Global Palestine: Contemporary Collisions
John Collins (@djleftover), author of Global Palestine (Hurst, 2011/Columbia UP, 2012), explores the global politics of violence and the representation of violence, paying particular attention to the microcosmic and prophetic location of Palestine in relation to these processes. (Image: Diego Lopez Calvin)
|May 12 2013||The "Pacification Industry" Comes to Chiapas|
Sometimes the most seemingly innocuous “local” news reports are the ones that contain the seeds of the most profound global understanding. Such is the case with a May 8 report in the Mexican newspaper Excélsior detailing a meeting between a Mexican security official in the southern province of Chiapas (site of the famous popular rebellion led by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation) and a representative of the Israeli military.
|Apr 15 2013||April 15, 2013: A Day in Bombs|
This article is not meant to disrespect the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, nor is it meant to make light of the tragedy. On the contrary, it is meant to honor the victims and give additional meaning to their deaths and injuries by placing them in a broader human context.
The following is a list of news items published online during a (roughly) 24-hour period on/around April 15, 2013. All concern bombings and explosions. They are organized alphabetically by the locality in which the events took place.
|Mar 31 2013||WSF2013: Declaration of the Social Movements Assembly|
Given the tremendous lack of media coverage of the World Social Forum, held this year in Tunisia, I am reprinting the March 29 Declaration of the Social Movements Assembly. It deserves to be circulated and discussed widely, and something tells me we can't rely on CNN or even MSNBC (which likes to "lean forward" but not nearly far enough to reach the WSF) to do the job.
Declaration of the Social Movements Assembly – World Social Forum 2013 - 29 March 2013, Tunisia
|Mar 03 2013||The Other New Jim Crow? (UPDATED)|
Ask anyone you know: when you hear the phrase “segregated buses,” what comes to mind? Most people will respond by referring to the racist laws that prevailed in the southern United States during the infamous Jim Crow era that lasted (formally) until the mid-1960s. While these laws affected many different aspects of people’s everyday lives, the racial segregation of public buses remains one of the best-known aspects of the Jim Crow era thanks to the efforts of courageous civil rights activists like Rosa Parks, who was recently honored with a statue at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC. Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Parks’ birth, the unveiling of the statue appeared to mark a recognition that the days of segregated buses are now firmly part of “history.” Or are they?
|Feb 13 2013||Guest Blog: The Execution of Christopher Dorner|
I am reprinting the following piece originally published today by Counterpunch, with permission, because it gets at some very important issues about structures of violence that resonate not only throughout the U.S., but also in Palestine (the normal topic of this blog). One of the authors, George Ciccariello-Maher, is a St.
|Feb 06 2013||Gaza Lesson #3: Gangnam Gaza Style!|
For those who have been following the global cultural tsunami known as “Gangnam Style,” you’ll be interested to know that a group of Palestinians in Gaza have gotten into the act with a “Gangnam Gaza Style” video. Published on YouTube just a few days ago, the video slyly offers a window into how Palestinians under occupation are forced to improvise (e.g. by riding donkeys when there are fuel shortages) and how they are able to create forms of black humor to help themselves get by. Take a look:
|Jan 29 2013||Breaking News! CNN Finds Israelis to Confirm the Obvious|
I’m fond of quoting Gil Scott-Heron’s sarcastic observation that “America leads the world in shock!” It’s a concise way of expressing how easily people in a position of privilege can bury their heads in the sand for years…decades…generations…and then suddenly realize the obvious – and then expect everyone else to congratulate them for discovering it. So it’s no surprise to find CNN expressing shock – shock! – at the content of The Gatekeepers, the Oscar-nominated documentary that features the perspectives of six former heads of the Shin Bet (Israel’s "internal security service"). In a January 28 blog post, CNN’s Samuel Burke breathlessly tells us that the film contains “stunning revelations.” Money quote:
|Jan 22 2013||Gaza Lesson #2: Endless Deferral|
As I continue to reflect on what can be learned from a close look at the discourse surrounding Israel’s November 2012 “Operation Pillar of Cloud” in Gaza, I want to leave the media discourse aside for a moment and report on something more local. Back in December I participated in a UVA-style “Flash Seminar” at my university’s new Global Dialogue Center (a project co-sponsored by the Weave). The topic was Gaza, and the conversation unintentionally revealed yet another way in which our ways of talking about Israel/Palestine often serve to obfuscate as much as they explain. With that in mind:
Lesson #2: The dominant discourse on Israel/Palestine produces a tendency to defer endlessly any systematic attention to Palestinians themselves, as real human beings – their rights, their experiences, and the real conditions of their lives.
|Nov 28 2012||Gaza Lesson #1: Erasing Colonization|
In my previous post I began the process of thinking about lessons we can learn from looking at the discourse surrounding Israel’s recent “Operation Pillar of Cloud” (also known as “Pillar of Defense” - the name itself has prompted criticism) in Gaza. Today, in the first of several posts addressing specific lessons, I want to want to highlight what is always the first lesson to be learned about how Palestine is represented in mainstream discourse, a lesson that remains as relevant today as it has been for decades.
Lesson #1: The vast majority of mainstream discourse on Israel/Palestine serves to hide the ongoing structural realities of colonization, specifically the settler colonization of Palestine by the Zionist movement and the state of Israel.
|Nov 25 2012||Gaza Lessons: Getting Started|
One of the core arguments of my Global Palestine book is that Palestine, because of its key location as a node in a global system, has much to teach us about a wide range of global issues. To learn these lessons, however, we have to be willing to let go of many of the categories, narratives, and frameworks provided to us by dominant groups. In presenting this argument, I refer to one of the German-Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin’s