Saturday, March 1st, 2008
Check the net; check what’s left of your collective conscience. Tanks are rolling, bombs are falling, blood and bile bathe the Holy Land. The death toll is climbing through the blackened clouds of toxic fallout. We are helplessly torn and crushed between screams and speeches. Nothing makes sense but fear and anger. Not only buildings are demolished, not only Palestinians die, not only bodies burn. We are all debris.
The blood of Gaza flows through all of us. Paralyzed in front of our screens full of slaughter, we too are at war.
It is another holocaust, grotesquely inverted. The Israelis were the first to invoke this ghost they will not let die, and now the label cannot be revoked. At the expense of the world, we must relive a nightmare that will be carried out this time with impunity. The whole world trembles and resonates in the unbearable dissonance of this historic treachery. Not only the Gazans are weeping. And not only the dead die. Everywhere, life becomes death: The dead in this conflict are the minority. The living can live only death.
Meanwhile US warships are positioned off the coast of Lebanon. Any excuse will do. The Gulf of Tonkin narrative awaits rewriting. Trigger fingers quivering, the US war machine circles in eager anticipation. Vultures have long ago replaced eagles. They are thirsty for the next unimaginable atrocity, and they are well prepared to disguise it as a war. The Arab countries are trapped, no less than the Palestinians, no less than any of us, at depleted uranium-loaded gunpoint.
Everything is overwhelmed. It is difficult even to think. Turbulent tides of emotion churn and surge beneath our skin. A shell-shocked fog of rage, misery, shame, and fear finds no outlet. Not even a point of entry.
But even through this almost impenetrable storm, analysis pokes its ugly head. Whether we like it or not. There is an agenda hidden in the confusion, there is a strategy disguised by the violence, there is a theory behind this brutality. It is an unwelcome, unkempt and undeniable story. A story that is about all of us.
Welcome to modernity. Welcome to yourself.
Before we were apprehensive, maybe even hopeful -- in any case we were reserved in our judgments. But the reality we were afraid to recognize has now forced itself upon us. As we stare into Gaza it stares back into us. We cannot hide from it any longer.
Gaza has become a laboratory for the ruthlessness of our era. The world is Gaza writ large.The concentration camp has become the mirror image and inescapable outcome of modernity. Now we see its tendential inertia towards massacre. Gaza tells the story of the world, and we mustn’t forget that we’re all part of this story. There is no room for maneuver. The proof is in the Palestinians. Any residual naiveté is blinded by smoke and obliterated beneath tank treads.
The ultimatum of modernity is delivered to all life equally and without exception: Dispossession or extermination. No one escapes. Niceties and counter-argument are drowned in deafening gunfire and screams. Not even the freedom that remains in this world can escape the ethos and pathos of annihilation. The universal has arrived. The striptease of modernity is over. Nothing is authentic but pain and hate.
We all live in Gaza, in Waco, in Treblinka, in Guantanamo.
The concentration camp is the inexorable result of this system of expansion built on diaspora.
Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. Change the names and the story is about you.
The moral is incarcerated along with the rest of us.
The cards are on the table.
Oblivion pretends invincibility. The death machine will not tolerate alternatives.
Where are our limits? What daren't we do?