, he does something rash and get us all martyred before we get a chance to confront the Zionists.

Even so, we mustn't be impatient with them. We were all like Hamza and Mustafa at one time, interested only in fighting without thinking. Too many of us have sacrificed their lives too cheaply as a result. Things have improved now that many of us have received training from our Lebanese and Iranian brothers. The discipline it has brought to our ranks gives me confidence.

Every day the Zionists bring more tanks and guns up to the edge of Gaza. When will they enter? When will we get the chance to make them pay for oppressing and killing our people; stealing and

occupying our land? Five days spent listening to the explosions of their bombs and missiles, the roar of their jets over our heads is enough. Our commander doesn't think it will be long now. They cannot attack us from the air forever. Sooner or later they will have to come and fight like men. And when they do then we will see.

Before we left the assembly point our dear imam told us that all the jets, helicopters, tanks and missiles in the world cannot crush the human spirit when it is placed in the service of a just cause, he said. As long as God is on our side we shall prevail. Many of us have been martyred, yes, and many more will be martyred before the day of victory comes. But what is death to a Palestinian? We are a people for whom death remains as close as the next breath. Ever since the Zionists invaded our land it has been this way.

No, the death of one Palestinian is of little consequence when compared to the life of Palestine. This is what our oppressor with their Western clothes, cafes, bars and decadent lives could never understand. They are happy to kill for their luxuries and comforts, but less willing to die for them. Else why fear us like they do? Else why attack us from the air and cower inside the protection of tanks and bulldozers? Why?

But better not to think of them now. Soon enough they will come. Then I will think of them. Then and not before.

Why are we still waiting, freezing our asses off in this shithole?

Sergeant Weiss has just told us the assault's been delayed again. The sappers found more mines on the approach, he says, and we have to wait for them to be neutralised before we can start. More bullshit. Who planned this fucking operation anyway? Some clown in Tel Aviv, no doubt.

Rabbi Solomon came to our position earlier and exhorted us to remember the many periods in history when the Jews faced extinction. He described this operation as another fight for our survival. I agree. It's about time we taught those terrorist dogs a lesson. For too long they've been firing rockets at our towns and people in the south. And for too long we've stood back and done nothing serious to stop them. But soon — soon those fucking savages will pay a price they will never forget.

I can't lie though — I've never experienced combat and despite myself, I'm nervous. Ben, next to me, thinks it'll be a piece of cake. Nothing more than a mopping up operation after the airforce gets done bombing the shit out of them. I hope he's right. I hope that all we have to do when we go in is count bodies and bodyparts.

Crazy to think that just two weeks ago I was in Haifa on vacation, drinking cold beers on the beach. Before leaving to report for duty, Rachel told me my old man had called to pass on his love. When she told me I shrugged it off, more concerned over him managing to get my number than anything else. I wish now I'd taken the opportunity to try and patch things up with him. We haven't spoken since Rachel and I moved to Israel three years ago. I wonder how things are back in Brooklyn? I bet nothing's changed in the old neighbourhood. Nothing much, anyway.

It's just gone nine. Simon will be tucked up in bed sleeping. Poor little guy had a cold last time I saw him. Hopefully by now it's gone and he's back to himself again. Only nine months old yet the way he's grown you'd think he was three. I love going round to Rachel's to see him. Soon as this shit is over I'm going to focus on meeting someone new and having more kids. I'd like to have three more. Yes, three more sounds about right.

Anyway, shit, I'm freezing my fucking ass off here. How long? How long before we get going and get this fucking thing over with?

Come on.

Red Traces: A Marxist history of  culture and class struggle
Tuesday, 16 July 2024 02:30

Red Traces: A Marxist history of culture and class struggle

Published in Cultural Commentary

Sean Ledwith introduces his new book

The past is never dead. It's not even past. - William Faulkner

The essays are written in the spirit of Leon Trotsky’s writings in the 1920s on art, culture and science. Amid the turmoil of playing a leading role in governing the world’s first workers’ state, Trotsky believed it was also important to demonstrate that Marxism - the presiding ideology of the new regime - has persuasive explanatory power when it comes to analysing the full spectrum of human activities. In two books, Problems of Everyday Life and Literature and Revolution, he brilliantly addressed a range of questions not normally associated with the concerns of historical materialism.

In the latter, for example, Trotsky discusses both the historical forces in thirteenth century Italy that led Dante the poet to create The Divine Comedy and the reasons such a cultural artefact would still resonate centuries later. In the former, he explains how it can be illuminating to consider that the year 1871 witnessed both the Paris Commune and Mendeleyev’s prediction that there would be new elements to be added to the Periodic Table. Trotsky’s materialist method to culture in the widest sense is also encapsulated in a discussion of how a full comprehension of ecclesiastical buildings in the Middle Ages requires more than observation of their physical characteristics:

‘The architectural scheme of the Cologne cathedral can be established by measuring the base and the height of its arches, by determining the three dimensions of its naves, the
dimensions and the placement of the columns, etc. But without knowing what a mediaeval city was like, what a guild was, or what was the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages, the Cologne cathedral will never be understood.’

Trotsky posits that the greatest creations of the human intellect - across the range of disciplines - cannot be comprehended apart from their social and historical context; but nor are they mechanically reducible to the conditions of that context. They are the products of a crucially dialectical interaction between individual genius and the collective values of a particular epoch. In his words, the type of cultural achievements mentioned above, are:

‘the organic sum of knowledge and capacity which characterises the entire society, or at least its ruling class. It embraces and penetrates all fields of human work and unifies them into a system. Individual achievements rise above this level and elevate it gradually.’

The reason these intellectual peaks still inspire awe and wonder, sometimes millennia later, is that they are the products of human communities battling to survive and articulate their mental conceptions of the world in the face of environmental and social obstacles not dissimilar to those that confront us today. Trotsky writes:

‘in a class society, in spite of all its changeability, there are certain common features…these feelings and moods shall have received such broad, intense, powerful expression as to have raised them above the limitations of the life of those days.’

Similarly, regarding the cultural artefacts considered in the following pages, there is an attempt to explain that an awareness of the social conditions that produced The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Analects, The Aeneid and other intellectual monuments of antiquity in no way detracts from the genius of their creators. In fact, it enhances our appreciation and empathy for the human beings who have contributed to what the great Italian Marxist Gramsci refers to as the cultural unification of the human race which will occur in a future beyond class society.

The book also aims to demonstrate that the study of the ancient world is not remote from the concerns of the present. The ‘Red Traces’ outlined in the chapters refer to the numerous occasions news headlines from the 21st century can be related in an informative way to the class conflicts and crises of antiquity. Two stories, for instance, have dominated the global political agenda in recent months. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has developed into a power struggle between Putin and Nato, with the Zelensky regime essentially acting as a proxy force for the latter. Strategic control of the Black Sea and maritime access to the Mediterranean is one aspect of this contest; the same motives that likely lay at the root of the semi-historical Trojan war around 1200 BCE. Similarly, the ruthless assault by the Israeli army on innocent civilians in Gaza mirrors, with tragic irony, the decimation of Jewish resistance in the same location by Rome in the first century CE.

One other aspiration of the book is to draw attention to some great Marxist historians whose works are perhaps not as well known today as they deserve to be. The studies of Max Raphael, Gordon Childe and Dirk Struik on aspects of the ancient world are neglected even in left-wing circles and merit a wider readership. All three of these figures, and others mentioned in the book, strove to integrate a radical conception of how the struggles of the oppressed for a better world in the past can inspire the same type of struggles in the present.

Ghazal: no surviving family
Tuesday, 16 July 2024 02:30

Ghazal: no surviving family

Published in Poetry

Ghazal: no surviving family

by Janet Hatherley

It’s a new acronym, the medic says,
WCNSF. Wounded child, no surviving family.

The three-year-old in her rescuer’s arms, chatters,
glances at the sky, eyes wild, no surviving family.

One orange a day from their only tree,
no other food, no stockpiles. No surviving family.

People leaving, a second nakba.
Once more exiled, no surviving family.

Gaza’s a prison between land, sea and desert,
it’s apartheid. No surviving family.

I’m twenty-four, the journalist said, never let out
of Gaza, never seen a mountainside
. No surviving family.

Hospitals collapsed weeks ago,
everywhere bodies piled, no surviving family.

It’s been seventy-five years, the Palestinian said.
Time up, the West replied, no surviving family.

Israel has a right to defend itself, it says.
The world’s been lied to, no surviving family.

Drive them out the settler calls,
a Zionist brainchild, no surviving family.

We didn’t do anything wrong, we didn’t do anything wrong,
a greatgrandchild and no surviving family.

Dar Al-Shifa
Tuesday, 16 July 2024 02:30

Dar Al-Shifa

Published in Poetry

Dar Al-Shifa

by Nick Moss

'Genocide enablers: Gaza and the corporate media'

Like a war scripted by Asimov on crystal meth
Squads of quadcopter drones
Shooting children in the head,
Patrolling the wreckage of the hospital.
The shrill scream of the blades,
Waiting to target anyone left.

Dar al-Shifa. House of healing.
Hopital. Shelter for the needy.
Just more debris now.
Concrete dust
Blown-out windows
Blood on the walls.
Blood on the floor
Bodies of surgeons
Piled on bodies of patients
Piled on bodies of parents
With the bodies of their dead kids
All meat now
For the feral dogs.

If the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health
Is one of the fundamental rights of every human being
And if the IDF “follows international law”
When it turns a hospital
Into a boneyard
Tell me the one-drop rule
That makes Palestinians
Then, all somehow
Not-quite human

And you wait for condemnation
From the elected guardians
Of “international law”
And their lockstep oppositions
Who nod through the arms sales
And the Horizon Europe tech funds
That put legions of quadcopters
Up high in Gaza skies,
And democracy shrivels and fails,
And little by little it dies.

Lenny Bruce has hit the crystal meth.
Satire is tragedy plus time.
There is a bunker and tunnel network
Under al-Shifa
At Building Number 2
But it wasn’t hard to find
As it was built by Israeli architects
In 1983.

Lenny said in ’67
That if they killed Christ today
Catholic kids would be wearing
Electric chairs around their necks
Instead of crosses.
Anyone know how to make
A quadcopter pendant?

Good Friday
Tuesday, 16 July 2024 02:30

Good Friday

Published in Poetry

Good Friday

by Steven Taylor

When you’ve climbed up on the roof
of the last remaining house in Gaza
throw away the ladder and dare them
to demolish you, safe in the knowledge

that Keir Starmer will do nothing

not even mention you were standing
in solidarity and defiance with
all those other people buried beneath
the rubble, or knowingly being starved

by the Labour Friends of Israel

I am ashamed of Labour,

their contribution to the genocide
but it’s pretty much as expected
from Starmer and his supporters

Jesus has been suspended

prior to his expulsion. He’s
certainly not a candidate
or Party representative. We
don’t go in for (futile) gestures

Because Labour

under Starmer
is serious about government

'Zone of Interest' and Glazergate: The director’s challenge and the Zionist reaction
Tuesday, 16 July 2024 02:30

'Zone of Interest' and Glazergate: The director’s challenge and the Zionist reaction

Published in Films

Jonathan Glazer is the Academy Award and BAFTA winning director of Zone of Interest, a film that highlights the “dehumanization” going on outside the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, where the carnage only appears on the off-screen soundtrack.

He has come under attack not for anything in the film but for daring to insinuate in his Academy acceptance speech that there is an echo of the film in the “dehumanizing” way the genocide in Gaza is being routinely fostered, facilitated and ignored in the West.

Glazer’s film is about the callousness of the family of the German commandant of the death camp, whose job it is to oversee extermination. The film’s perspective, in some ways all the more chilling, is that of an intimate glimpse of the family as it goes about its daily activities, surrounded by offscreen cries, screams and orders to shoot and drown the victims just beyond the family garden, as the commandant’s wife claims that in their privilege, with lush vegetation and swimming pool, guaranteed by Jewish slavery, they have fulfilled the Fuhrer’s dream of a living space in the east for Germans.

The most incendiary part of Glazer’s speech is not the claim about his Jewishness not being hijacked by the Israeli occupation of Gaza, which is what his now over 1000 Hollywood critics have focused on in a letter denouncing the speech, but rather that he had the audacity to state that his film is not just about the past but also about the present.

The parallel then in the present would be in the West with those who watch this new holocaust, for that is what it is being called in the Arab world, being livestreamed and not just ignore it but actively deny that it is happening.

By suggesting that it is not “look what we did then” but “look what we do now,” Glazer is in fact placing American and Western complacency, and in some cases active cheering on of the genocide in Gaza, in line with the commandant and his privileged family in the film.

In this case, benefitting from the carnage, as Israel remains the key to American dominance of Middle East oil oil necessary for fuelling its allies in Europe, and proving the U.S. and its puppet Israel remain the hegemon in the region.

Picture16

The Zionist reaction

The attack on Glazer gives credence to this identification of the West as situating itself just outside of what has been called the concentration camp of Gaza. His attackers simply cannot stand the accusation that they are complicit in genocide. Instead they resort to Zionist arguments and talking points to refute his accusation, speaking of “an Israeli nation that seeks to avert its own extermination,” an “indigenous Jewish people defending a homeland” and a “distortion of history.”

The “extermination” is not being carried out by the Palestinians, but by the Zionists against the actual indigenous people of the region, who 75 years ago saw their homeland usurped by the creation of the apartheid state.

This was perhaps a new homeland but also, as members of the U.S. military have often described it, an “American aircraft carrier in the Middle East.” Each day we, in our privileged position outside the camp in the garden where life goes on as usual, hear the sounds and watch as the terror increases, now at the point with way more than the official number of 30,000 Palestinians dead and with Al Jazeera reporting that 25,000 of them are women and children.

Israel is of course worried that the gunshots are too noisy and might disturb us in our gardens, so now they have decided on the more “humane” method of mass starvation, though they are not above mowing down Palestinians who when one of the few food aid trucks gets through the clamour for the food.

images original

The Zone of Interest: Languishing by the pool 

If any voices are raised to challenge this carnage, as Glazer’s was, the attempt is to quickly silence them. Then, we can all go back to our finely manicured front lawns and backyards as we join Commandant Rolf, his wife, and their children at the pool.    

Page 1 of 2