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This I must watch on Netflix

Monday, August 28th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — continuing in the pesky socratic tradition ]
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Here’s the possible parallelism, d’you dare say it’s a moral equivalence, are the scales even close to equal, or isn’t that the moral point anyway?

Just a few years after the destruction of European Jewry, the soldier wonders, have we now become oppressors? Have the Arabs now been sent into exile?

Here’s the whole paragraph:

In 1949, Yizhar Smilansky, a young Israeli veteran, national legislator, and novelist writing under the pen name S. Yizhar, published “Khirbet Khizeh,” a novella about the destruction of a lightly fictionalized Palestinian village near Ashkelon, some thirty miles south of Tel Aviv. Writing from the point of view of a disillusioned Israeli soldier, Yizhar describes the Army’s capture of the village and the expulsion of its remaining inhabitants. The time is 1948, the moment of Israel’s independence and its subsequent victory over five invading Arab armies that had hoped to erase the fledgling Jewish state from the map. It would be forty years before the New Historians—Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim, and Simha Flapan among them—marshalled the nerve and the documentary evidence required to shatter the myth that hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs had all voluntarily “abandoned” their cities and villages. Yizhar was there to bear witness in real time. He wrote from personal experience; he had been an intelligence officer in the war. In “Khirbet Khizeh,” Yizhar’s protagonist is sickened as he comes across an Arab woman who watches as her home is levelled: “She had suddenly understood, it seemed, that it wasn’t just about waiting under the sycamore tree to hear what the Jews wanted and then to go home, but that her home and her world had come to a full stop, and everything had turned dark and was collapsing; suddenly she had grasped something inconceivable, terrible, incredible, standing directly before her, real and cruel, body to body, and there was no going back.” Just a few years after the destruction of European Jewry, the soldier wonders, have we now become oppressors? Have the Arabs now been sent into exile? And why can’t I bring myself to protest? “Khirbet Khizeh” eventually became part of the Israeli public-school curriculum.

**

Source & resource:

  • David Remnick, How Do You Make a TV Show Set in the West Bank?
  • Netflix, Fauda
  • **

    With any luck, I’ll report back at some point. It seems to me that a love of the individual Palestinian should nest within a love of the State of Israel as the circles in the tai chih symbol rest within the swirls of the opposite colors. But what a charged topic!

    A koan!

    Good from Zeynep on Facebook moderation, plus a question

    Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — wondering, roughly: is the world digital or analog? if that even means anything ]
    .

    This post — Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men from Hate Speech But Not Black Children — together with the tweet about it below —

    — triggered Zeynep Tufekci‘s latest. Here she goes:

    And here’s the tweet she’s quoting in that last one:

    **

    A significant ouroboros from that ProPublica article, BTW:

    Facebook also added an exception to its ban against advocating for anyone to be sent to a concentration camp. “Nazis should be sent to a concentration camp,” is allowed, the documents state, because Nazis themselves are a hate group.

    That should give us pause for thought, I think.

    **

    There’s something very important going on here in this discussion as a whole and Tufecki’s tweets in particular: quite aside from the powerful issue of Facebook and its rules for moderators, there’s a more general question about quality and quantity — or should I say qualitative and quantitative approaches?

    I’m wondering how well this distinction between (depending which tweet you quote) “human societies” and “simple, abstract toy models” — or “human society” and “so neat Venn diagrams & uniform rules” or “code” and the “complexities and messiness of human societies” or a “2 billion user base” and “powerpoints” — maps to the distinction between digital and analog..

    Any thoughts?

    Sunday surprise – a British Query

    Monday, June 26th, 2017

    [ By Charles Cameron — William Blake asks, David Jones responds ]
    .

    William Blake asks:

    And did those feet in ancient time
    Walk upon Englands mountains green:
    And was the holy Lamb of God,
    On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

    And did the Countenance Divine,
    Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
    And was Jerusalem builded here,
    Among these dark Satanic Mills?

    I won’t quote the rest of the poem, because it’s those last two lines that interest me:

    And was Jerusalem builded here,
    Among these dark Satanic Mills?

    **

    Is there a glimpse of Jerusalem to be had, among the mills and chimneys of industry? David Jones, I think, takes the question very seriously, not looking for an answer to some Glastonbury Festival site, but to the contemporary manifestation of those mills — the skyscrapers of the city — not turning his gaze away from them but peering into them, questioning the very assumption that paradise cannot be found among them.

    And here, I think, Jones answers — his quest unsatisfied:

    I said, Ah! what shall I write?
    I enquired up and down.
    (He’s tricked me before
    with his manifold lurking-places.)
    I looked for His symbol at the door.
    I have looked for a long while
    at the textures and contours.
    I have run a hand over the trivial intersections.
    I have journeyed among the dead forms
    causation projects from pillar to pylon.
    I have tired the eyes of the mind
    regarding the colours and lights.
    I have felt for His wounds
    in nozzles and containers.
    I have wondered for the automatic devices.
    I have tested the inane patterns
    without prejudice.
    I have been on my guard
    not to condemn the unfamiliar.
    For it is easy to miss Him
    at the turn of a civilisation.

    I have watched the wheels go round in case I
    might see the living creatures like the appearance
    of lamps, in case I might see the Living God projected
    from the Machine. I have said to the perfected steel,
    be my sister and for the glassy towers I thought I felt
    some beginnings of His creature, but A, a, a Domine Deus,
    my hands found the glazed work unrefined and the terrible
    crystal a stage-paste …Eia, Domine Deus.

    It is, I think, a very great poem. Eia, Domine Deus.

    Double & SingleQuoting Syria

    Friday, April 7th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — who like Ryan Evans has more questions than answers ]
    .

    This, for the use of the DoubleQuotes format:

    **

    Okay, undeclared warfare has clearly been declared, if it hadn’t been already: maybe someone should tell Congress —

    In the meantime, consider:

    together with:

    **

    Reaction from the furthest right in two tweets:

    together with:

    **

    And just for the sheer fun of it — no DoubleQuote here!

    Rwanda cognition – and a *key* question

    Sunday, March 19th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron –the key question arises from the final quote ]
    .


    [source page unavailable ]

    **

    Mark Gilchrist, the Australian serving officer who brought us Why Thucydides Still Matters, has a new post — the first of three — up at Strategy Bridge in which he explores The Twilight Between Knowing and Not Knowing — an appropriately liminal title — specifically, the difficulties involved in recognizing genocide. It’s a fascinating if harrowing article, and I’m going to cherry-pick some quotes for your attention..

    **

    the world’s diplomats were accustomed to dealing with wars – they were not, and did not try to become, accustomed to the requirements of dealing with genocide.

    So, between politics and (its continuation) war, at least ne liminal condiciton: genocide.

    You’ve got to sow the seeds of hysteria in the population, and that takes time…

    How far back can we date the current wave of hysteria in the population — from a liberal and from a conservative perspective, or other?

    Dallaire deployed without knowledge of the history and culture of Rwanda or relevant intelligence about the stakeholders, agendas or general situation on the ground. This inhibited his ability to understand the massacres that occurred

    Ooh, anthropology, and — dare we say it — (dark) religion.

    it failed to recognise the importance of the rise in anti-Tutsi rhetoric in the Rwandan media, which was instrumental in furthering the extremists’ genocidal aims through the psychological preparation of the Hutu population.

    Are we monitoring the rise of anti-x rhetoric (foreign and domestic)? How’s it going?

    **

    Here’s the stunning cognitive takeaway!!

    The scale of the barbarity was almost incomprehensible to Western observers – UNAMIR troops included – which resulted in eyewitnesses often finding themselves in denial about what was unfolding around them. The troops made themselves believe that high-pitched screams were gusts of wind, that the rabid packs of dogs were feeding on animal remains and not human carcasses, that the smells enveloping them emanated from spoiled food and not decomposing bodies. Barnett argues that this fantasy is reminiscent of Primo Levi’s observation about the Holocaust that ‘things whose existence is not morally comprehensible cannot exist.’ This is particularly so for Western troops who are trained to think and act within the bounds of a moral and ethical behavioural framework that can obscure their ability to recognise the evil that others may be capable of.

    Blindness, denial. The grand question raised by this article and by the Rwandan experience goes way beyon Rwanda to our cognitive incapacities and their potentially disastrous repercussions in general.

    No worries, ma — it’s only a gust of wind.


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