Category Archives: Culture and Genocide

Interview with Ogaga Ifowodo: ‘For me, to truly admire a poet, I’ve to be envious of him or her’ on The Nation

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What book or books have had the greatest impact on you and why?

Too many to list! Certainly, all the books I mentioned in the answer to the first question. And, naturally, the Bible, which was mandatory reading, in English and Isoko, before evening prayers in our house (for being, I believe, arguably the most irrefutable evidence of writing as creation, as magic, the bringing into existence of that which did not previously exist); Karl Marx and Frederick Engels’ The Communist Manifesto (for my induction into the dialectical mode of reasoning and critical vigilance by way of the famous call for “a ruthless criticism of everything existing”); Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (for what everybody knows and also being the first novel from which I would, as a 14-year-old, memorise whole passages); Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (for being one of the most devastating unmasking of colonialism’s pretence to a civilizing mission and of Europe as the actual heart of darkness); Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks (for an extraordinarily poignant interpretation of the violence, brutal realities, complexity and complexes of colonialism as a form of imperialism); Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (the title says it all); Toni Morrison’s Beloved (for its feat of posing a moral-philosophical question on both sides of slavery, the slave’s and the slave-master’s, while remaining focused on the unspeakable horror of slavery as well as the slave’s irrepressible quest for freedom); Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead (which fuses the history of Native-American and African-American experience of genocide and slavery and sublimates it into a narrative of healing through the re-territorialisation of the United States, her vision already beginning to be realised and partly awakening the overt racist white supremacy policies and attitudes of the Donald Trump government); Walcott’s Omeros (which is literally an enactment of healing as self-discovery, as reconciliation with and acceptance of one’s home and identity, however gruesome and unflattering its history, and for doing so with rigorous attention to form); Edward Said’s Orientalism (a seminal study of the ideological framework of the West’s misrepresentation of non-white peoples and cultures through its attitudes to the Orient or the East; written more from the literary/philological perspective, it is arguably the founding work of postcolonial studies); C.L.R. James’s The Black Jacobins (which shows so powerfully how Toussaint Louverture’s slave revolution of 1791-1804 led to the emergence of Haiti as the first black republic and, quite as important, fulfilled the heady promise of liberté, egalité, fraternité of the French Revolution of 1789 that inspired it by moving the former from the narrow Jacobinism of the overthrow of an imperial monarchy to a universal humanism); Nelson Mandela’s The Long Walk to Freedom (for bequeathing to us the unforgettable life and mind of one of the world’s greatest moral and political figures as well as a personal history of the anti-apartheid struggle); Sigmund Freud’s The Ego and the Id, Civilization and Its Discontents and Moses and Monotheism for a depth psychology of the mind, psychoanalytical interpretation of the conflicts, mostly produced by cultural and religious injunctions, between the individual and society and the trauma and repression that ensue from that (though not a book I should also like to mention his essay “Against the Pleasure Principle”); Cathy Caruth’s Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History, which was a massive help to me at the dissertation stage of my doctoral studies when using psychoanalysis as an analytic concept for the understanding of (post)colonialism as a trauma needing to be acknowledged and worked through by formerly colonized societies, as Frantz Fanon had famously prescribed in Black Skin, White Masks); Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, earlier mentioned (which delineates the proximate and ultimate causes of the unequal development of peoples and regions of the world and conclusively locates the ultimate cause in geography, not racial difference); My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit whose great-great-grandfather was a founding Zionist (which is a devastating critique of Israel’s genocide and colonialism in Palestine); Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion (which humorously but scientifically wages war against the obfuscations of Biblical literalists and their ingrained resistance to biology, to science, and knowledge); Terry Eagleton’s Literary Theory: An Introduction and Satya Mohanty’s Literary Theory and the Claims of History (which very helpfully unpacked the obscurantism of postmodernism as a radical theory aimed at deconstructing the totalitarian structure of power and did so brilliantly at first but unwittingly ended up becoming what it criticised), etc., but I guess I have to stop!

Continue reading at https://thenationonlineng.net/for-me-to-truly-admire-a-poet-ive-to-be-envious-of-him-or-her/

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Racism is at center of Israeli settler-colonialist venture — Ronit Lentin by Jonathan Ofir

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Inside the general paradigm of colonialism, there exist variations. Settler-colonialism, that is colonialism that does not involve a ‘mother-country’, is generally known to be the more deadly variant, in that it is inherently eliminationist regarding the native population, whereas in other variants there is that ‘mother-country’ option to go back to. Lentin defines the Israeli example as special in its multi-faceted racialization of both white supremacy and Jewish supremacy, yet under the overall paradigm of colonialism, and particularly settler-colonialism, she does not view the Israeli example as particularly special, nor surprising. And its eliminationist aspect is inherently genocidal, she says, though the project was not necessarily about making all the natives disappear at once.

Continue reading at https://mondoweiss.net/2019/07/israeli-settler-colonialist/

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Israel’s homophobic education minister Rafi Peretz peddles a vile doctrine, racist to its core by David Sheen

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If there were any remaining doubts about Peretz’ odious ideology, he dispelled them this week when his ministry co-sponsored a ceremony honoring another arch-racist Israeli rabbi, Yitzchak Ginsburgh… the rabbi who published “The King’s Torah,” a religious manual that grants Jews the license to kill any non-Jew that they fear may one day threaten them, even babies. Casual observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are unlikely to have noticed this last news item, seeing as it did not receive even a thousandth of the press coverage given to Peretz professing, and then backtracking, on his homophobia.
… In 2016, when he was the Chief Rabbi of the Israeli Army, Peretz bestowed his prestige upon the author of “The King’s Torah,” Yitzhak Shapira, joyously dancing with him at his daughter’s wedding.
Idolising assassins and loathing leftists, inverting the Holocaust and justifying genocide: these are the ideas that Israel’s national religious camp imparts to its students, the ideas that they wish to instill in all Jewish youth, in Israel and abroad.
For over a decade, Netanyahu has presided over this insidious process. But now with Rafi Peretz as education minister, we can expect it to occur even quicker.

Continue reading at https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2019/7/18/the-racist-pedagogy-of-israels-education-minister-rafi-peretz

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GUEST BLOG: Lois Griffiths – We hear the cry of our Children on The Daily Blog

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The cruelty inflicted on all Palestinians is obscene, including in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Israel itself. In the West Bank, farmers are being denied access to their land and their water sources. Palestinians face constant violence from heavily armed Israeli soldiers, police and ‘settlers’. Children are kidnapped from their homes in the middle of the night by Israeli IDF. East Jerusalem Palestinians are being squeezed out. In Israel, Bedouin villages that existed and paid taxes before there even was an Israel, are being destroyed to be replaced by Jewish only settlements.
 But in Gaza the situation is even worse . Noam Chomsky has described  Israeli control over  Gaza as ‘sadistic.’ Israeli historian Ilan Pappé has said, ‘incremental genocide’. The UN  has said that Gaza will be unliveable by 2020.
The Church leaders emphasise the urgency, the vital need for action NOW, by invoking the Greek work kairos. The Greeks had 2 words for time, chronos being chronological time and kairos meaning the propitious moment for immediate action.

Continue reading at https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2019/07/11/guest-blog-lois-griffiths-we-hear-the-cry-of-our-children/

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Archaeologists on Twitter tear down Netanyahu’s claims that Palestinians have ‘no connection’ to homeland by Yumna Patel

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Linking to a new Israeli study of DNA collected from an ancient Philistine site in the Ashkelon coastal region, Netanyahu said the study “confirms what we know from the Bible – that the origin of the Philistines is in southern Europe.”.. He went on: “There’s no connection between the ancient Philistines & the modern Palestinians, whose ancestors came from the Arabian Peninsula to the Land of Israel thousands of years later.”
“The Palestinians’ connection to the Land of Israel is nothing compared to the 4,000 year connection that the Jewish people have with the land,” the premiere concluded.

… Ali Abunimah, journalist and co-founder of the Electronic Intifada news website called Netanyahu’s comments a “warning sign of genocide.” “This racial eugenics should be seen as laying the ground for justifying the expulsion of the Palestinian people. It’s a warning sign of genocide. But remember these are the #SharedValues of @EUinIsrael,” he tweeted.

Continue reading at https://mondoweiss.net/2019/07/archaeologists-netanyahus-palestinians/

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Mena Massoud ‘Doesn’t Understand the Politics’ of Claiming Middle Eastern Food as Israeli by Farah Khairat

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To claim and support these foods as Israeli, is to contribute to the ongoing cultural genocide of Palestine. It is on Massoud, and everyone else who is complacent and contributes to this ignorance to do better, and to recognise their wrongs when called out. It is crucial, because the impact of these choices, in particular for people who are in the spotlight, go beyond their individual choice, and can influence thousands either negatively, or positively.

Continue reading at https://egyptianstreets.com/2019/05/27/mena-massoud-doesnt-understand-the-politics-of-claiming-middle-eastern-food-as-israeli/

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Eurovision tells us everything about Europe’s ‘vision’ for Palestinians: acquiescence by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Please TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW and send your letter to the UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the International Criminal Court Prosecutor.

That Israel is hosting Eurovision tells us everything about Europe and the western world’s “vision” for Palestinians: acquiescence. 

Accept your oppression, the theft and occupation of your land, the slow genocidal erasure of Gaza, the airstrikes and slaughter. 

Do not envisage freedom, resistance, liberation. 

Do not imagine we, the international community, will hold Israel to account for its defiance of international and human rights law. 

Continue reading at https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2019/5/13/eurovision-tells-us-everything-about-europes-vision-for-palestinians

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Sun, Gays, Misogyny, and Shawarma: Eurovision promo yet another failed Israeli bid for legitimacy by Denijal Jegić

Please TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW and send your letter to the UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the International Criminal Court Prosecutor.

Eurovision is a mere example of how Israel is desperately trying to gain legitimacy through a stubborn insistence on old myths and the almost comical exhaustion of the same talking points. Because Zionism is a modern colonial movement that is incompatible with universal human rights and international law, and because Israel does not have any moral or legal justification for the colonization of Palestine and for the genocidal maltreatment of Palestinians, the Israeli regime will continue to desperately necessitate absurd propaganda in its efforts to narrate to the outside world, and probably to itself, a modified version of history, trying to prove that it has some sort of legitimacy.

Continue reading at https://mondoweiss.net/2019/05/misogyny-eurovision-legitimacy/

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