The Woman Who Raised Heroes

Hussein Samawarchi

This is, by far, one of the most eventful weeks for the media this year. The ongoing discussions of the speeches made at the United Nations shook the world of news analysts with praise for leaders like Presidents Hasan Rouhani [Iran] and Michel Aoun [Lebanon], and, mockery for substandard performers like [“Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and [US President Donald] Trump. There was also the mystery roaming around the Khashoggi affair which has had everyone making speculations as to how much will Erdogan take for hushing up the matter. Mohammed bin Salman had his pilot terrorists target a hospital in Yemen and then families running away from his bombs. And, news of the execution of unarmed Palestinian protestors by Zionist forces made the headlines as well.

All of the above plus coverage of Hurricane Michael could not divert attention from two women who also made the news. They are both best known for their positions on heritage and the oppressed of the world. One defended her heritage with everything dear to her heart and the other did everything she could to deny her own. One gave her three sons and a grandson to the cause of the oppressed while the other strives to have the children and grandchildren of the oppressed massacred.

The first is Aminah Salameh who is better known as Hajjeh EUm Imad Mughniyeh; she is identified as The Mother of Martyrs. A title well deserved because of the number of times she had to attend the funerals of her beloved children who achieved martyrdom in the course of defending their homeland against the invading Zionist terrorists and their Takfiri partners who attempted to break down the last Arab country standing against imperialism.

Hajjeh Um Imad waged war against evil by educating her sons about the necessity of loving their country as much as she loved them; and, a mother’s love is so immense that the greatest poets have not, yet, been able to describe it in words. That is how much her children loved their country.
She also raised them to be proud of their identity and to defend it vigorously; the identity that derives its roots from the teachings of Imam Hussein (AS) – protecting justice and defending those who are oppressed even when the enemy is superior in numbers and arms.

But that is not the only reason why she gained the title The Mother of Martyrs. People bestowed this honor on her for the role she had in motivating others. She never allowed the loss of her beloved children to break her down. That is because she did not see it as a loss. Every time the flag of her country soared higher into the sky because of the martyrdom of one of her sons, her pride grew.

In a culture where the woman is regarded as a leader, Hajjeh Em Imad carried the banner of our Lady Zeinab (AS) with all that it signifies, from strength to sacrifice to victory.

The other woman who made the news during the same time is Nimrata Randhawa, US Ambassador to the United Nations. People may know her better as Nikki Haley.  She announced her resignation this week.

Independent news outlets are still trying to pinpoint the real reason for the decision, but talk of a corruption scandal has begun circulating. Other analysts speak of a higher role being assigned to her in the Zionist deep state that comes as a token of appreciation for her shameless public support of killing Arabs where possible. She would be prepared to win the US presidential elections of 2024 and the American public would be prepared for “Israel’s” flag to fly over the White House instead of the Star-Spangled Banner.

A lot of women choose to keep their maiden names after marriage, but Nimrata did not only drop it, she dropped the first name her parents gave her as well. She changed it to Nikki in an attempt to delete everything that links her to her real heritage. How can a person who denies her own identity be expected to uphold the identity of her country? Perhaps, that is why she is dubbed “Israel’s” Ambassador to the UN instead of the ambassador of the country paying her salary.

The two women are, indeed, at opposite ends of the ethical spectrum.

As much as it saddens the heart to see Hajjeh Um Imad leave us, something very comforting could not escape the eye when watching the coverage of her farewell proceedings. The sheer number of women, young and old, participating and paying tribute to The Mother of Martyrs can only assure us that her legacy of raising patriotic heroes will go on.

She is now with Jihad, Fouad, Imad, and young Jihad, telling them how proud she is of them and ensuring them that with so many mothers raising children like she has, victory is certain for the oppressed.

Source: Al-Ahed News

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EU DECLARES ITSELF “CULTURAL SUPERPOWER” AS MIGRANT CRISIS DEVELOPS

 South Front

11.10.2018

EU Declares Itself "Cultural Superpower" As Migrant Crisis Develops

On October 9th, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Vice-President Federica Mogherini said that the EU is a “cultural superpower,” at the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair.

“Culture is an integral part of our European foreign policy. We are by definition, as Europeans, a soft power. And even now that we are investing more than ever in developing our hard power – that sometimes is needed — our European Defense, our strategic autonomy that sometimes might be needed we continue to be a cultural superpower. Let me say, the cultural superpower in the world,” Mogherini said.

She furthermore stressed on the importance of cultural diplomacy and that Europeans have always understood the force of international cultural relations – for the economy and for international relations. “And now, with our European Strategy on Culture in External Action, the same is finally true also for the European Union as such,” she said.

The EU strategy she mentioned aims at “encouraging cultural cooperation between the EU and its partner countries and promoting a global order based on peace, the rule of law, freedom of expression, mutual understanding and respect for fundamental values.”

She also said that it is not the goal to replace national cultural diplomacy, but to empower it, joining forces at a European level. She also claimed that in the past years the EU has shown “the power of culture for peace, security and economic development.”

She also emphasized on the importance of education. “Education scares terrorists. Education scares terrorists. Why? Because it empowers people. Because it is the most powerful instrument a person can have to change her own life, her own community,” she said.

Mogherini also highlighted the necessity of intervention wherever and whenever culture is attacked and threatened and that Europeans value diversity.

“So for us Europeans, who base our identity on our culture – a culture that values diversity – it is only natural to intervene whenever and wherever we see that culture is attacked. We intervene to de-mine the University of Mosul; to restore the Timbuktu manuscripts; and to preserve the memory of destroyed heritage through the most advanced technologies at our disposal and to protect writers and journalists under attack everywhere in the world,” she proclaimed.

This is of significance, because of the EU’s obvious failures in integrating the immigrant waves that are swarming the bloc. Since 2014 more than 1.8 million refugees have arrived in Europe. More than 1 million of them in 2015 alone.

The large influx has triggered social and political instability within the bloc. Welfare systems are showing inability to cope with the migrants. There is also an increase in crime, which could be related to the migrants, however there is no conclusive data to say that the migrants are the reason. Despite that, right-wing populism is on the rise in Europe.

Related News

 

Freedom and Other Illusions: Excursions into what used to be called “high versus low culture”

October 11, 2018

 

Freedom and Other Illusions – Excursions into what used to be called “high versus low culture”
(or, illusions concerning American art) With a view of art as revolt / counter-revolt / et cetera

by David A. Powell for The Saker Blog

Part 2 of 3 parts

“The counter concept to popular culture is art. Today artistic products are losing the character of spontaneity more and more and are being replaced by the phenomena of popular culture, which are nothing but a manipulated reproduction of reality as it is; and in doing so, popular culture sanctions and glorifies whatever it finds worth echoing. Schopenhauer remarked that music is ‘the world once more.’ This philosophic aphorism throws light on the unbridgeable difference between art and popular culture: it is the difference between an increase in insight through a medium possessing self-sustaining means and mere repetition of given facts with the use of borrowed tools.”

(From: Leo Löwenthal, “Historical Perspectives of Popular Culture”; Originally published in the American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 55, 1950; From Mass Culture – The Popular Arts in America, The Free Press: Glencoe, Illinois, 1957; pp. 49-50.)

Effectively replaced by a continually evolving universal mass (popular) culture of epic, world-historical proportions, things like art, along with the quote-unquote humanities, went out the window ages ago … in spite of all the attention these “timeless” things now get in The Web; attention and “information” much of which terminates in the clouding and neutralization of the potentially liberating, critical and / or independent-thought-inducing aspect of its subject by remaining within the illusion that one is “free” to think whatever one pleases no matter what … that is, as long as one’s thoughts never depart from group-think conditioned reflexes such as the Facebook “like” imperative.

Yet, in a world in which ONLY “information” which can be exploited has a home, this “disappearance of art” I refer to amounts primarily to the predictably logical fate of whatever refuses, due to its own inviolable inner nature, the tyranny of being instrumentalized for whatever cause regardless – those consisting of personal and / or social, political / economic worldviews and thought fallacies … all contained within a neatly pre-digested, gift-wrapped mindset existing for the sole purpose of reinforcing our cultural illusions … another endless circle we apparently can’t ever get enough of buying / buying into.

One crucial thing, in any event, should be remembered: only art worthy of its name disappears rather than submit to any kind of ideological exploitation; while the kind of art which submits and cannot ever find enough ways to compromise with the social order it obediently serves – along with all the personal “likes” it endlessly caters to – only proliferates endlessly, as can be presently observed with unambiguous clarity (that is, if one cares enough to observe such things to begin with).

What I mean here with the phrase “art worthy of its name” is exemplified by what is historically understood as the Romantic movement, a highly complex artistic / literary / philosophical / scientific / social / political phenomenon originating and flourishing during the late 1700’s in Germany, England and France – and lasting until the years immediately before the First World War (while having had its wings prematurely clipped as a consequence of the cataclysmic revolutions occurring in 1848 and affecting over 50 European countries).

But nothing directly resembling the Romantic movement in 19th century Europe ever happened in America (outside of one short-lived interlude to be touched upon below). The mainstream of American art essentially never had a viable relation to something like the tremendous, elemental force informing European Romantic thought and art. Certainly, there were “hot-house” American Romantics and sympathetic followers among a number of American intellectuals and artists during the 19th century as well as later. Nevertheless, the all-embracing, supremely PASSIONATE REVOLT of European Romanticism – which had a profound and lasting impact on all areas of human art, thought and endeavor – all this has remained an essentially a foreign entity in America.

In fact, the terms Romantic / Romanticism eventually acquired the status of pejoratives in America within certain ideologically-motivated “art circles.” The most degrading insult or criticism that my university painting professor could produce was the charge of “Romanticism” or the label “Romantic” … and I even heard the colorful variation, “warmed-over Romanticism”. My painting professor, by the way, was someone I got to know personally far better than I care to contemplate, and was the Director of my school’s Painting Department. This was during the 1970’s … and none of my professor’s anti-Romatic prejudices came out of nowhere.

Did my Romanticism-hating painting professor also paint? He sure did … that is, in a diametrically opposed direction to my own painting, which my professor, being the consistent authoritarian that he was, literally ordered me to stop doing. And, like every authoritarian dictator, my professor had more than his share of loyal acolytes and henchmen: a small army of devoted student teaching assistants who relished their roles of being able to terrorize their fellow painting students using my professor’s ideology – which, naturally, they all devoutly believed and shared with my professor to the utmost fanatical degree. The Painting Department at my school, therefore, had far more in common with a small country under the control of a ruthless dictator than anything having remotely to do with art – let alone any kind of independent thought or “creative activity.”

Then, there were the student Art Discussion Seminars which my professor held in his home during which all art-and-culture-related issues were covered (but closely “moderated” under my professor’s vigilantly censorious eye). The gist of what I took away from these events, however, were my professor’s amateurish attempts in the direction of what he mistook for profoundly “progressive” attitudes concerning “art and culture” … and all of which turned out to bear an uncanny likeness (as I remember realizing at the time) to the “Artistic / Cultural Statements To The Nation” which had come from another “artistically-committed leader” by the name of Adolf Hitler … and to the following statement in particular, in which Hitler proclaims:

“The proof of the endowment of a true artist is always to be found in the fact that his work of art expresses the general will of a period.”

[“expresses” being Hitler’s “refined” way of saying: “unconditionally obeys – or else“]

(From: Adolf Hitler, “House of German Art Dedication Speech”, Munich, July 18, 1937. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Art)

In “the eyes of the world,” (i.e, the myth-based worldview of American culture) my former professor is now remembered as having been entirely “successful” with his art and teaching career. His motto, which he delivered in his lectures with nothing short of missionary zeal amounted to the following: “Either one totally compromises with the ruling order or one fails miserably“; and which he liked to end with: “… and if you don’t believe me and go your own way, don’t ever come back and tell me that I didn’t warn you … so, get all of those Romantic Thoughts out of your heads!”

Therefore, it was only inevitable that my painting professor would eventually score a retrospective exhibition of his work in one of New York’s major art museums (one enjoying – then as now – universal world-wide fame). How do I know this? Because I was there – having unintentionally stumbled into the exhibition’s opening reception around a decade after my university days … you know, where everyone stands around with a drink in their hand … which included a face-to-face encounter with my former painting professor during which his nearby wife pointedly asked me: “Why don’t you congratulate [name withheld] on his exhibit?” (and I even remember feeling guilty for a couple of minutes after she completely nailed me with this question due to my shamelessly rude failure of not immediately clicking my heels and doing so … while my former professor and I only speechlessly stared at one another in total disbelief most likely because we’d been nothing outside complete pains in the ass for one another during my student days) … all occurring after I’d viewed a different exhibit in another part of the museum. But more concerning my former professor a bit later …

Of course, nothing of what I write here is intended as any sort of comprehensive account of American art as a whole – one including music, literature and visual arts, etc. But the following can, with certainty, be said of the historical origins of the American visual art scene (with specific applicability for its New York based capitol). Even though American visual artists studied extensively during the 19th century in various European academies (Europe being where first-rate art schools existed at the time in contrast to America), the work they produced upon returning home was completely tailored to fit the worldview cultivated by the elite financial class then spearheading America’s developing industrial capitalism. The identification of the American artist during this period with the members of a wealthy elite amounted, on one level, to the most expedient career move possible to insure the acquisition of maximum financial and social success within the anglo-American system (while the “have-nots” of American society were summarily regarded as low-class “losers”). Yet, in a far more important sense, this identification also firmly cemented the very notion and practice of art itself within the myth-based system of American culture as a whole – together with the ethos of a thoroughly capitalist worldview – which had already begun to assume the religious character it now possesses.

To make a very long story far shorter than it should be: within the visual arts in America, the only force to ever challenge the mythology which had already engulfed American culture was a counter-mythology pursued by the so-called “New York School of Painting” of the 1940’s–early 1960’s (a very loosely affiliated group of individual New York painters inaccurately described to this day as practitioners of the critically fabricated phenomenon now known as “Abstract Expressionism”).

But when I speak of a “counter-mythology” having been pursued by this loosely affiliated group (i.e., by a few of its members), I’m using a term employed in the writings of the painters themselves: what was called “a new myth” capable of effectively coping with the entirely New Reality which descended upon all of us along with the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan (a New Reality which, at the time, was calculatedly brushed aside by both the majority of the American press and the political / intellectual power elite alike as being merely “a natural, inevitable consequence of scientific / technological progress”). The CIA’s ensuing, clandestine Cold War “weaponization” of the work of the members of the New York School of Painting during this period finally signaled, in a profoundly symbolic manner, the complete end of the only major art phenomenon in America to have ever approached the status of a neo-Romantic revolt … and fully consistent with my painting professor’s hatred of whatever he perceived as being even remotely “Romantic.”

In the words of Dwight Macdonald (appearing in Politics, September, 1945): “The Authorities have made valiant attempts to reduce the thing [the atomic bomb] to a human context, where such concepts as Justice, Reason, Progress could be employed.… The flimsiness of these justifications is apparent; any atrocious action, absolutely any one, could be excused on such grounds. For there is really only one possible answer to the problem posed by Dostoevski’s Grand Inquisitor: if all mankind could realize eternal and complete happiness by torturing to death a single child, would this act be morally justified?… From President Truman down, they emphasized that the Bomb has been produced in the normal, orderly course of scientific experiment, that it is thus simply the latest step in man’s long struggle to control the forces of nature, in a word that it is Progress.

The Bomb is the natural product of the kind of society we have created. It is as easy, normal and unforced an expression of the American Way of Life as electric ice-boxes, banana splits and hydromatic-drive automobiles.

Again, the effort to ‘humanize’ the Bomb by showing how it fits into our normal everyday life also cuts the other way: it reveals how inhuman our normal life has become.”

(From: Dwight Macdonald, “Memoirs of a Revolutionist” (Politics, September, 1945); quoted in: Serge Guilbaut, How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art – Abstract Expressionism, Freedom and the Cold War, 1983. https://academic.oup.com/oaj/article-abstract/7/2/60/1417806); See also the 1974 article by Eva Cockcroft, “Abstract Expressionism, Weapon of the Cold War” https://scrapaduq.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/modern-art-was-cia-weapon/evacockroft/ )

Comment from Serge Guilbaut: “For Macdonald, the dehumanization of society that made it possible to produce a weapon as sophisticated as the atom bomb, that made it possible for 125,000 workers to participate in a project without knowing the purpose of what they were doing, was incomprehensible. Under such conditions, he maintained, the words ‘democracy,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘progress,’ and ‘science’ no longer meant anything.”

Aside from being overwhelmed by the description of our own hellish reality already laid out by Macdonald in 1945, I was unexpectedly struck by his reference to “hydromatic-drive automobiles” (along with the now quaint-sounding term, “electric ice boxes” which I still heard as a kid). But who in the world remembers such formerly state-of-the-art wheels employing “hydromatic-drive”? (probably not many outside antique car fanatics). More importantly, though, these now-aging critical barbs aimed at the convenience-and-progress obsessions of The American Way of Life alerted me to some very nearby passages from Malevich’s The World as Objectlessness (which would have bitten me, had they been snakes):

“Life as social relations, like a homeless tramp, enters every form of Art and makes it its living space. And convinced, on top of that, that it was the cause of the appearance of that form of Art. After a night’s sleep, it abandons the housing as an unneeded thing, and it turns out that after life empties Art, Art becomes more valuable, it is kept in museums not as an expedient thing but as objectless Art per se, for it had never come from expedient life.

Objectless Art stands without windows or doors, like a spiritual sensation that does not seek prosperity or expeditious things or trade profit of ideas – neither prosperity nor ‘promised lands.’

The art of Moses is the path whose goal is to lead us into the ‘promised land.’ Therefore, he is still building expeditious things and railroad tracks, because the people being led are tired of walking out of ‘Egypt.’ Humanity is already tired of riding in trains, it is learning to fly and will soon soar up, but the ‘promised land’ is not in sight.

That is the reason why Moses was never interested in Art and is not interested now, for most of all he wants to find the ‘promised land.’

Therefore he banishes abstract phenomena and confirms concrete ones. Therefore his life is not in the objectless spirit but only in mathematical calculations of profit. Hence Christ did not come to confirm the expeditious laws of Moses but to annul them, saying ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within us.’ By this he said that there are no paths to promised lands, therefore there is no expeditious railroad, for no one can say that it is located here or some other place, therefore, no one can lay a road to it. Millennia have passed in mankind’s travel, but there is no ‘promised land.’

Despite this historical experience of trying to find the true road to the promised land and attempts to make an expedient object, society is still trying to find it, straining their muscles ever harder, hammering the blade and trying to break through all obstacles, but the blade merely slipped in the air, since there were no obstacles in the space, merely the hallucinations of the imagination.

The historical path shows us that only Art can make phenomena that remain absolute and constant. Everything vanishes and only monuments live for the ages. […]

Up to this point, life developed from two points of view of goodness: the first is material, the grub-economical, and the second is religious; there should have been a third – the point of view of Art, but it was regarded by the other two as an applied phenomenon, whose forms come from the first two. Economic life was not examined from the point of view of Art, because Art was not yet the sun in whose warmth the tavern grub life would flourish.

In fact, Art plays an enormous role in the construction of life and leaves exclusively beautiful forms for millennia. Art has the capability, the technique, which people cannot achieve in a purely material road in the search for the prosperous land. […]

People of the most utilitarian outlook still see the apotheosis of the day in Art – of course, the apotheosis for them is ‘Ivan Petrovich’, [i.e., a representational image / portrait of “John Everyman”] the face embodying life, but still, with the help of Art, that face became the apotheosis. Thus, pure Art is still covered by the face/mask of life, and therefore the form of life that could be unfolded from the point of view of art is not visible.

You would think that the entire mechanical utilitarian world should have a single goal – to free up time for man’s main life: making Art ‘per se,’ to limit the sense of hunger in favor of the sense of Art.

The developing tendency to build task-oriented and expeditious things that try to overcome the sensation of Art should take note of the fact that basically there are no things in the purely utilitarian form, more than ninety-five percent of things come of the plastic sensation.

There is no need to seek convenient and expedient things, for historical experience shows that people were never able to make such things: everything collected now in museums will prove that not a single thing is convenient or achieves its goal. Otherwise, it would not be in museums, so if it once seemed convenient, it only seemed so, and this is now proven by the fact that collected works are inconvenient in daily life, and our contemporary ‘expedient things’ only seem that way, tomorrow will prove that they could not have been convenient. Everything made by Art, however, is beautiful and that will be confirmed by the future: therefore, we only have Art.”

(From: Kazimir Malevich, The World as Objectlessness; Kunstmuseum Basil, 2014, p. 193.)

In ending this second part, however, I have to admit something. My inclusion of the above passages from Malevich was not only because a line about hydromatic-drive autos reminded me of the technological mind-set discussed by Malevich – one which only advances with ever more break-neck speed as I write this.

I have also included the above passages from Malevich as a demonstration of the fact that there exist vitally important things which do not to amount to what is consumed and desired above all else now: mere “information” to be absorbed at a glance only confirming largely what we already believe in; what we have already concluded that we “know”; something only to be “understood” to the extent that it conforms itself according to whatever our “current understanding” of the world happens to be in the present.

Instead of what one usually gets when one tunes into the usual “information / disinformation source” of one’s choice, Malevich gives us real thoughts in rather sharp contrast to “real” news along with the “fake” variety; thoughts which are highly independent of how the majority – regardless of whatever individual political orientation – thinks and acts in our present. In short, Malevich’s thoughts are totally free from a uniform absence of thought which now only grows by the minute in spite of how “well-meaning” and sincere (or totally mistaken) this conformity doubtless remains. Consequently, what Malevich writes above requires nothing short of a reciprocal thought-effort in return – that is, in distinction to what the choir long already knows by heart and can effortlessly sing in its sleep … along with as much time as it takes to grasp the full meaning conveyed by Malevich … together with adequate patience and perhaps some courage … but with more than anything else, an open mind.

Finally, these thoughts from Malevich are in no way “out-of-date.” To the contrary – while there is nothing really “utopian” in them – they belong among the thoughts which can be said to exist largely in a future tense … that is, if the present can somehow be overcome and relegated once and for all to a dead past having only to do with ignorance, destruction and self-limitation; a present now wearing the highly deceptive mask of “progress”; an emblem only amounting to the perpetual, exclusively fear-motivated idolatry of “results that count” … one only propelling us into a more primitive past tense than can be presently imagined by our group-think instincts, reflexes, and Material Purposes.
——-
About the author: David A. Powell is an American artist living in Germany since 1990. In addition to having a lifelong, ongoing involvement and fascination with the most radically unpopular ideas and concepts capable of being imagined by anyone, he has a degree in art history and literature and – along a number of other occupations and activities throughout his life – has also exhibited his paintings (in Germany, at least).

Freedom and Other Illusions: American culture as illusory myth

October 08, 2018

by David A. Powell for The Saker Blog

Part 1 of 3 parts

As I began writing this essay, my first thoughts went something like this: I could attempt to write something on the illusion of freedom; on the reasons that this illusion is far worse than an actual absence of freedom. But who would understand me? Who knows today the state which is furthest away from an absence of freedom? … the one Alexander Solzhenitsyn describes in the following terms:

“It is a good thing to think in prison, but it is not bad in camp either. Because, and this is the main thing, there are no meetings. For ten years you are free from all kinds of meetings! Is that not mountain air? While they openly claim your labor and your body, to the point of exhaustion and even death, the camp keepers do not encroach at all on your thoughts. They do not try to screw down your brains and to fasten them in place. And this results in a sensation of freedom of much greater magnitude than the freedom of one’s feet to run along on the level.

No one tries to persuade you to apply for Party membership. No one comes around to squeeze membership dues out of you in voluntary societies. There is no trade union – the same kind of protector of your interests as an official lawyer before a tribunal. And there are no ‘production meetings.’ You cannot be elected to any position. You cannot be appointed some kind of delegate. And the really important thing is … that they cannot compel you to be a propagandist.”

(From: The Gulag Archipelago (Vol. II); Part IV: “The Soul and Barbed Wire”; Chapter 1, “The Ascent”.)

I’d venture to say that few presently know this kind of freedom – that is, outside of those finding themselves still living under one or another of the now antiquated forms of outward repression resembling the one which sent Solzhenitsyn to the Gulag.

For those who live in relative comfort outside of an actual prison in their “Free Country / Free World” there are few immediate reasons to be concerned about an outer “absence of freedom” of the kind experienced by Solzhenitsyn in the Gulag; but even less reason to be seriously concerned about the direct opposite of an outer “absence of freedom” – Solzhenitsyn’s sensation of a freedom “of [a] much greater magnitude than the freedom of one’s feet to run along on the level.”

There are far too many things to be built; mouths to be given birth to and fed; appointments to be kept; deadlines to be met; causes to be served; wrongs to be made right; Evil Empires to be established / dismantled by The Forces of Good; and last but not least, worlds to be bettered. All of these things can only be accomplished by running like crazy with one’s feet “on the level” as opposed to what Solzhenitsyn describes as an “ascent”; the direct antithesis of a slogan such as, “The result is what counts!” (a slogan later introduced and explored at some length in Solzhenitsyn’s chapter).

Nevertheless, what Solzhenitsyn pinpoints as thinking (and it might be added: along with education = learning to think) … thinking only gets in the way of what must be ACTED UPON (Period). And everyone living under the spell of our “Free Country / Free World” concept unmistakably understands this – and only this.

This is American culture in the proverbial nutshell: a practical, utilitarian, materialist culture to the core from beginning to end; a culture foremost of action, ambition and initiative; an ever-dynamic wonder of “progress” as little inclined to look forward as it could ever imagine looking backward; a one-way fast lane to the paramount goal of success (and now that the moral dimension has disappeared from the map, often a notion of success at any and all costs).

Success (preeminently of the material kind) – along with an almost exclusive reliance upon what only action-in-the-world-as-it-is can give us – are two of the primary notions which have informed and defined American culture since its beginnings. Notions such as these – almost the moment they go unchallenged – become cultural myths amounting to what might as well be described as articles of religious belief; when they remain invisible; become unthinking reflexes; are taken as natural, unchanging “facts” like the sky above and the ground beneath us; when they are seen as “just the way things are.”

Americans have never really existed outside of what amounts to an invisible, all-inclusive, all-encompassing prison without walls – the outlines of which I have attempted sketch above; what American culture adamately calls “freedom” – but one remaining, in any event, a concept which can be just as well described as an “illusion of freedom.”

… yes, in spite of people like Henry David Thoreau or Herman Melville, author of The Confidence Man – one of the most universally famous, widely read novels in all of literature (excuse my irony) … Thoreau? Melville? … do these names still ring any bells? … I honestly no longer know because during my high school days in the mid-1960’s, I remember reading Thoreau as an extracurricular project (and, yes, I still have the Modern Library edition of Thoreau’s work which I read in my late ‘teens … and I continue to read from it to this day every time I need a barrel of arctic water poured over my brain; a great way to get snapped back into the Real World whenever one begins to have the feeling that one is losing touch with it).

Or Lincoln, the great contemporary of Thoreau and Melville: “We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.” (From: Abraham Lincoln, “Annual Message to Congress – Concluding Remarks”; December 1, 1862.) http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/congress.htm

enthrall (1) : To hold in or reduce to slavery (2) : To hold spellbound : charm.

disenthrall : To free from a controlling force or influence.

No writer that I know of has laid out the role of myth within a culture with more clarity and concision than former philosophy professor John Kozy:

“Those who use Internet media to rightly point out the lies and misdeeds of both the government and the propaganda press are indefatigable in their efforts, having, it seems, adopted the maxim that says the truth will set us free. But it won’t! It never has! It never will! The claim is a legendary lie. Too few people care enough about truth for it to matter. Common people are too busy fulfilling instinctive tasks such as acquiring sustenance, shelter, and reproducing to trouble themselves with esoteric questions. So, as any social critic knows, critical efforts fall on deaf ears and blind eyes. The truth, when brought to light, is merely ignored.

In fact, no culture was ever created to discover and disseminate truth. None exists for that purpose today. A culture exists to promote a group’s existence. Cultures are instruments of preservation. Cultures are defined by myths. Unless a culture’s myths are known, its nature cannot be understood.

The myths, although obviously false, are often considered as historical truths, and a culture’s institutions are used to inculcate them. Once inculcated in the minds of people, the myths are almost impossible to expunge. Ears are deafened and eyes are blinded. The social critic is neither heard nor seen. The culture uses its ability to ignore the social critic as a defensive tactic. Ignorance defends the culture, and the culture’s educational institutions promote the ignorance. The institution cannot be divorced form its culture. In any culture, truth is something to be avoided and kept hidden.”

(From: “What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Men” http://www.globalresearch.ca/what-evil-lurks-in-the-hearts-of-men/5418308 / http://www.jkozy.com

http://www.jkozy.com/JOHN%20KOZY%20(2017)%20-%20COLLECTED%20WORKS.pdf

There exists – at least, for this writer – far more “truth” in what Kozy writes above than in what all the well-meaning people now endlessly preach to the “already-converted.” As it always was, to “tell the truth” is now synonymous with being ignored; being seen as non-existent. It would appear to be a far more logical strategy to attempt a revolution in thinking which removes the foundations from the cultural myths which do nothing but enslave us; a thought revolutionin the direction of learning to think – that is, in contrast to the usual indoctrination into whatever happens to be momentarily conceived as “correct” thinking and conduct from either the “progressive” or “regressive” viewpoint – it matters not which one.

Genuine education, when understood as “learning to think,” is never something which exclusively depends on better school funding; or, remains only threatened by excessive educational costs. To an equal degree, genuine education also does not necessarily depend upon actually attending a school, or getting an official certification that one is “educated” from a school (a “truth” which Mark Twain was rather fond of pointing out). Independent thinking (thoughtitself) is closely related to what Albert Camus described in his 1957 address “Create Dangerously” as the aim of art: “The aim of art … is not to legislate or to reign supreme, but rather to understand first of all.” It’s a “free agent” with few commitments to anything outside of getting to the bottom of and ultimately understanding unconditionallywhatever it is occupied with quite independent of how one arrives at this understanding; a position which is potentially dangerous for every social / political / economic position in our world of the present; the sole reason Camus used the word “dangerously” in the title of his address to begin with.

Whether “regressive”, “progressive” – or whatever falls in between – practically every viewpoint of the present is primarily interested in “education” only to the extent that it can be made to fit whatever ideological agenda is to be served – while avoiding to lead anyone along the path of the desperately feared “utopian folly” of independent thought (or, “What if those insane pie-in-the-sky ideas actually work? … then, we’re in really big trouble…”).

In light of the above, therefore, most of what goes on in what’s left of public life concerning “education” might accurately be described in these terms: (1) cost cutting and raising for institutional “education” (2) the shedding of crocodile tears over the obvious fact that “no one is ‘educated’ any more because the power elite planned it that way” (for all of which, naturally, there exists more than enough evidence); and typified by the progressive mantra of guarding against losing our so-called “freedoms” and saving “independent media,” etc. (… an unceasing, hypnotic back and forth motion ending with the trance-like, totally paralyzing “increased awareness of what’s happening around us” to which we’re subjected over and over and over with no end in sight).

Essentially, we live in a world where “evil” is fighting “evil” – an image, to the contrary, which our present world would tend to prefer imagining as either existing within some historically removed “Biblical Land of Theology and Superstition”; or, conversely, within the usual futuristic Star Wars scenario “somewhere out there in outer space”; but one simply meaning (in the mundane, everyday reality back on the earth of our present) that the progressive and regressive amount to little outside the reverse sides of the same materialist coin. Add all of this to the fact that the majority mainly wants something which makes its life better and – above all else – easier and more convenient (not to mention cooler) in an almost exclusively material sense. Truly independent thinking, though, very rarely does any of the above; and in most cases accomplishes just the opposite in terms of socially-sanctified “results that count”.

Independent thinking, in the final analysis, might possibly be “good” for a least one thing: being able to live with oneself. Otherwise, it’s a damned bad idea if one wants to live in the same company of those around one in the present world we inhabit. If one makes too many waves in our world of the present (i.e., doesn’t think the “right” socially-culturally prescribed thoughts belonging to everyone else but especially the person standing right next to you), one can quickly end up in a situation where one basically no longer exists in the eyes of others – unless, of course, one has built up around oneself a group of like-minded Others or has joined an already existing group. But if groups are not one’s thing, one had better have at least one true friend or a sympathetic family member or two because otherwise – especially if one finds it impossible to engage in anything outside of independent thought – one is more or less on one’s own.

At this point it has occurred to me that it might be a good idea to pause and excuse myself for repeatedly using expressions such as “our world of the present” (i.e., any formulation where the word “present” is employed). This is due to the fact that throughout my writing here, I’ve found it impossible to get Søren Kierkegaard’s 1846 essay “The Present Age” – something I’ve known and loved for my entire adult life – for a single moment out of my mind. Written long before many of our specifically “local” concerns of the present (there it is again!) were imagined by the mainstream, Kierkegaard painted a portrait of our present revolutionary age – as opposed to a passionate age of revolt – with devastating accuracy:

“A passionate, tumultuous age will overthrow everything, pull everything down; but a revolutionary age, that is at the same time reflective and passionless, transforms that expression of strength into a feat of dialectics: it leaves everything standing but cunningly empties it of significance. Instead of culminating in a rebellion it reduces the inward reality of all relationships to a reflective tension which makes the whole of life ambiguous: so that everything continues to exist factually whilst by a dialectical deceit, privatissime, it supplies a secret interpretation  that it does not exist.

(From: Søren Kierkegaard, “The Present Age”, translated by Alexander Dru.)

Certainly, the practice of official (or, in our time, clandestine) censorship of books, etc. is not a great thing. But compared with what transpires on a minute-by-minute basis within the so-called private spheres of a thoroughly conformist world such as ours, the now relatively outworn practice of the censorship of objects such as books almost pales to insignicance.

In light of the above, then, I can’t avoid the conclusion that it might be more productive to concern ourselves with something which decisively defines, in the end, our current state: the rigidly self maintained stranglehold of never leaving the invisible, closed circle endlessly rotating around the single point defined by our very own special, exclusive brand of materialist belief. We never get beyond the age-old straightjacket of “freely choosing” to exist within a worldview which elevates socially mandated, group-approved and group-controlled material “results that count” to what amounts to an inviolable Natural Law … those material results which always have to exist before we can think about anything which does not originate in and translate back into literally the same terms; namely, exclusively political / economic terms – the only terms which appear to be operative in our present reality; the ultimate reason why an illusory freedom is far worse than an absence of “the freedom of one’s feet to run along on the level”.

What might ligitimately be called non-illusory freedom just might amount, therefore, to finally going in a direction never gone in up to the present point in time – one directly contrary to the “human nature” which we have always, as a species, unquestionably obeyed above all other authorities. I’d like to think that this is what Lincoln meant when he said that we must disenthrall ourselves … not in the first instance from some evil dictator or system … but from ourselves in order to finally save ourselves along with our very best notions of what freedom, in reality, amounts to. Within the entirely new space which would be established by this kind disenthrallment, evil dictators and systems would cease to have a home – even before they had the chance to appear in the first place.

The artist and philosopher Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935) had what still stands as an (art) historically unprecedented view of non-illusory freedom; one which perfectly mirrors in certain ways Lincoln’s notion of disenthrallment (including, in addition, some of what I’ve already written about above). Quite predictably, however, the “new space of freedom” Malevich has revealed, has made him into the most consistently misunderstood and neglected indispensable thinker and artist in his own time as well as ours – entirely independent, naturally, of the fact that “Malevich” is now a famous “brand-name” in art (along with Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Picasso, and all the rest).

To express the matter in the most direct manner possible: Malevich has now been reduced to an artist and philosopher “understood” and interpreted in a specious and often outright mistaken sense; one which attempts to force the thought and art of Malevich into the mould of a characteristically American notion of “abstract art” lying in the opposite direction relative to Malevich’s actual thought (but none of this “Americanization” is at all new since it dates at least back to year 1945 – when America ‘won’ the war, dropped The Bomb, and took over everything which couldn’t be smuggled into some kind of secret hiding place unknown to the CIA).

I’m writing this about what essentially amounts to the suppression and censorship of Malevich’s profoundly anti-materialist thought and art because it should be kept in mind when one reads parts of the following sections of this essay in which I touch upon Malevich’s thoughts along with a number of related themes which expand upon what I have written above.

What follows are three thought-examples from different Malevich texts which go in the opposite direction away from the currently prevailing “mainstream ‘art’ and ‘world culture’ narratives”:

“What is the ideology of Art, my point of view on Art is that Art has no ideology, no idea, not even an image and if anyone finds ideologies in Art, he is first of all finding elements of an ideology that is imposed on Art and the Artist.”

(From: Kazimir Malevich in what is now called “Autograph Manuscript 2”, dating from Malevich’s 1927 stay in Berlin and published for the first time in: Kazimir Malevich, The World as Objectlessness; Kunstmuseum Basil, 2014).

https://www.abebooks.com/9783775737319/Kazimir-Malevich-World-Objectlessness-Simon-3775737316/plp

“The influence of economic, political, religious, and utilitarian phenomena on art is the disease of art.”

“Throughout the world the dictatorship of speculators in pursuit of profit has disfigured life, thus destroying art. Artistic culture has been replaced by speculation; but the new art, architecture, and painting of today is an indication that we are on the threshold of a great new classical age in art. Our contemporaries must understand that life will not be the content of art, but rather that art must become the content of life, since only thus can life be beautiful.”

(From: Kazimir Malevich, “Painting and the Problem of Architecture”, 1928; trans. Xenia Glowacki-Prus; from: K. S. Malevich, Essays on art – 1915-1933, ed. Troels Andersen; Copenhagen, 1968.)

“The shell on sensations grew and hid the creature that neither comprehension nor imagination can picture. Therefore, it seems to me that Raphael, Rubens, Rembrandt, Titian and others are that beautiful shell, the body, behind which the public cannot see the essence of the sensations of Art. If these sensations were to be taken out of the frames of the body, the public would not recognize them. Therefore the public accepts the depiction for the image of the essence hidden within it, which has no resemblence to the depiction. The face of the hidden essence of sensations can be completely contradictory to the depiction, if of course it is completely faceless, objectless.”

(From Kazimir Malevich: “Suprematism”; from: The World as Objectlessness, 1927; Kunstmuseum Basil; Hatje Kantz, 2014, p. 189.)

Malevich is writing in this last quote about the shell-like “surface” of illusion-based, “realistic” visual art … but which in the meantime is now embodied, as well, by “realism”-saturated digital photos, “realism”-saturated digital films and videos (commercial and / or otherwise) along with all the other “realism”-saturated digital stuff which now practically defines the Web – since it all amounts to one big happy “realism”-saturated communal world-wide family which everyone and their pet canary takes entirely for granted due to illusionistic images of hollow “life masks” (even when pure cartoon fantasy) having become – virtually in every sense of the word – the only means by which we now orient ourselves to and within what we imagine as our FREELY CHOSEN outer and “inner” worlds; the “realism”-saturated digital depiction of our entire universe having now more or less taken over as the primary survival / sense-making tool we possess as a species.

In Malevich’s terms, these illusory projections of material “reality” – these illusionistic “shells” which only obscure instead of revealing what actually sustains us as humans; these shell-like surfaces hide the objectless, faceless face of art; i.e., “the sensations of Art”. Therefore, we can only begin to talk about what Malevich really meant in the above passage when we finally confront art as opposed to our illusory culture – one which may be seen as a “mask” concealing a great many things, ideas and objects in our culture – but nevertheless a culture in which Malevich’s objectless, faceless face of art will never be found in the cultural mainstream.

Or … does anyone ever wonder why it’s the case in Malevich’s late paintings (if one is acquainted with them) that Malevich’s human figures often totally lack faces? (OK … I’ve just given out – entirely free of charge – a significant hint in the direction of addressing this question).

Stated differently: one can print Malevich’s iconic “Black Quadrat” on a T-shirt – and one can even comfortably wear it. But within the frame of the world which has produced our culture of Material-Reality-As-It-Is-And-Nothing-Beyond – it’s virtually impossible to do what the principles of Malevich’s faceless face of Art demand of us in completely unambiguous terms: the total reversal of the object-worship embodied by the obsessive invention of narcissistic cultural fairy-tales – one which, for quite some time now, has progressively cut off the life-blood of the world we inhabit.

Ask nearly anyone randomly encountered in a public place and one will very likely learn what art in our culture now amounts to: above all else, “art” designates the popularly conceived greater-than-average manual skill for rendering – almost exclusively – the surface appearances of our world (i.e., in order to take the viewer / consumer on an effortless vacation / entertainment trip to a place the viewer / consumer already knows and just loves more than anything else to revisit time and time again) … and if one falls into the category of what is commonly considered to comprise “being a ‘good’ artist”, one can render surface appearances in a proficient manner; but if one can’t render surface appearances in a proficienct manner … well, one is judged to be “not such a ‘good’ artist” … End of Story … or, “Yes, yes … your ‘abstract’ pictures are really – well … REALLY NICE … but tell me if you don’t mind … did you – you know – ever learn how todraw?

On the one hand, therefore, “art” has been reduced to (1) nothing other than the elevation of learned craft; the strictly technically oriented over what Malevich has called the hidden essence of art – “the depiction [of] the image … which has no resemblence to the depiction”… in other words, what has been raised to the level of an cultural orthodoxy amounting to a total capitulation to the world of Material-Reality-As-It-Is-And-Nothing-Beyond; an enslavement to the (professionally well-made) illusionistic surface appearances of this world. (2) On the other hand, “serious art” has undergone the fatal reduction to “culture”; what composer Morton Feldman meant when he stated in 1976:

The big problem is that we have to differentiate too between culture and art. Art is done just by a few people. Culture is the manifestation. Publishers, students, teachers is culture. I’m a volunteer of culture, not art. And one of the things about culture, and I feel the young people are more aligned to culture, which again is society, than they are to the other things. Because in culture one has to have the illusion that one understands. You see? […]

That is not communication. Communication is what I have in my music, with myself. Do you know what communication is for me? Communication is when people don’t understand each other. That’s what communication is. Because then there is a consciousness level that is being brought out of you, where an effort is made.

[…] you’re not supposed to understand art. You are supposed to understand culture … and culture is just a department store which allows you to go and take what you want, if you can afford it.”

(From: “Conversation Between Morton Feldman and Walter Zimmermann” http://www.cnvill.net/mfzimmr.htm)

——-
About the author: David A. Powell is an American artist living in Germany since 1990. In addition to having a lifelong, ongoing involvement and fascination with the most radically unpopular ideas and concepts capable of being imagined by anyone, he has a degree in art history and literature and – along a number of other occupations and activities throughout his life – has also exhibited his paintings (in Germany, at least).

David A. Powell – Untitled (1969-2018) / Pastel on paper / 45×60 cm

هل يُحاكَم قابيل بتهمة قتل هابيل؟

مارس 10, 2018

د. عصام نعمان

نشرت صحيفة «القدس العربي» قبل أيام أنّ نقابة المحامين في النجف أجرت محاكمة للخليفة الأموي هشام بن عبد الملك انتهت بالحكم عليه بالإعدام بتهمة قتل زيد بن علي بن الحسين.

الخبر طريف ومخيف في آن. طريفٌ لوجود ناس في كوكبنا الأرضي ما زالوا يجدون رغبة ومتعة في الاقتصاص من شخص لارتكابه جرماً قبل نحو 1400 سنة. مخيفٌ لاحتمال أن تتفشّى هذه التقليعة في أوساط البشرية المعاصرة، فينبري أشخاص أو جماعات من فرط ولعهم بإحقاق الحق ونشدان العدالة إلى إجراء محاكمة لقابيل بتهمة قتل أخيه هابيل!

تصوّروا لو تحوّلت هذه التقليعة الى نزعةٍ أو تقليد جارفٍ عابرٍ للأمم والشعوب، فينبري بعض المسيحيين إلى إجراء محاكمة لكلّ مَن يثبت التحقيق قيامه أو اشتراكه أو تدخله في جريمة صَلب السيد المسيح. ثم تصوّروا لو أنّ بعض المسلمين انبرى إلى إجراء محاكمة لكلّ من يثبت التحقيق قيامه أو اشتراكه أو تدخّله في جرائم اغتيال كلّ من الخلفاء الراشدين: عمر بن الخطاب وعثمان بن عفان وعلي بن أبي طالب والخليفة الأموي عمر بن عبد العزيز الذي يعتبره الفقهاء خليفةً راشدياً بالتقوى والفتوى والممارسة وسيّد الشهداء الحسين بن علي وغيرهم كثيرون من القادة والأعلام والأفذاذ المظلومين. تخوّفي أنه إذا ما جرت هذه المحاكمات ومثيلاتها، فتكون البشرية قد استحضرت ماضيها وأعادت اجتراره في الحاضر وربما في المستقبل إلى نهاية التاريخ.

هل مِن مسوّغ لتخوّفي هذا؟

نعم، لأنّ بعض العرب والمسلمين ما زال يعيش في الماضي ويقوم، بشكلٍ أو بآخر، باستحضار بعض واقعاته وحكاياته وأحداثه وحوادثه ويُعيد اجترارها أو محاكاتها في الحاضر.

نعم، الماضي يحتلّ قسماً كبيراً من حاضرنا. ونحن نعيشه يومياً ونعيد إنتاجه، بوعي أو بغير وعي، في شتى مناحي حياتنا. كلّ ذلك لأنّ الماضي في ثقافتنا ما زال المثل والمثال والقدوة والأسوة. فنحن لا نتذكّر واقعاته وأحداثه لأخذ العبرة والاتعاظ بل للاجترار والمحاكاة.

ما سبب هذه الظاهرة المرَضية؟

إنني من القائلين إنّ الإنسان في قوله وفعله هو إبن ثقافته. كما تكون ثقافته يكون. صحيح لأنّ جملة عوامل وحاجات وتطلّعات تكوّن ثقافة الإنسان، وقد يكون لبعضها دور في تكوينها أكثر من غيره، ومع ذلك فإنّ حضورها في عقل الإنسان وقلبه وأعصابه يبقى حضوراً متكاملاً ومؤثراً.

من الواضح أنّ للماضي حضوراً واسعاً وفاعلاً في ثقافة معظمنا التي هي ثقافة ماضوية، إنْ صحّ التعبير. معظمنا يفكّر بلغة الماضي وصِيَغه وقيمه وحتى مصطلحاته، ويستسيغ استحضاره وإعادة تجسيده في الحاضر. نحن، بهذا المعنى، ماضويون. أجل، ماضويون في التفكير والتدبير ونجد، غالباً، ضالتنا وفخرنا في ماضينا التليد، ونصبو إلى محاكاته في حاضرنا.

لكن، هل ماضينا كله تليد؟ هل كله صحيح، وصحي وحقيقي ومتألّق وجدير، تالياً، بأن يُحاكى ويقلّد؟

لا شك في وجود جوانب بهيّة وباهرة في ماضينا، لكن ثمّة جوانب أخرى مظلمة وبائسة. لذا لا يجوز قبول أو تقبّل الماضي كله بعجره وبجره. من الممكن، بل من الضروري، اكتناه قيمَه وجوانبه الحيّة، لكن من الضروري أيضاً اطّراح قيَمه الشائخة وجوانبه المظلمة.

بعض الماضويين، وربما السلفيين أيضاً، موغل في التعلّق بالماضي حتى حدود الشغف. الماضي كله أفضل من الحاضر. الماضي كله جدير بأن يُعاد فرضُه على الحاضر والمستقبل. الماضي، في مفهوم هؤلاء، هو المقدّس بالمقارنة مع الحاضر المدنّس.

لعلّ السبب الرئيس لسطوة الماضي على الحاضر هو اقتران الحاضر في معظم مراحل تاريخنا بسطوة الغير المعادي أو المختلف ونزوعه إلى فرض نفسه، وبالتالي ثقافته علينا. رفض الجديد والحديث كان جرّاء مجيئه أو اقترانه مع الآخر المستعمِر أو العدو أو، أقلّه، المختلف.

هكذا كانت، في الغالب الأعمّ، ردة فعل عامة الناس من ذوي الثقافة الماضوية. غير أنّ قلّة فينا، على مرّ التاريخ، تجاوزت أطر ثقافتها الماضوية وتطلّعت إلى ما هو خارجها واستطاعت، تالياً، أن تقف موقفاً نقدياً من الثقافة الماضوية السائدة ومن التراث عموماً.

سببٌ آخر فاعل لتمسّك عامة الناس بالماضي وتقديمه على الحاضر. إنه الدين من حيث هو مصدر الإيمان. الدين موجود ونابع من الكتب الدينية المقدّسة التي تعود بتاريخها الى الماضي ما يجعل المؤمن متمسّكاً بالماضي لكونه مصدر الإيمان العزيز على قلبه ومشاعره ووجدانه.

قلائل من الناس، مفكّرون عقلانيون ومصلحون شجعان، تمكّنوا عبر التاريخ من الخروج من الماضي نحو الحاضر والمستقبل من دون أن يسيئوا إلى تمسك المؤمنين، ولا سيما الماضويين منهم، بقيَم الماضي التي يعتبرونها مقدّسة. هؤلاء لاحظوا أنّ الإيمان بالله ورسله لا يتناقض مع ثقافة الانفتاح العقلاني على الحاضر والتشوّف المتوازن الى المستقبل. بل إنهم لاحظوا ظاهرة مدمّرة هي أنّ عبادة السلطة التي يمارسها معظم الحكّام تتعارض مع عبادة الله. لذا دعوا إلى فصل السلطة عن الدين. هذا الفصل بين الاثنين لا يسيء إلى الدين بل يحصّنه ضدّ أخطاء أصحاب السلطة وخطاياهم. كما أنه يجنّب أهل السلطة سلوكيات بعض أهل الدين المتزمّتة وأحياناً المتعارضة مع مصالح الناس عامةً.

كيف الخروج من الماضي وثقافته المغلقة إلى الحاضر وثقافته المنفتحة والمستقبل وثقافته المغايرة؟

ثمّة مسالك وطرائق عدّة، لعلّ أفعلها في زماننا وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي التي قرّبت بين الأفراد والجماعات، وأتاحت للفرد فرصاً كثيرة لإطلاق قدراته وإيصالها الى الملأ، وجعلت الانشغال بقضايا الحاضر ومتطلّباته متقدّمة على قضايا الماضي وأحداثه الدموية وأَوْلى بالاهتمام من محاكمة قاتلي الناس في أرواحهم وأرزاقهم وطموحاتهم، وأوْلى بالتحقيق من محاكمة قابيل قاتل أخيه هابيل وأمثاله من قَتَلة العظماء على مرّ التاريخ!

Recommended  for Muslim readers

Video No 2 will follow and so on

 

Say NO to Pyramids

I really like this ladies. Please give them a listen.

Update on Israeli Feud with UNESCO

As I reported in a post yesterday, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO has in the past week adopted a couple of resolutions that have aroused Israeli indignation. One of the resolutions–the one which seems to have sparked the most fury–recognizes the old city of Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage site.

According to the video in the embedded tweet below, Israel has now announced a cut of $1 million in UN funding, apparently in retaliation.

 declared the obvious,  is 🇵🇸. Why is Israel even in the UN? They’ve broken so many laws — 🇮🇱 needs to be shunned & boycotted!

 As I reported in yesterday’s post–and as the video above also mentions–the World Heritage committee, in addition to designating the site as Palestinian, also declared it to be endangered. Reportedly the concern here, or at least one of the concerns, is the threat from vandalism. Given that Hebron is inhabited by Israeli settlers, who seem to be free to commit crimes against the Palestinian population with impunity, the apprehension is probably justified. But of course this aspect to the resolution’s passage in all probability had the effect of arousing Israeli anger all the more.

The Israeli official in the video I posted yesterday–the man who interrupted the proceedings by calling for a moment of silence for “six million murdered Jews” and who was accused by the representative from Cuba of turning the meeting into a “politicized circus” by way of response–this man’s name, apparently, is Carmel Shama-Hacohen, and he reportedly is Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO. According to a report here, shortly after the Hebron resolution was passed, he declared that fixing his “toilet” was more important than the vote just taken:

Israel isn’t known for its fondness of the United Nations and its institutions, but a resolution passed on Friday questioning Israel’s continued occupation of the ancient West Bank city of Hebron and the damage it might be causing to holy sites there drew an unusual response.

“Sorry … I have a very urgent … sorry, Mr Chairman … it’s my plumber in my apartment in Paris,” Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), said sarcastically while addressing the forum’s annual gathering.

“There is a huge problem in my toilet, and it’s more important than the decision you just adopted, thank you.”

Also in yesterday’s post I made an offhand observation regarding the impression that comments by Israeli officials often leave with me. Specifically, I said:

From turning a meeting into a circus sideshow by calling for a moment of silence for “six million murdered Jews,” to accusing a people living under a brutal occupation of being responsible for their own misery and suffering–there is something about the behavior of Israeli officials that somehow always seems to remind me of the proverbial rude guest who showed up for a party uninvited.

When I wrote those words yesterday, little did I know that Israel does not even hold a seat on World Heritage Committee–which would seem to lend a sort of special significance to my comment about the rude guest showing up uninvited. But indeed, I made that discovery today.

If you go to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention website, you can find a PDF document that lists the current members of the World Heritage Committee. There are 21 of them in all. Here is a screen shot from the document (click to enlarge):

As you can see, Israel is not on the list. In other words, Hacohen, who spent part of the meeting talking about his toilet and importuning silence on behalf of “six million murdered Jews,” is not even a member of the committee. But yet, according to Israelis, it is the committee members who are guilty of bad behavior.

By the way, the World Heritage Committee’s deliberations are taking place in Krakow, Poland, and they are not over yet. The session is supposed to continue through Wednesday, so there may be more to come.

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