Wednesday, August 29, 2012

James Joyce - Terrorist

Give me a child until he is seven
and I will give you the man

I remember being terrorised as a child by the priest's sermon in Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It took me months if not years to get over it. It's hard to tell because that sort of thing was part of the environment in which I grew up. Guilt, fear and terror were the instruments of "development".

There is, of course, truth in the slogan above which is attributed to the Jesuits, God's Storm Troopers and Educators Extraordinary. The minds and psyches of children are malleable and none better to mould them than the Js.

I've just watched a film called Defamation in which an Israeli, Jew and film director, sets out to find out what all this "anti-semitism" is about and where it can be found. Two stark points emerge from his journey.

His film shows that much of the current reported anti-semitism appears to have been manufactured. In the USA by the Anti-Defamation League in order to keep themselves in a job and ensure that their officers are held in high social and political esteem throughout the world. The key premise on which they survive is the assertion that all those who are anti-Israel are closet anti-semites. And at home in Israel, it is manufactured by some of the media who see the need to cultivate resentment and victimhood so that the Israeli State can misbehave with impunity.

His film also shows disturbing sequences of Israeli children being brought to Auschwitz to experience the Holocaust first hand, so to speak. In itself this would be no harm, we should not forget. But it is the context that is worrying. The trip is used to reinforce the line that Jews are still being persecuted on a grand scale, and that, therefore, "proportionate" retaliation is in order. The film-maker asks one of the young Jewish girls "How do you feel?". "I want to kill them". "Kill who?" "The Nazis". "But they're all dead" "Yes, but they've got heirs".

Palestine, Iran, or whoever you are, you have been warned.

Homeland Security
We all had paintbooks, or colouring books, as they now appear to be called. They had animals and cartoon characters, baloons and buildings, all for colouring in. Guess what? They now have colouring books for children to colour in TERRORISTS. I kid you not. And, they have little cards, like the cigarette cards of my day which pictured footballers or cars or whatever. But these have pictures of TERRORISTS and right in the middle of them is Julian Assange. Nuff said.

Now, where did I get all this subversive stuff. I got Joyce from my excellent school English teacher, Michael Judge. I got "Defamation" from a comment on the blog of that sterling ex-Foreign Office employee and now human rights campaigner, Craig Murray. And I got the colouring book from a Tweet retweeted by @wayupnorth, whom I follow on Twitter.

And what is the point of this rambling and semi-coherent post. It is that you pick your own sources over time. Follow those that you can trust, irrespective of the particular format in which they publish. And, above all, be wary of the MainStreamMedia, or the Presstitutes as they are known in some quarters. They present themselves as objective, moderated and authoritative but they all have an agenda from the ideological to the profit motive.

And do read some Joyce,
he can be fun.


Póló said...

Is my holocaust bigger than yours?

I have been critical in the above post of the use of the holocaust by certain parties.

I was deeply affected by what I learned about the holocaust when I was growing up and a visit to Dachau in the 1970s upsets me to this day. I have no difficulty talking about the holocaust or of learning from it the depths to which human nature can sink, whether it be that of the perpetators or their collaborators.

But I have become appalled by the misuse of this human catastrophe by those who use it to fan the flames of hatred and justify the current ethnic cleansing of “Greater Israel”, or to bludgeon the world into acceptance of their “special” right to maintain a vast secret nuclear stockpile and persecute those who attempt to reveal its existence.

Through sheer attrition I had come to the conclusion that the Israelis have fully cashed in their holocaust chips many times over. My upset has in part given way to cynicism and that is no way to respect the victims, anymore than is their cynical exploitation by the current Israeli régime.

Interesting then to come across an article which, in effect, reminds us that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it and that there are still positive lessons to be drawn from remembering the Jewish holocaust. Not least of which should be the will to avoid further holocausts or genocides or ethnic cleansing.

There has been no shortage of these since the end of WWII and in the majority of cases the rest of the world stood idly by. And, no doubt, there are many more to come.

This provocative recent article by Ron Rosenbaum in Slate is worth a read. It makes some good points about why we should never forget the Jewish holocaust. Such memories can be challenging and positive. One glaring omission, and it is an important one, is any reference to the obscene use of the holocaust by the State of Israel, the ADL and some media to stoke the flames of hatred and in so doing ultimately undermining their own case.

Vivion said...

I try to assess writings on what I believe are their merits, regardless of their authorship.

Póló said...

Very wise.