7,000-year-old artifact returned to Iraq from Italy

Source

By News Desk -2020-07-250

The statue of the Mother Goddess at the ceremony in Rome.

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:45 P.M.) – The Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ahmed Al-Sahaf, announced on Friday, that his country has received the statue of the “Mother Goddess” from Italy.

He said in a press statement, “The Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Rome received the statue (the Mother Goddess) from the Italian government within an official ceremony that took place in the Italian Ministry of Property and Cultural Activities.”

He added, “The Iraqi ambassador to Rome, Safia Al-Suhail, attended the ceremony in addition to the Italian Minister of Culture.”

The statue of the Mother Goddess is an Iraqi artifact that dates back to prehistoric times (5000 years BC), and symbolizes motherhood and fertility.

مِن محمّد الثّاني إِلى أردوغان: أُصوليّةٌ مُتجدّدةٌ

الثلاثاء ١٤ تموز ٢٠٢٠   

رزق الله الحلو 

خاص النشرة

مِن محمّد الثّاني إِلى أردوغان: أُصوليّةٌ مُتجدّدةٌ

لم يُظهر الرّئيس التّركيّ رجب طيّب أَردوغان، في ملفّ تحويل متحف “​آيا صوفيا​” التّرائيّ العالميّ إلى مسجدٍ، تبدأ الصّلوات فيه بتاريخ 23 تمّوز الجاري، “نموذجًا مثاليًّا للحاكم المُسلم”! في وقتٍ نجد أَنّ ما تنعم به ​تركيا​ اليوم، من تقدّمٍ نسبيٍّ وازدهارٍ، إِنّما الفضل فيه يعود إِلى مصطفى كمال أَتاتورك، أَي إِلى النّظام العلمانيّ فكرًا وفلسفةً وسياسةً.وأَردوغان المُنتمي إِلى “حزب العدالة والتّنمية”، يميل بوجدانه ويتطلَّع إِلى إِعادة الحُكم الدّينيّ سواءً عن طريق العودة إِلى نظام الأَجداد (الخلافة العُثمانيّة) أَو عن طريق إِحياء النّزعة الدّينيّة في المجتمع التّركيّ، لتكون بعد ذلك عاملاً مُساعدًا له في ترويض الشّعب وتشريع ديكتاتوريّته، ليُصبح أَكثر جُرأة ويحقِّق أَهدافه وأطماعه التّوسّعيّة شيئًا فشيئًا…

كما وأَنّ حسابات أَردوغان الدّاخليّة، ورهانه في هذا المجال على شعبٍ سيَسْكر بجُنوح رئيسه نحو الأُصوليّة ليس في محلّه، إِذ إِنّ الشّعب التّركيّ قد رضع وتشرّب مفاهيم الحريّة والعلمانيّة كما وأَنّ ثقافة ​الإنسان​ التّركيّ، وأُسلوب حياته وسيكولوجيّته وبُعده السّوسيولوجيّ… أَقرب إِلى الشّعوب الأُوروبيّة منه إِلى الشّعوب العربيّة…

حتّى أَنّ تاريخ العرب والمسلمين عابقٌ بقيم التّسامح والتّعايش مع غير المسلمين، كما وأَنّ ​المسيح​يّين حصلوا على وظائف عُليا في الدّولتين الأُمويّة والعبّاسيّة!. وأَكثر ما يُخشى، أَن يكون حنين أَردوغان إِلى حقبةٍ إِجراميّةٍ لا خير فيها للعرب ولا للمُسلمين، بل إِنّها كانت سببًا في عُزلة العرب، وتخلُّفهم على مدى قرونٍ من الزّمن… في ظلّ حقبةٍ كانت سببًا في تشويه الصّورة الحقيقيّة للإِسلام، من خلال رسم الدّين في صورةٍ دمويّةٍ وعُنصريّةٍ دينيّةٍ وعرقيّةٍ، لم توفّر العرب ولا المسيحيّين، إذ نفّذ العثمانيّون جرائم في حقّ العرب، لا لشيءٍ سوى أَنّهم عرب، كما وأَنّ ما ارتكبوه من إِبادة جماعيّةٍ في حقّ الأَرمن لا لشيءٍ سوى أَنّهم مسيحيُّون!.

والخُطوة الأَردوغانيّة المُتطرِّفة الأَخيرة الّتي تم فيها تحويل متحف آيا صوفيا إِلى مسجدٍ؛ أَثبتت بما لا يدع مجالاً للشّكّ أَنّ النّظام التُّركيّ بدأَ يقترب مِن أُسلوب الميليشيات التّكفيريّة، ويكاد يتلاشى الفرق بينه وبين الجماعات الإرهابيّة كـ “داعش” و”​القاعدة​”.

وهذهِ الخطوة تُهين كُلّ مَن يحترم حُريّة الأَديان ومشاعر أَتباع كُلّ دينٍ، وإذا ما سُمح ل​أردوغان​ بالمضيّ في خطته الممنهجة، فلن نُشاهد في تركيا أَيّ ​كنيسة​ٍ، إذ إنّه وَفقًا للـ “عُثمانيّة ​الجديدة​”، لا مكان لأَي دينٍ آخر في تركيا سوى الإِسلام. فما هو مُتحف “آيا صوفيا”، الّذي هو في الأَساس كنيسةً؟.


كنيسة آيا صوفيا


كنيسة “آيا صوفيا” التّاريخيّة الّتي ينوي أَردوغان تحويلها مُجدّدًا إِلى مسجدٍ مكثت تحت الاحتلال التّركيّ 677 عامًا، بعدما كانت بُنيت في العام 537 على يد إِمبراطور بيزنطيا جوستنيان الأَوّل، وقد اختير موقع بنائها على تلّةٍ في وسط العاصمة الإِمبراطوريّة المُطلّة على ​مضيق البوسفور​، آخر بقعة أَوروبيّة مقابل المشرق المسيحيّ آنذاك، المُمتد من مصر حتّى ​سوريا​ و​لبنان​ وجبال الأَناضول وكيبدوكيا وأَرمينيا. وبعد إِنجازها، اعتُبرت تحفةً ومُعجزةً معماريّةً في القرن الخامس لا مثيل لها لا شرقًا ولا غربًا سوى الإِهرامات المصريّة، وأَبهرت الجميع ببنائها الضّخم وصحن قبتها وقاعة هيكلها الشّاسع المُتّسع لآلاف المُصلّين وهندستها الفريدة… وقد استمرّت تلك الكنيسة في خدمة المؤمنين من المسيحيّين لأَكثر من أَلف عامٍ، شهد فيها جرن العماد على بركة آلاف الأَطفال وجدرانها سمعت طلبات الفُقراء والمرضى والمحتاجين.

وفي يومٍ أَسود من العام 1453، وصلت طلائع جُنود السُّلطان التُّركيّ محمّد الثّاني إِلى المدينة، وقد عقد النّيّة على احتلالها، بعد ما فشل أَجداده في تلك المهمّة لمئات الأَعوام، كما فشل قبله الخليفة الأُمويّ معاوية في القرن السّابع، حين بقيت الكنيسة عصيّةً على المُحتلّين.

ووعد السّلطان جنوده بأَن تكون المدينة –إِذا دخلوها– مُلكًا لهم لثلاثة أَيّام، وأَنّ نساءها بكُلّ أَعمارهم في الدّاخل هديّة لهم كجواري لتشجيعهم على القتال. وهكذا، حاصر الأَتراك المدينة المُنهكة لفترة 52 يومًا، إِلى أَن دخلوها في ٢٩ أَيّار بعد اختراق جُدرانها، وبدأت مذبحة كبرى وعمليّة اغتصابٍ هي الأَكبر في التّاريخ. وقُطعت رؤوس عشرات آلاف الرّجال البالغين أَمام نسائهم، لحظاتٍ بعد ما شهدوا اغتصاب بناتهم. واستمرّ سماع صراخ تلك الفتيات طوال اللّيل المليء ب​الحرائق​ ورائحة الموت والدّماء، حيث تناوب الجنود على انتزاع الفتيات الصّغيرات من أَيدي رفاقهم واغتصابهنّ مع أُمهاتهنّ.

وأَمّا الكنيسة الّتي اختبأ فيها وفي ساحاتها وأَقبيتها أَكثر من خمسة آلاف مُصلّ خوفًا، اقتحمها جنود السّلطان وكتيبته الخاصّة، وتوجّهوا فورًا إِلى المذبح، وأُخد البطريرك جانبًا مع كبار الأَساقفة والكهنة، وقُطعت رؤُوسهم في الدّاخل. وأَما الرّجال فسيقوا إِلى الخارج وقُتلوا واحدًا تلو الآخر أَمام عائلاتهم، وجُمع الأَطفال الذذكور وجرى تكبيل أَرجلهم بالسّلاسل تمهيدا لبيعهم كعبيد، لتبدأ لاحقًا حفلة اغتصابٍ جديدةٍ للنّساء والفتيات انتهت بتكبيلهنّ تمهيدًا لإِهدائهنّ إِلى القصور والبيع في الأَسواق البعيدة.

وقيل يومها إِنّ أَصوات العويل خرقت قناة البوسفور إِلى الجهة الأُخرى: أَطفالٌ فُصلوا عن والداتهم وسيقوا بعيدًا والحديد في أَعناقهم… كما وكُسّرت أَبواب الكنيسة البرونزيّة وأُخرجت ذخائر القدّيسين وأُحرقت خارجًا مع الأَيقونات النّادرة، ونُهب ذهب “الايكونستاس الكبير”. ولم تنتهِ المذبحة إِلاّ بوصول السُّلطان إِلى السّاحة حيث عاين المبنى الّذي راقبه مع أَبيه مِن بعيدٍ لسنواتٍ طامعًا فيه!. وقد أَعلن فورًا نيّته بتحويله إِلى مسجدٍ عاقدًا العزم على الصّلاة فيه بعد أَسابيع…


التّاريخ يُعيد نفسه


لقد أَزمع أَردوغان على الالتزام بكتاب محمّد الثّاني على حساب الكُتُب السّماويّة، وإِذا كان الثّاني غسل الدّماء عن الرُّخام الأَبيض لأَرضيّة الكنيسة وبدأ بطمس الفُسيفساء على جُدران الكنيسة، حيث أُخفيت ​العذراء​ من فوق المذبح وأَيقونة المسيح الذّهبيّة من أَعلى مدخل الكنيسة، وطُلست الجدران بالكلس لإِخفاء المعالم المسيحيّة… فإِنّ أَردوغان تعهّد بعد 567 عامًا، باستكمال طمس الحضارة الإِنسانيّة، مستهدفًا بذلك أوّل ما استهدف، وثيقة الأخوّة الإنسانيّة الّتي وقّعها في أَبوظبي السّنة الماضية، قداسة ​البابا فرنسيس​ وشيخ الأَزهر أَحمد الطيّب. وإِذا كان كِلْس محمّد الثّاني يذوب مع الوقت، لتظهر مُجدّدًا المعالم المسيحيّة على الفُسيفساء، فإِنّ لأَردوغان أُسلوبه الخاصّ في عصر التّكنولوجيا المُتطوِّرة، والسّياسات الدّوليّة الإِنزوائيّة–الإنعزاليّة لا بل التّحريضيّة التّكفيريّة، ليمحو الحضارة الإِنسانيّة على طريقته!. وللحديث صلة…

فيديوات متعلقة

مقالات متعلقة

Turkey’s Hagia Sophia to Be Reopened as Mosque after Court Decision

Turkey’s Hagia Sophia to Be Reopened as Mosque after Court Decision

By Staff, Agencies

A top Turkish court on Friday revoked the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum, clearing the way for it to be turned back into a mosque, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hailed the court’s decision and announced that the site would be handed over to Turkey’s religious affairs directorate and reopened for Muslim worshipping.

Erdogan’s announcement comes shortly after a top Turkish court revoked the sixth-century Hagia Sophia’s status as a museum, clearing the way for it to be turned back into a mosque.

The Council of State, which was debating a case brought by a Turkish NGO, canceled a 1934 cabinet decision and ruled the site would be reopened to Muslim worshipping.

Earlier on Friday, UNESCO warned Turkey against converting the Hagia Sophia museum, a World Heritage site, in Istanbul into a mosque, urging dialogue before any decision is taken.

Hagia Sophia was first constructed as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire in 537 AD but was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

Turning it into a museum was a key reform of the post-Ottoman authorities under the modern republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Calls for it to serve again as a mosque has sparked anger among Christians and tensions between the historic foes and uneasy NATO allies Turkey and Greece. Russia, which has become an increasingly important partner of Turkey in recent years, has also urged against altering its status.

Related Videos

Related Articles

Putin Addresses Cultural Figures on Pushkin & Russian Language Day

Liberating the American People

 BY GILAD ATZMON

liberating the American ppl.jpg

by Gilad Atzmon 

I am a jazz artist, I have dedicated my entire adult life to the study of Black American music and culture. Jazz is certainly the most important and maybe, the only significant American contribution to world culture. And the next question is, where is Black American jazz now? Why did Black Americans lose interest in their own fantastic creation?

One answer is that Jazz was born out of resistance. It was fuelled by defiance of the ‘American dream’: instead of seeking mammon, wealth and power, our Black artistic founding fathers sacrificed their lives for the sake of beauty. They literally killed themselves searching for new voices, sounds, colours. They left us with a great legacy but their offspring moved on to new artistic domains such as Hip Hop and Rap.  

For the people who made Jazz into an art form, music was a revolutionary spirit. For Bird, Now’s the Time meant that time was ripe for social change.  For John Coltrane, Alabama was the appropriate answer to the KKK’s Baptist Church bombing that killed four African-American girls.

When Jazz meant something it wasn’t a language of victimhood. Quite the opposite, Jazz was a message of defiance: everything you can do, we, the Black people, can do better. And that is the truth, no one has managed to do it better than Trane, Bird, Miles, Elvin, Sonny, Blakey, Duke, Ella and many others. These artists did  not  beg for Wall Street funding, they didn’t ask for others to join their struggle: instead, they made the rest of us beg for their beauty, their art and their spirit to illuminate and liberate us. It didn’t take long before America’s elite realised that Jazz was the best Ambassador for America around the world. And all of this happened while Black Americans were subject to apartheid, especially in the South. It would be reasonable to believe that it was Jazz’s  transformation into the ‘Voice of America’ that became a major factor in the liberation of the Black south.

 Sadly, Jazz lost its soul a decade or two ago. It went from the voice of resistance to what has gradually been reduced into an ‘academic matter,’ a ‘system of knowledge.’ Nowadays, many young jazz musicians are ‘music college graduates.’ They may be very fast and sophisticated but have very little to say and, in most cases, they prefer not to say anything. Some may believe that saying something defies their ‘artistic objectives’ as it blurs the distinction between art and politics. I am afraid that they are wrong. For Jazz to be a meaningful art form, it better be revolutionary to the core. Jazz is, before anything else, the sound of freedom.

 For a while, we have witnessed contemporary Jazz deteriorate into a meaningless  technical exercise. Jazz, basically, died on us. Did this artistic demise anticipate the collapse of American civilization and America’s self-image  as a ‘free society?’

 Why did  Jazz die? Because Black Americans lost interest in their original art form.  Why did they lose interest? Largely because their art, like every other aspect of the American culture, finance, media, spirit and dream has been occupied.

 Along with other Jazz artists and humanists, I hate racism in all forms. Yet, I want to see people celebrating their symptoms. I am one of those guys who want to see Germans writing philosophy and composing symphonies again. I want to see people celebrating their own unique cultures as long as they don’t do it at the expense of others.  More than anything else, I want Black people proud of what they are. I wish that they will, once again, lead us back to the path of beauty that they, more than any other people, introduced to us all. I hope Black America will give us a young Trane, a fresh upcoming Bird, the next  Sarah Vaughan, a Miles character.   I want to see Black Americans hypnotising us with their talents, celebrating their greatness. I want  them to be the American Ambassadors they once were  rather than victims of America’s abuse. I guess that instead of sending American soldiers to liberate other people in criminal neocon wars the time is ripe for America to liberate itself.

 Watch me Liberating the American People


Donate

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work

May 11, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work

Ramin Mazaheri and Jeff J Brown – for The Saker Blog

We can’t always find it but there is always a tipping point. Last week I crunched the data and suggested it’s May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops.

Maybe I’m a few days off, but not many more: This bubble-popping is precisely why Trump is not wearing a mask, planned to end the corona task force and keeps talking about reopening; this is why 300 US CEOs and the Department of Defense sent Mexico’s president a letter threatening that they better reopen now and not screw up corporate supply chains.

But what is absolutely certain is that getting the West back to work requires some sort of propaganda campaign to do so – what will that media effort look like?

When I recently asked What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? readers pointed that many politicians are dug in way too deep to climb out. Yet, whether they claim to be “wrong” or “right” – climb out they must:

There has never been a vaccine for a coronavirus; neoliberalism is predicated on constant growth and wage-earning; The New York Times’ irresponsible rebroadcasting of 1.1 million US deaths in “a best-case scenario wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on – the West has to end the Great Lockdown.

But Americans aren’t going to go back to work until their media stops scaremongering, as their scaremongering line is slavishly followed by European and Western media: polls show more Americans fear getting sick from the virus than economic hardship, and despite all the data showing only the elderly and medically-vulnerable are at risk (thus they are the healthy ones who should be quarantined).

The New York Times now despises Sweden for their corona-sovereignty, but even they can’t help but admit Sweden shows the only way out of the Great Lockdown: “But what about the economy? The choice is not between indefinite shutdown and Russian roulette. A transition needs to occur that balances the risks at play. From that perspective, Sweden is the future.”

The first step is talking about it – how will the West do that?

I have said from the beginning that the West’s arrogance is that whatever China can do, they can surely do: The West is employing quarantining, control methods and collective-over-individualist concepts used by Asian nations, but without having similar cultures of government economic intervention nor widespread trust in their governments, and amid their economic Great Recession on top of it all.

But can the West use the same media persuasion techniques as China?

To find out what worked for China I posed the question to Jeff J. Brown, author of the most important book on China in decades, China is Communist, Dammit! Brown lived in China for many years and realised he had to refute with data and analysis the Western absurdity that China’s rise has come via capitalist methods.

“There is always lots of debate in China, especially facilitated today with all the electronic social media platforms. There was a lot of discussion in China about citizens having more say in the mainstream media, to increase the flow of useful information during the lockdown. There were forums of every stripe, airing grievances about rules being too strict to measures being too lax, to forums on using TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and old fashioned remedies to prevent/treat Covid.”

This is quite a contrast from what I dubbed The West’s middling, middle-class corona response, which inherently assumed that everyone has a comfortable home, job and savings, even though since 1980 the West’s middle-class has been blown apart. This response was designed by well-paid doctors, professors and epidemiologists, and trumpeted by well-paid Mainstream Media mouthpieces.

In Brown’s book he relates how the Chinese Communist Party is essentially the world’s largest polling agency, constantly querying public opinion on matters big and small. Frankly, if I was forced to select a single trait which separates China’s government from the West’s it would be this one, as it explains their government’s success & efficiency, the obvious & justified basis for the CCP’s popular support, and the bottom-up nature of socialist democracy as opposed to the top-down, technocratic & aristocratic model of Western liberalism.

“There were lots of differing opinions aired in neighborhood, village and town meetings. The red line to not cross is suggesting the overthrow of China’s communist-socialist system of governance, which is no different than the West, where it is verboten to demand an end to capitalism.

(FYI, when I asked Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? I related how right up there with Iran’s “Down with England, America and Israel” chants is, “Down with those who oppose (the political principle of) the guardianship of the Islamic jurist.” Socialist-inspired revolutionary nations make it crystal clear that a return to capitalism-imperialism or a tolerance of Western-style fascist speech will never be permitted.)

Mao’s mass line continues to this day in the form of millions of surveys conducted among the people, to air concerns and catch the popular zeitgeist. It is all about learning from the bottom up. Then and now, you grab a banner and protest publicly, when all these other avenues of communication have failed. There are an estimated 300-500 public protests a day in this country of 1.4 billion citizens. China haters take this as a sign of weakness. Baba (Father) Beijing sees it as a source of strength.”

The 21st century Western reality is that taking to the streets usually makes one a far-right neo-fascist or an irresponsible anarchist: we see that in the treatment of the Yellow Vests or the recent anti-Lockdown protests in Michigan, which I immediately supported – of course, as I support democracy – in, We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? Brown relates how China’s state is far superior in perhaps the most important thing in politics: incorporating public opinion into public policy.

If anything will be an argument for centralisation over federalism – and central planning over neoliberalism’s “invisible hand… guiding us all towards corporate fascism & neo-imperialism” – it will be the corona-return: it’s clear that the US is wasting a tremendous amount of time, energy and efficiency by having a central government whose suggestions can be and are being totally ignored at the state level.

“Public campaigns like this are done at the neighborhood and private/public employer level. These entities would get their instructions from city/town/village government units, which in turn, working up the hierarchy, got theirs from county, provincial and national level bodies. As is true in socialist countries, the national government may set the tone, but democracy devolves down to the local level, allowing for reasonable adaptation, according to needs on the ground.”

Imagine the amount of discussion – which could have gone to relating the needs of the lower classes and the Mom and Pop shopkeeper/proletariat – which the US wastes daily in political sniping and Trump Derangement Syndrome? The Eurozone common currency will be similarly hindered by disunity, which is the last thing needed in a crisis.

China was stunningly running at 75% economic capacity around February 10 because they are coordinated and united. Some US governors may even, unthinkably, play politics and delay their reopening with November election goals in mind. Americans haven’t had a war on their soil for 150 years – they just don’t know what a crisis is, and that helps explain their lack of unity in this crisis. They think that their preferred politician not taking office in November constitutes a crisis – the building historic economic catastrophe should recalibrate their realities.

Socialist-inspired nations already made the necessary changes, but the Western liberal & economic model cannot

So Brown has surprisingly shown how – as a result of their model of socialist democracy, and not liberal democracy – China really didn’t need a multi-week media campaign like I envision the West needing because there is so much communication between the people and their pubic officials, as well as such an awareness of what is going on, what is needed and what is to be done.

That makes perfect sense when we realise that socialist democracy is based around discussion-based consensus and not the unilateral decree of Western “liberal strongmen” like Emmanuel Macron nor the individualist “great man-ism” personified by Ayn Rand’s blowhard protagonists. In places like Iran and China everything is done by committee (and the CCP and Basij are essentially two huge committees, after all) because these are not only two new systems, but also systems which have inspired massive Western sabotage campaigns: these bureaucrats know that they cannot be high-handed and aloof, but instead must be receptive, responsive and always trying to keep as large a proportion of the population on the side of their socialist-inspired revolution as possible. In short: they cannot risk wasteful mistakes, but why would they even want the system the West has, especially in a few more months?

Of course, there will still be huge health concerns on May 17, especially in the US, but Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus. Of course, the “Western economy” is not at all synonymous with “global economy”, a rather vital point to Iranians, Chinese, Cubans, etc.

Western politicians, none more than state of emergency-loving France, keep reminding us that this is a war: a war necessarily needs heroes, and the West now needs ones other than nurses and rich doctors. A media campaign of, “Go back to work to save grandma’s social security (and our consumer, unplanned economy)”, is thus logical but would obviously be a complete 180 from the editorial policies and public stances of countless Western media and politicians. Such a campaign is probably only feasible for socialist-inspired nations, where collective and not individual action is lauded.

Trump says he views Americans as ‘warriors’ amid coronavirus and he got roundly mocked for it… but I don’t know what the top US public servant can do otherwise, really? America’s bureaucrats thus know the obvious truth of this article – Westerners will need some sort of inspirational campaign to get them back to work. Westerners are culturally prone to fearing others and wanting to stay at home alone even in good times: Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’?

Westerners will thus likely stay hunkered down, as for months their private media has been ravenously gobbling up the higher ratings they have gotten via pounding fear into their viewers.

You can say I am underestimating the virulence of corona, but about this I am sure: in the Western Mainstream Media there has been basically zero space given to objectively giving so-called “contrarian” views which could possibly calm people’s fears. It as if I am a bad journalist because I am not scaring people?!

I am a bad journalist for immediately waving the red flag that a Great Lockdown is actually a forced suicide march for the West’s abandoned lower classes? It is not my fault that the neoliberal & neo-imperial system of the West refuses to take care of their elder class, and Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism actually contains an immediate answer to the economic chaos caused by the Great Lockdown.

Only time will tell if the Great Segregation/Lockdown was necessary, but we definitely know much more about how to handle coronavirus than on January 1 or even March 1: protect the vulnerable, isolate the sick, take personal responsibility actions in public, population-dense regions need extra precautions, and… get back to normal before the Western double-bubble economy pops.

**********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26,

2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2)

Monday, 27 April 2020 5:46 AM  

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2)

By Ramin Mazaheri


Part 1 
discussed how the West’s coronavirus response totally ignored the needs of their lower classes, and also how Iran’s “Resistance Economy” rejects Western economic liberalism (and neoliberalism) which has always sought to relegate non-Westerners to second-class economic partners.

As I have written previously, the West’s corona response is not just murderously mediocre but middle-class – it assumes everyone has a comfortable home, savings and a stable job. The West is employing quarantining, control methods and collective-over-individualist concepts used by Asian nations, but without having similar cultures of government economic intervention nor widespread trust in their governments. It is not hysteria to suggest that this could prove fatal to their bubble-filled, high-finance dominated economies.

There is a lot of foolish talk from Westerners, who are effectively forbidden to learn about and discuss how capitalism-imperialism truly operates, regarding how corona will cause supply chains to move back home. This has produced a lot of soon-to-be-forgotten agreement from their politicians, who are desperate to show that – all of a sudden – they care about their lower classes. Recall that the “end of irony” was proclaimed after 9/11 – will we see the “end of globalisation” because of coronavirus?

That’s funny.

The state of Delaware is where most US corporations are located and buy their charters – if it is not the world’s biggest corporate tax haven, according to The New York Times and The Japan Times, the state is certainly among the world’s top five. (Indeed, it should now be no surprise why Delaware senator Joe Biden was chosen to be Barack Obama’s running mate amid the 2008 economic crisis.) It could not be more crystal clear, even though neoliberals in the US often try to sow confusion about this fact: “Delaware corporate law requires corporate directors to manage firms for the benefit of shareholders, and not for any other constituency.” So anyone thinking corporations will sacrifice a mere fraction of their stock price in order to move supply chains back home are absolutely deluded about the possibility of patriotism, much less humanity, in “Capitalism with American characteristics”: their laws explicitly forbid it.

The post-corona persistence of neoliberalism – an ideology predicated on reducing government programs and expenditures for the 99% with ruthless efficiency – means that Western governments both national and local will be so strapped for cash in a post-Lockdown climate that they will be forced to try and save every nickel they can to maximise ever-more inadequate tax revenues and income. They will forced to buy from China, Haiti or whoever can save them pennies, because this is exactly what neoliberalism demands – it fundamentally neuters economic patriotism.

Urban hipsters who perhaps previously would pay premiums to “eat local” (because it is tastier) will soon find that unemployment (or a worsening of the seemingly never-ending underemployment for the West’s youth class) drastically alters one’s menu options. They would like to “eat local”, but many will be forced to forego the local farmers’ market to buy their food as cheaply as possible, and regardless of provenance.

So such talk from Esquire magazine bout how corona will usher in a new economy based around “resilience preparedness” is totally absurd: the very basis of globalisation is hyper-specialisation (Adam Smith) and turning every nation into a single cash crop/cow (David Ricardo’s comparative advantage) writ large, and these two concepts are the very opposite pole of resilience. Hyper-specialisation is hyper-resistant… but in one single area; if classic liberalism or modern neoliberalism or the “free market” selected your country to produce hygienic masks, congratulations! According to them you should jack up the price and the rest of us should not try to domestically produce our own.

Contrarily, we can say that Iran has tried to create “specialisation” in the normal way – within a single national economy’s different regions instead of all over the world, messianically and arrogantly. This is why they have employed a “resistance economy” (with many egalitarian principles held over from the “command/war economy” era), which is based around self-sufficiency, protectionism, government intervention to stimulate innovation in vital sectors, and government ownership in essentially every sector with medium or large importance. This, even more than the insistence that Islam is compatible with democracy, is why the West wages war on Iran.

The good news for Iranians: these economic principles are what promote resilience and preparedness, they curtail the indebtedness/poverty of the lower classes, and they will make Iran far more capable of weathering the economic turmoil of the coming months.

It is amusing that some in the West are now clamouring for sensible, humane, patriotic, efficient measures which Iran has employed for decades. Is Iran’s economic idea more exportable to Esquire if we call it a “resilience economy”, perhaps?

The Iranian economy in opposition to the West’s seemingly certain post-Great Lockdown economic chaos

At the root of this economic program is not anti-capitalism but anti-the-type-of-capitalism which today’s Iranians are violently confronted by: neoliberalism and globalisation. This form of capitalism is the most-geared towards maximising the profits and market concentration of the 1%, whereas a “resistance economy” is fundamentally-geared towards satisfying the needs of the Iranian 99%. The Koran sanctions capitalism, after all, but it bans usury and has clear exhortations to equality and the economic redistribution of massively-ordered charity. (If the West would simply follow the ban on usury – exorbitant interest and debilitating compound interest – they would be so much better off….)

If the Iranian Revolution did not satisfy the needs of their 99%… how can we possibly explain its endurance amid all the growth-sabotaging Cold War from the West? The question never was growth, after all, but re-distribution. The same logical argument stands for anti-imperialist Cuba and North Korea – caricaturing these nations as totalitarian oligarchies will continue to lose its false power for as long as these countries continue to not just endure but thrive (considering Western blockades), and for as long as the West’s post-1980 inequality entrenchment continues. Despite the looming economic crisis, does anyone really believe the West is culturally capable of reversing these inequality trends?

Undoubtedly, the West’s corona overreaction will make their economies – which were already in a Great Recession – even weaker.

Yes, this will force more Western domestic criticism of neoliberalism and globalisation, but will it really? How can it when France’s Muslims, US so-called “White Trash” and their lower-class counterparts across the “West + client” world cannot even be seen on their televisions? We are logical to believe that open criticism of the ideology of globalisation will be muted very shortly, because all these nations have airwaves which are dominated by a handful of corporations; contrarily, the Iranian government owns all the radio and TV waves – to get the outlook of not-always-selfless private media one can turn to Iran’s extremely critical, thriving print press.

Yes, the West’s reduced economies will necessarily reduce the influence and local reach of governments, but this reduced reach can easily be counter-balanced by the drastic quasi-martial laws which have already been employed. France almost certainly has the most over-policed corona lockdown (800,000 citations already), mais bien sûr: they just had an Islamophobia-based two-year state of emergency, which President Emmanuel Macron legalised into normal police practice.

Yes, the gut-wrenching reduction in wealth for the West’s lower classes may provoke “Western-style populism”, but this ideology is intrinsically reformist and not revolutionary. Look at the Five-Star Movement in Italy – it took them eight years to win significant power, but they have not been able to make significant changes. In their last national election the superb Yellow Vests gained merely half the votes of the (ugh) Animal Rights Party.

Yes, Westerners can see that all the evidence points to the necessity that they must change, but we must recall how very culturally chauvinistic they are: The West is hysterically convinced that their system is supreme – even among their “dissidents”, who are usually just “semi-dissidents” at best – despite all the evidence of failure and their perennial disregard of their own lower classes.

So combine this inherent conservativeness (liberal reformism), with neoliberal cultural saturation, with laws that forbid leavening neoliberalism, with “it’s not totalitarian when the West does it”, and it’s hard to compute a conclusion where the Great Lockdown produces a drastic reform of the Western economy, no? They have to overcome all of these trends, laws and false beliefs simultaneously and in great measure.

That would be a revolution. The West, the great thwarter of progressive revolutions, is supposedly now on the cusp of having one?

The only thing more idiotic than such talk are the commentators who accuse Iranian Reformists of being “neoliberals”, which is as stupid as calling Biden-backing Bernie Sanders or the French “socialists”. The Iranians most associated with the “resistance economy” are indeed Ayatollah Khamenei, ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Principlist Party, but the idea that Reformists aren’t hugely, hugely on board with countless resistance economy principles is just eye-rollingly wrong.

The reality – well-known in Iran – is that there is absolutely no room in Iranian politics for any political group which pushes ending the pro-99%, government-interventionist, fundamentally anti-neoliberal direction of the economy for this simple fact: they would never get re-elected by the 99%, and thus such a movement is necessarily finished before it could ever even could get started in Iranian democracy. Capitalism is sanctioned by the Qur’an, so it will always have a place, but neoliberal capitalism (again, all capitalism is not “neoliberalism” just as all socialism is not “violently atheistic Russian Soviet socialism”)? Not hardly.

Smith and Ricardo’s liberal ideas that each region should produce only that which it was perfectly suited to producing had one fatal flaw: such perfect harmony cannot possibly ever exist in a capitalist-imperialist system, because such a system is predicated upon competition. This is not a small flaw in their ivory-tower thinking, nor am I resorting to a mere humbug attack on “human nature” – competition, instead of cooperation, is a poor foundation for human stability and peace.

Such harmony and mutually-beneficial arrangements (and on a global scale, no less!) could only possibly ever be achieved in a world that has a basis which is definitely not neoliberal, which is very wary of capitalism’s excesses and constant exhortations to battles both big and small, and which tacitly accepts resolutely anti-imperialist and thus essentially socialist economics as the foundation.

You may not want Iran’s culture – that’s natural, they don’t want yours.

But across the West their lower classes are clamouring for an economy with many of Iran’s motivations and practices – they will be ignored, sadly.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

CONFUCIUS IS WINNING THE COVID-19 WAR

Compare hundreds of millions of Asians’ serene response to the coroavirus crisis with the West’s fear, panic and hysteria

This picture taken on March 17 shows a masked Chinese prophet Confucius statue, part of a collection by Taiwan sculptor Lin Hsin-lai, in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan. Photo: AFP / Sam Yeh

As the Raging Twenties unleash a radical reconfiguration of the planet, coronavirus (literally “crowned poison”) has for all practical purposes served a poisoned chalice of fear and panic to myriad, mostly Western, latitudes.  

Berlin-based, South Korean-born philosopher Byung-Chul Han has forcefully argued the victors are the “Asian states like Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Singapore that have an authoritarian mentality which comes from their cultural tradition [of] Confucianism.”

Han added: “People are less rebellious and more obedient than in Europe. They trust the state more. Daily life is much more organized. Above all, to confront the virus Asians are strongly committed to digital surveillance. The epidemics in Asia are fought not only by virologists and epidemiologists, but also by computer scientists and big data specialists.”

That’s a reductionist view and plenty of nuances should apply. Take South Korea, which is not “authoritarian.” It’s as democratic as top Western liberal powers. What we had in a nutshell was the civic-mindedness of the overwhelming majority of the population reacting to sound, competent government policies. 

Seoul went for fast mobilization of scientific expertise; immediate massive testing; extensive contact tracing; and social distancing, as well. But, crucially, most of it voluntary, not imposed by the central power. Because these moves were organically integrated, South Korea did not need to restrict movement drastically or to close down airports. 

Hong Kong’s success is due in large part to a superb health care system. People in the frontline, with institutional memory of recent epidemics such as SARS, were willing to go on strike if serious measures were not adopted. Success was also due in large part to myriad professional links between Hong Kong’s and Taiwan’s healthcare and public health systems.  

Barbarism with human face 

Then there’s Big Data. Han argues that in neither China nor other East Asian nations is there enough critical analysis in relation to digital vigilance and Big Data. But that also has to do with culture, because East Asia is about collectivism, and individualism is not on the forefront.   

Well, that’s way more nuanced. Across the region, digital progress is pragmatically evaluated in terms of effectiveness. Wuhan deployed Big Data via thousands of investigative teams, searching for possibly infected individuals, choosing who had to be under observation and who had to be quarantined. Borrowing from Foucault, we can call it digital biopolitics. 

Where Han is correct is when he says that the pandemic may redefine the concept of sovereignty: “The sovereign is the one who resorts to data. When Europe proclaims a state of alarm or closes borders, it’s still chained to old models of sovereignty.” 

The response across the EU, including especially the European Commission in Brussels, has been appalling. Glaring evidence of powerlessness and lack of any serious preparations have appeared even though the EU had a head start.

The first instinct was to close borders; hoard whatever puny equipment was available; and, then, social Darwinist-style, it was every nation for itself, with battered Italy left totally to itself.

 The severity of the crisis especially in Italy and Spain, with elders left to die to the “benefit” of the young, was due to a very specific EU political economy choice: the austerity diktat imposed across the eurozone. It’s as if, in a macabre way, Italy and Spain are paying literally in blood to remain part of a currency, the euro, which they should never have adopted in the first place. 

As for France, read here for a relatively decent summary of the disaster in the EU’s second-largest economy.   

Going forward, Slavoj Zizek gloomily predicts for the West “a new barbarism with a human face, ruthless survivalist measures enforced with regret and even sympathy, but legitimized by expert opinions.”

In contrast, Han predicts China will now be able to sell its digital police state as a model of success against the pandemic. “China will display the superiority of its system even more proudly.” 

Alexander Dugin ventures way beyond anyone else. He’s already conceptualizing the notion of a state in mutation (like the virus) turning into a “military-medical dictatorship,” just as we’re witnessing the collapse of the global liberal world in real time. 

Enter the triad 

I offer, as a working hypothesis, that the Asia triad of Confucius, Buddha and Lao Tzu has been absolutely essential in shaping the perception and serene response of hundreds of millions of people across various Asian nations to Covid-19. Compare this with the prevalent fear, panic and hysteria mostly fed by the corporate media across the West.    

The Tao (“the way”) as configured by Lao Tzu is about how to live in harmony with the world. Being confined necessarily leads to delving into yin instead of yang, slowing down and embarking on a great deal of reflection. 

Yes, it’s all about culture, but culture rooted in ancient philosophy, and practiced in everyday life. That’s how we can see wu wei – “action of non-action” – applied to how to deal with a quarantine. “Action of non-action” means action without intent. Rather than fighting against the vicissitudes of life, as in confronting a pandemic, we should allow things to take their natural course.

That’s much easier when we know this teaching of the Tao: “Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.”

It also helps to know that “life is a series of natural and spontaneous choices. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

Buddhism runs in parallel to the Tao: “All conditioned things are impermanent. When one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.”

And to keep our vicissitudes in perspective, it helps to know: “Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.”

As far as keeping much-needed perspective, nothing beats, “the root of suffering is attachment.” 

And then, there’s the ultimate perspective: “Some do not understand that we must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.” 

Confucius has been an overarching presence across the Covid-19 frontline, as an astonishing 700 million Chinese citizens were kept for  weeks under different forms of quarantine. 

We can easily imagine them clinging to a few pearls of wisdom, such as: “Death and life have their determined appointments; riches and honors depend upon heaven.” Or “he who learns, but does not think, is lost. He who thinks, but does not learn, is in great danger.”  

Most of all, in an hour of extreme turbulence, it brings comfort to know that, “the strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” 

And in terms of fighting a dangerous and invisible enemy on the ground, it helps to know this rule of thumb: “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” 

So what would be the ultimate insight a serene East can offer to the West in such hard times? It’s so simple, and it’s all in the Tao: “From caring comes courage.”

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world’s first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now. 

Iran’s Cultural Attaché in Lebanon: Soleimani Was Transnational, Multi-dimensional Personality that Scared Trump

Iran’s Cultural Attaché in Lebanon: Soleimani Was Transnational, Multi-dimensional Personality that Scared Trump

By Nour Rida

The martyrdom of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani has created a ripple effect in Iran and the region, still being the talk of the town.

It is the political dimension of his assassination that is mostly discussed in the media. However, it is important to note that the martyr, was not merely a military personnel despite the fact that most of his pictures come in army clothing or on the battle fields. Gen. Soleimani was multi-dimensional personality that scared Trump, he was unique, humane, and fought against imperialism and the colonialism of minds.

In an interview with al-Ahed news, the Cultural attaché of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Lebanon, Dr. Abbas Khameyar said that media has not shed enough light on the reality behind martyr Soleimani’s personality, which he described as “transnational”. He assured that when he was alive, he foiled all attempts of dissecting the region and stood in face of all hegemonic schemes.

Military serves to protect civilization

“We should pay attention to the different dimensions of General Soleimani’s personality. He wore his military clothing most of the time, he was in the battlefields among the soldiers fighting Takfiri groups in the region. However he was like a shelter or umbrella protecting Iran’s civilization and culture,” Dr. Khameyar said.

He noted “When we talk about Iran and the major accomplishments of the Islamic Republic, the first thing that comes to the mind of people is: military accomplishments. Of course we confirm that Iran’s accomplishments and capabilities on the military level are amazing, but it is not the end. This strong military that Iran has built over a period of time and with perseverance is in fact a force of deterrence and serves as protection to all other accomplishments. In other words, the military was never a goal that Iran sought to reach, it is a means by which it protects its culture, civilizations, existence, sovereignty and other. It is a power of deterrence that protects Iranian accomplishments in the different scientific fields.”

The diplomat underscored that the military character of Hajj Qassem holds a lot of dimensions within its folds. He had a mission to protect Iran’s humanitarian, cultural and civilizational existence as well as its Islamic civilization. In fact, Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei stresses this aspect. “The battle between us and our foes is a battle of civilization par excellence. We have to realize that holding on to our civilization, customs and traditions is an integral part of our identity and existence and that the military serves to protect it.”

Targeting Civilization

Touching on US President Donald Trump’s threat to target 52 historical sites, Dr. Khameyar highlighted that “the uncivilized opponent knows that targeting our civilization hurts, and so he does it on purpose.”

Since the Islamic Republic of Iran decided to free itself from the manacles of American supremacy in 1979, the US has become so occupied with attempts to destroy Iran’s civilization and culture. This is not an unplanned thing, it is calculated and intentional. Iran’s heritage is the oldest among many across the world. It also enjoys a strategic geographical position which makes the US more obsessed about controlling it.

Targeting cultural heritage: a mindset

According to Dr. Khameyar, “Trump’s words and his threat to target Iran’s sites was not a slip of a tongue, but rather part of the hegemonic mindset. To understand this, we can look at historians like Bernard Lewis and the strong impact he had on the US decision-making. He wrote a paper in 1979 under the title “Iran in history” and presented it in Tel Aviv.”

Dr. Khameyar pointed out that “this policy of dissecting the region and ruining its heritage and culture was seen across the region in what some call the ‘Arab Spring’ and others call the ‘Arab awakening’; names do not really matter and it is the legacy of Lewis and people who have adopted his thought. We have seen the destruction of museums and libraries in Iraq after the collapse of the Saddam regime, and the same scenario in Egypt. The head of the National Museum of Iraq told me in person that in less than 36 hours after chaos spread when the Saddam regime collapsed, more than 15 thousand antiquities were either destroyed or stolen. Also in Syria, the Takfiri groups adopted the same policy of destroying cultural and historical heritage in Aleppo, Palmyra and other cities. If it were not for the popular and youth groups that quickly took action, all this heritage would have been destroyed.”

The diplomat noted “Lewis says Iran is one of the civilized countries that was immune in face of any attempts to ruin its heritage and culture for at least two centuries. His advice to confront such countries like Iran is through division, so Iran should be divided into a great Baluchistan, a great Khorasan, a great Azerbaijan and so on. ”

Bernard Lewis, a British-American historian of the Middle East, has been formidably influential in America – his policy ideas have towered over presidents, policy-makers and think-tanks, and they still do. For those who might not have known this: The “Bernard Lewis plan”, as it came to be known, was a design to fracture all the countries in the region – from the Middle East to India – along ethnic, sectarian and linguistic lines. A radical Balkanization of the region. He seems to be Mike Pompeo’s intellectual hero. For example, Pompeo says: “I met him only once, but read much of what he wrote. I owe a great deal of my understanding of the Middle East to his work … He was also a man who believed, as I do, that Americans must be more confident in the greatness of our country, not less.”

Soleimani preserves heritage, humanity

Assassinating General Soleimani comes within the same context.

Dr. Khameyar added “The military façade of general Soleimani is indeed a shield that protects and preserves the humanitarian, cultural and historical heritage of Iran and the region. His personality was also multi-dimensional. He was on the battlefields to help fight terrorist groups, but he was also among the poor inside Iran, trying his best to help them out. During the floods that struck Khuzestan last year, he was among the first to be there and provide help. Tens of stories have emerged after his assassination, showing a person of modesty, chastity and humanity and this is what made him so popular among the Iranians and this is why millions poured down the streets to participate in his memorial.”

The Iranian diplomat explained that the people called him the general of hearts and love. “This has its roots in Iranian poetry and literature. When we talk about “Eshq”, meaning love, the great poets of Persia cross our minds like Hafez and Rumi. They are internationally well-known for their ingenious and unique works. And when we mention the Shahnameh, which is the book of epics we talk about heroic characters. Today, General Soleimani is an epic, a real one though. He also exemplifies Karbala, which is an integral part of Iranian and Islamic culture and history.”

Demonstrations renew Iran legitimacy

Dr. Khameyar underlined that the millions of people who attended his funeral or headed to the streets in all the Iranian cities in fact were like a sea of human beings, with its tides extending outside the borders of Iran as well.

“The huge ceremonies in which most Iranians participated represents another referendum to the legitimacy of the Iranian government. It is also like a consensus and approval to the resistance front or what is known as the axis of resistance in the region. Despite the desperate American attempts to destroy Iran and despite the sanctions, pressure and different means adopted to harm Iran, the martyrdom of Hajj Qassem fixated the resistance front and united the Iranian people. Today, we can say that the resistance has become globalized, since martyr Soleimani is a transnational personality that transcends borders and geography.”

A smart-power personality

Describing the personality of martyr General Soleimani, Dr. Khameyar said that we can perhaps call it a smart-power personality; it combines both soft and hard power together.

“This smart-power is demonstrated in a few things: the spread of the culture of resistance among Iranians and other peoples of the region, the strengthening of the popular will, the persistence and perseverance of the Iranians in face of all difficulties and the rising voices “We are all Soleimani” across Iran and the region. It is also exemplified in what happened in the Iraqi parliament, where MPs urged US forces to leave the Iraqi territory, and in the marches of millions of people also outside Iran. Now hard power comes in the form of the missiles that precisely targeted the Ain al-Assad US military base located in Iraq, and maybe new strikes in the future to deter the occupiers, who knows. This military strike was not intended to kill, it was a clear message that US hegemony can be defeated, and that the US army is not invincible.”

Dr. Khameyar also noted “Today, the resistance axis is globalized, and the resistance forces are stronger on all levels. Again, when we say resistance we do not mean a military resistance only, we rather mean an axis of resistance that is developed on all levels.”

Describing General Soleimani with Iranian poetry, Dr. Khameyar said the poem of “The Breath of the Christ” fits him really well.

Hafez said “I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through-listen to this music.” The Music of the Divine, of the breath of Christ – Music that melts and opens the heart and frees the soul of any willing to listen.

For the Arabic version click here

The game of the American gambler with the Iranian carpet weaver لعبة المقامر الأميركي مع صانع السجاد الإيراني

يناير 6, 2020

Written by Nasser Kandil,


It is wrong to think that Washington is working according to a certain strategy, and to try in vain to link the scattered parts of the steps of the President Donald Trump, hoping to reach to American strategic visions. The only constant in the American policies is the confusion between two inabilities in which Washington has suspended and unable to get out of. The attempt of setting fire in a gunpowder store does not reflect ability as many would like to see a reflection of great planning taking into consideration the consequences. So often, it is an attempt of a desperate who wants to play the game of a loser versus loser after the failure of offering the game of a winner versus winner. America is stuck between the inability to wage a comprehensive war and the inability to make a comprehensive settlement along with the inability to have a settlement that ensures the security to Israel which is besieged with a greater inability whether to go to wars or to make settlements with one difference the coexistence with the two facts eroded, because it cannot withdraw as America. Thus, it makes the American presence in the region a hostage to its security.

Within two years, America tried to bargain its withdrawal with the withdrawal of Iran and the resistance forces from Syria. The negotiator was the martyr the Commander Qassim Soleimani who expressed the absolute rejection, thus America became stuck neither able to make progress nor to retreat, so it bargained on using pressure cards to get better negotiation conditions, it worked on the social and financial conditions in Iran, Lebanon, and Iraq, but did not reach to what it wanted, so it resorts to gambling that the price of withdrawal which was not paid by the resistance axis, its higher price must be determined and grabbed by force, as long as the equation is not going to a comprehensive war and as long as the withdrawal is inevitable. The price was the devastation of the leaders and the structure of the resistance especially in Iraq before leaving in order to exchange the equation of a winner versus winner with the equation of a loser versus loser just in order to grant Israel better conditions to confront the dangers. The raid occurred, it hit the base of the Popular Crowd on the Syrian-Iraqi borders followed by the assassination of the Commander Qaassem Soleimani and the leader Abo Mahdi Al Muhandis within the same plan which may be followed by similar subsequent strikes and willingness to bear the consequences that will end with withdrawal after causing serious harm to the resistance forces, their capabilities, structure, and threats.

The main point of weakness in the American plan is its violation of the rules of military strategy and tactics. Strategically, it is not permissible to take such steps taken by Washington without the reserve readiness to go to war, and tactically, it must take into consideration the reaction of the opponent which may not respond to the expectations on the basis of the strikes occurred in place, time, quality, and quantity and thus not to meet the rules of the game already drawn. Therefore, the rolling American security operation which started with raids on Al Qaim the border region can only be described by gambling. When a gambler loses he raises the ceiling of his bets instead of withdrawing with least losses, he bets on the last turn of the wheel of fortune, he keeps expecting to win and to regain his losses, thus his plays with his entire balance without a certain plan. This type of behavior is an American cultural component that is inspired as a cultural inheritance by the time of mafias, gambling clubs, gangs of purchasing the debt securities that later turned into a stock exchange in Wall Street, inherited randomness, arrogance, haste, and the fast abandonment and adapting with loss ignoring the standards of dignity and honor.

We are in front of a scene in which the American gambler stands versus the carpet weaver who is historically an inherited Iranian typical personality that simulated the Iranian cultural type culturally, economically, politically, and militarily. The carpet weaver masters mixing colors, knitting the hidden stitch, following accurately the lines and curves, he knits more than one carpet together, he can control time since patience is a lifestyle, confident of his pricing. If for example one could not estimate the value of a good carpet this year, another one may come the years to come and buy. The Iranian carpet which succeeded in spreading from Tehran to Bagdad, Damascus, and Beirut and in expanding to the south in Yemen is a solid, elaborate, and perfected one, and can handle its cut thread with a hidden stitch. The skillful weaver is ware that the cut of an essential threat in a fabric must not prevent him from the continuation of weaving, on the contrary, to surprise by almost reaching to the intended goal (Jerusalem). Today the Iranians and the resistance axis are thinking just like that. The blood of the martyr the Commander Soleimani is an opportunity to be closer to Palestine and to make the security of Israel more threatened, so while America is waiting for a harmful response it will find itself face an unbearable loss. The great pain is the completion of the carpet in which Soleimani is a pivotal thread towards Jerusalem.
Waiting for the hidden stitch.


Translated by Lina Shehadeh

لعبة المقامر الأميركي مع صانع السجاد الإيراني

يناير 4, 2020

ناصر قنديل

– يخطئ من يظن أن واشنطن تعمل وفقاً لاستراتيجية فيحاول عبثاً ربط الأجزاء المتناثرة لخطوات الرئيس دونالد ترامب آملاً أن ترسم له خطاً بيانياً يستنتج منه ملامح استراتيجية أميركية. فالثابت الوحيد في السياسات الأميركية هو التخبّط بين عجزين علقت بينهما واشنطن ولا تجد منهما مخرجاً. والخطوات الكبيرة بحجم إشعال حريق في مخزن بارود ليست تعبيراً عن اقتدار كما يرغب أن يراها كثيرون تعبيراً عن تخطيط كبير يتناسب مع حجم مخاطرها. فغالباً ما يُقدم عليها يائس يريد أن يلعب لعبة خاسر خاسر بعدما فشل عرضه على الغير برابح رابح، خاصة أن الأميركي العالق بين عجزيه الرئيسيين وهما العجز عن خوض الحرب الشاملة والعجز عن التسوية الشاملة، محاصر بعجز ثالث هو عجزه عن تسوية لا تضمن أمناً لـ»إسرائيل» المحاصرة بعجز أكبر سواء عن خوض الحروب أو صناعة التسويات، مع فارق أن قدرها سيكون بالتعايش معهما هو التآكل والاهتراء، لأنها لا تستطيع الانسحاب كحال أميركا، فتجعل الوجود الأ ميركي في المنطقة رهينة أمنها.

– حاول الأميركي خلال عامين مقايضة انسحابه بانسحاب إيران وقوى المقاومة من سورية، وكان المفاوض الشهيد القائد قاسم سليماني، وكان الرفض القاطع، وصار الأميركي عالقاً بين عجزيه في عنق زجاجة، لا يستطيع التقدّم ولا التراجع فراهن على استعمال أوراق الضغط لإنضاج شروط تفاوض أفضل، واستثمر على الأوضاع الاجتماعية والمالية في إيران ولبنان والعراق، ولم يصل لما يرغب، فقرّر المقامرة ومضمونها أن ثمن الانسحاب الذي لم يدفع من محور المقاومة يجب تحديد سعره الأعلى وانتزاعه بالقوة، طالما أن المعادلة ليست الذهاب لحرب شاملة. وطالما أن الانسحاب حتمي، والثمن هو تدمير قادة وبنى المقاومة خصوصاً في العراق، قبل الرحيل، لاستبدال معادلة رابح رابح التي عرضها باعتقاده عبر الانسحاب المتزامن والمتوازي من سورية، بمعادلة خاسر خاسر، ليمنح “إسرائيل” شروطاً أفضل لمواجهة الأخطار. وجاءت الغارة على قاعدة الحشد الشعبي على الحدود السورية العراقية وتلتها ضمن خطة واحدة عملية اغتيال القائد قاسم سليماني والقائد أبو مهدي المهندس، وربما يكون ضمن الخطة ضربات لاحقة مشابهة، واستعداد لتحمّل أثمان ردود تنتهي بالانسحاب بعد إلحاق أذى جسيم بقوى المقاومة وقدراتها وهيكليتها وحجم ما تشكّل من خطر على أمن “إسرائيل”.

– نقطة الضعف الرئيسية في الخطة الأميركية أنها مخالفة لقواعد الاستراتيجية والتكتيك عسكرياً. فعلى الصعيد الاستراتيجي لا يجوز الإقدام على خطوات بحجم التي أقدمت عليها واشنطن، دون الجهوزية الاحتياطية لخوض حرب، وعلى الصعيد التكتيكي يجب التحسّب لعدم استجابة الخصم للتوقعات التي رسمت على أساسها سلسلة الضربات في المكان والزمان والنوع والكم، وسلوكه خيارات مفاجئة لا تلبي قواعد اللعبة المرسومة افتراضياً، ولذلك لا يمكن وصف العملية الأمنية الأميركية المتدحرجة التي بدأت بغارات منطقة القائم الحدودية، إلا بالمقامرة. فالمقامر خصوصاً عندما يكون خاسراً، يرفع سقف رهانه بدل الانسحاب بأقل الخسائر، ويراهن على آخر دورة للدولاب، ويبقى يتوقع أن يصيب الرهان ويستعيد الخسائر ويحقق الأرباح، وغالباً ما يلعب بكامل الرصيد، وهو يخوض مقامرته خطوة بخطوة بلا خطة. وبالمناسبة هذا النمط السلوكي هو مكوّن ثقافي أميركي يستمدّ وضعه كموروث بنيوي من زمن المافيات وأندية القمار وعصابات شراء سندات الدين التي تحوّلت لاحقاً في وول ستريت إلى بورصة، وحملت معها العشوائية والعنجهية والتسرّع وسرعة التخلي والتأقلم مع الخسارة وعدم التوقف أمام معايير الكرامة والشرف.

– مقابل الأميركي المقامر يقف صانع السجاد، وهو بكل المعنى التاريخي شخصية إيرانية موروثة نموذجية تحاكي كل النمط الثقافي الإيراني في المستويات كافة، ثقافية واقتصادية وسياسية وعسكرية، وصانع السجاد يتقن مزج الألوان، وحبك القطبة المخفيّة، ودقة اتباع الخطوط والمنحنيّات، ويحيك أكثر من سجادة معاً، ويملك حسّ السيطرة على الزمن. فالصبر عنده أسلوب حياة، والثقة بالسعر المناسب لا ينال منها العرض والطلب، فالسجادة الجيدة تبيع نفسها وإن لم يأت من يقدر قيمتها هذه السنة فسيأتي ذات سنة، وليس بالضرورة السنة المقبلة. والسجادة الإيرانية التي نجحت بأن تمتد من طهران إلى بغداد إلى دمشق فبيروت، وأن تتوسّع نجو جنوب المنطقة في اليمن، هي سجادة متينة متقنة ثابتة مقتدرة، تحتضن ما أصاب خيطها المقطوع وتعيد الوصل بقطبة مخفية. ويدرك الحائك الماهر أن قطع خيط محوري في النسيج لا يجب أن يصرفه عن مواصلة الحياكة، فيربط الخيط بقطبته التي لا ترى ويواصل، ويفاجئ أن السجادة المرصودة لبلوغ القدس قد صارت على المشارف، وهذا ما يفكر فيه الإيرانيون ومعهم محور المقاومة اليوم، كيف يكون دم الشهيد القائد سليماني فرصة للاقتراب أكثر من فلسطين، وجعل أمن “إسرائيل” أشد انكشافاً. وفيما ينتظر الأميركي رداً يؤلمه أكثر سيجد رداً يُخرجه بخسارة لا تُحتمل. وهذا هو الألم العظيم، أن تكتمل السجادة التي شكل سليماني خيطاً محورياً فيها نحو القدس. – بانتظارالقطبةالمخفيّة.

Related Videos

السلاح المدمّر مقابل الحضارة .. خلاصة تهديدات ترامب بضرب المواقع الثقافية الإيرانية
البنتاغون: القواعد والمراكز العسكرية الأميركية تتوزع على أكثر من 160 دولة

Related Articles

Syria will always remain vivid and hospitable

ST

Eva Zu Beck is not one of the journalists who regularly visits Syria to make a video or write an article about the war for their mainstream media outlets.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

She simply identified herself as a vlogger and was clear that her two-part video about her visit to Syria titled “What’s It Like to Be a Tourist in ALEPPO/Damascus in 2019?” is not meant to be “a political commentary.”

The polish young woman decided to listen to her deep thoughts and follow her hunch that “there are extraordinary adventures just outside her doorstep.” So, the number of views her reports might get is less important than the experience she will get.

As a tourist, Eva visited a country listed as one of top 10 most dangerous countries according to the 2019 Global Peace Index (GPI) report. Syria is now the second least peaceful city in the world to replace Afghanistan, which is now the least peaceful country. Is it a coincidence that the sovereignty of the two countries has been violated by the US troops and foreign extremist fighters who came from all over the world under the pretext of liberating people?

The 2nd-millennium BC old city of Aleppo competes with the 3rd-millennium BC old city of Damascus as being the oldest inhabited urban city in the world.

Refugees, IDPs, bombings, hell cannons, death toll, barrel bombs, etc. were, unfortunately, the front-page story of any news on Syria including the governorates of Aleppo and Damascus.  Her two short feature videos on Damascus and Aleppo showed the opposite while the beneficiaries of the continuation of the war want to keep a distorted black image about Syria for their political and personal interests.

Her journey to Damascus and Aleppo – the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – was planned without forming prior expectations based on the stereotype ideas disseminated in the western-oriented media.

Eva first went to the old city of Damascus. She discovered a colourful and vibrant city and met very hospitable people who greeted her warmly in the streets. Later on, she headed to the city of Aleppo, freely toured the streets and enjoyed the traditional food like al-Malban (a jelly-like substance made of grapes with walnuts inside) and the city’s handmade ice cream – No surprise that she enjoyed the food there as Aleppo cuisine is the most famous and distinctive among other Middle Eastern cuisines. Some say that its sweet and sour flavour is a combination of conquest and Silk Road trade.

She saw first-hand the people of Aleppo’s determination to rebuild their own city and she was astonished by their resilience. It is undeniable that the people of Aleppo and all-around Syria suffered and have been suffering from the repercussions of war. They have experienced destitution, lost beloved ones and missed things used to be taken for granted before the crisis like water, electricity, food, safety, etc. The war has never been kind to anyone before including the Syrians.

However, the people of Aleppo did not wait for the world to come and help them rebuild their city and country, although there were many parties involved that were willing to turn them against each other and reignite the Syrian crisis. However these very same parties were not ready to provide the necessary support for rebuilding.

Due to Syria’s privileged position on the Mediterranean Sea and its natural resources, many invaders showed great interest in controlling it. Every Syrian city, town and village were not spared from invasions. For instance, the silk-road old city was invaded by Alexander the Great, Hulagu Khan, Mongol Tamburlaine, the Ottomans, and the French occupation. History also referred to a devastating 8.5-magnitude earthquake that completely destroyed most of Aleppo in 1138. But here we are, and like their predecessors, the people of Aleppo were able to re-emerge.

This video is an example of how to be a human and not to turn a blind eye to any effort, even if it is modest.

Eva managed to look at the half full cup and managed to reach all sides away from politics. Come and visit Syria and see for yourself.

 

D.A

Upside down or right side up? Comparing Chinese vs. Western civilizational hierarchies.

Upside down or right side up? Comparing Chinese vs. Western civilizational hierarchies.

By: Jeff J. Brown for The Saker Blog

 

Crosslinked with:

https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2019/08/14/upside-down-or-right-side-up-comparing-chinese-vs-western-civilizational-hierarchies-china-rising-radio-sinoland-190814/

https://youtu.be/rYmvCRQBybk

https://soundcloud.com/44-days/upside-down-or-right-side-up-comparing-chinese-vs-western-civilizational-hierarchies

 

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

Pictured above: no wonder Chinese and Westerners don’t understand each other. They look at the world and their societies with diametrically opposed points of view. It’s like two peoples staring at each other through the opposite ends of a telescope. Everything is distorted. To paraphrase the great American poet Robert Frost, “And that my friends, makes all the difference”.

Note before starting: if you have not already done so, reading/listening to/watching my two recent posts comparing Chinese and Western governance will make this one much more meaningful (https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2019/07/30/why-are-western-leaders-gawd-awful-bad-and-chinas-so-darn-competent-part-i-china-rising-radio-sinoland-190730/ and https://chinarising.puntopress.com/2019/08/07/why-are-western-leaders-gawd-awful-bad-and-chinas-so-darn-competent%ef%bc%9fpart-ii-china-rising-radio-sinoland-190807/).

Westerners can live and work in China for years and not see the obvious. I should know, since I was one of them. We occidentals are so brainwashed from birth, at home, in school, by government, media and advertising of our moral superiority over all those “other” dark skinned kinda-sorta people, that it’s easy to not see the trees in the proverbial forest of life. This is how I was, when living here from 1990-1997. Even after living and working for 21 years outside the US, mostly in Africa, Middle East and China, I was still blinded by my racism of Western cultural and moral superiority, a liberaloid do-gooder, wrapped up in identity politics, thinking I was better than most of my less cosmopolitan countrymen – sad to say – and I wasn’t much better. It was not until we came back to China in 2010 that the scales of racism finally fell from my eyes. This painful and humbling, but ultimately liberating experience is tracked through the three books of The China Trilogy (see below).

Looking at the above comparative chart and going back to the times of the Ancient Greeks, the quintessential Marlboro Man has been the fixture of Western civilization. Me, myself and I, free and unfettered, independent and on one’s own, to decide one’s destiny. Being an adventurer and warrior/gunslinger also fits the bill. Greek tales like Jason and the Argonauts, Iliad and the Odyssey and the swashbuckling myths of the deities slaughtering monsters (today’s inferior Dreaded Others) all extol the virtues of Solo Man.

Family comes next and even that is often contested and dysfunctional in the West. Help out a family member? Maybe, maybe not. It seems like every Western family I’ve ever gotten to know well, starting with mine, is rife with communication and contact between members cut off. Individual peeves and grudges trump trying to keep the family intact.

Working our way down this civilizational hierarchy, support for the neighborhood, city, province and country can happen, but frequently on “my terms” and “not in my backyard”. How dare you encroach on my freedoms! This, while citizens can be easily brainwashed with God and the flag, to fight in endless wars for rape, resources and plunder, with the price over the long term eventually being societal collapse.

For millennia, at the bottom of the Western shit heap is the government and leaders. You can’t blame Euranglolanders for not trusting or respecting their governments, since they usually act like gangsters stealing from the 99%, while sending the latter to die likes dogs in wars of expansion, exploitation and extraction, all to enrich their elite 1% masters. Organized criminals posing as leaders and governments masking cartels is standard operating procedure. It’s happening while I write.

Yet, in spite of all the pitfalls, it’s easy to see why the Western hierarchy of Solo Man is so intoxicating and flattering. What could be more important than… ME! One’s horizon in life is simplified. Me, myself and I concentrate the need and take complexity and nuance out of the equation. Life become linear, point A to point B. I’ll do whatever the hell I want, Bubba. Get back Jojo, it’s my space. Get outta of my way, this is MY lane! A friend in need is fucked indeed. What’s in it for me? The world is my oyster. Of course, I should be able wear a gun around town to protect myself. I’ve got individual rights. Ayn Rand’s “rational self-interest”. Gordon Gekko’s greed is not just good, greed is God. What’s mine is mine and what’s yours in mine, so you’re screwed. Might and treachery make right. Finders keepers losers weepers. Laissez-faire, bay-bee. Dog eat dog, the big dominate the little, the rich steal from the poor. Being entertained and amused becomes paramount. Mass production and super-consumption are in. More, more, more. Making personal sacrifices is decidedly uncool, as is delayed gratification. It is easy to see why the Western paradigm of Marlboro Man dovetails so perfectly with capitalism, neoliberalism and colonialism.

Now, in China, flip the West’s social hierarchy upside down. Suddenly, you are no longer Mr. and Mrs. Me. Welcome to being at the very bottom of civilization’s needs. Look up and your life is no longer simple and linear, but complex and elliptical – a tapestry of interconnections and expectations. Just in the family alone, Mom’s, Dad’s and Grandparents’ needs trump yours. Older relatives too. What’s mine is also my family’s. If you slack off, then how is the family supposed to help take care of the neighborhood? We all want to live in a nice town/city, don’t we, and you’re the start. Daily life becomes very intricate, cyclical and circular, giving and taking. This is not my lane, but everyone else’s too. Since life is so interwoven and interdependent, solidarity in helping others becomes the ideal. Suddenly, social harmony and peaceful coexistence are everything. You mean I have to share? I have many responsibilities to my community and country? You mean I should help the government and our leaders to work effectively, and keep the nation intact and prosperous? You bet your stinky tofu, you do.

It’s easy to see that being a Chinese citizen is a much bigger daily responsibility and the expectations of the many over the wants of the individual are so much greater than in Western civilization. Euranglolanders often feel superior over Chinese families, when they see young children here being loud, boisterous and spoiled rotten. They are for a few years. It’s the one time in their lives when they get to enjoy some of that Solo Man Me, Myself and I, because by the time they get first grade in school, China’s civilizational hierarchy starts to kick in and the expectations of everyone around them begin to weigh on their societal shoulders. For five or six years, they get to run wild a little bit, now it’s time to knuckle down and take their place on the bottom rung of the ladder.

Since you are on the hook for family, the country’s leaders and government, attributes like frugality and delayed gratification become the ideal. No wonder the Chinese have the highest savings rate of any large economy in the world. Even though buying personal gizmos and luxuries has never been higher, and Baba Beijing is exhorting the masses to consume more, to counteract the US’s tariff trade war, China’s savings rate is still 46% (https://www.ceicdata.com/en/indicator/china/gross-savings-rate). This compares to Americans’ 17% (https://www.ceicdata.com/en/indicator/united-states/gross-savings-rate).

All in the family. Since everybody collectively is more important than you, is it any wonder that China is a communist-socialist civilization and always has been?

It goes without saying that the two above portrayed hierarchies are meant to be painted black and white, to show the overarching contrast. Of course, there are generous, giving Westerners who believe in social solidarity and economic justice. As well, there are Chinese who are selfish, greedy and heartless. Yes, there are family feuds and estranged relatives. That’s not the point. The point is the diametrically opposed societal expectations and ideals that are held up for inspiration and guidance. In the West, it’s all about individualism and personal freedom. In China, it’s all about Mom, Dad, the mayor, governor, prime minister and president who come first.

And that, my friends, makes all the difference. The imperial West shattered China’s civilizational hierarchy for 110 years, when it flooded the country with opium, morphine and heroin, 1839-1949, and was able to rape and plunder the people with lustful abandon. Since communist liberation in 1949, China’s social hierarchy has been restored. Look at the comparative table at the beginning of this article one more time and ask yourself, Which country is going to succeed and prosper on the world stage, into the 22nd century?

I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.

Key words:

China, Racism, Culture, Ancient Greece, Marlboro Man, Individualism, Solidarity, Brainwash, Me Myself and I, 99%, 1%, Eurangloland, War, Ayn Rand, Gordon Gekko

*

 

Bio: Jeff J. Brown is a geopolitical analyst, journalist, lecturer and the author of The China Trilogy. It consists of 44 Days Backpacking in China – The Middle Kingdom in the 21st Century, with the United States, Europe and the Fate of the World in Its Looking Glass (2013); Punto Press released China Rising – Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations (2016); and for Badak Merah, Jeff authored China Is Communist, Dammit! – Dawn of the Red Dynasty(2017). As well, he published a textbook, Doctor WriteRead’s Treasure Trove to Great English (2015). Jeff is a Senior Editor & China Correspondent for The Greanville Post, where he keeps a column, Dispatch from Beijing and is a Global Opinion Leader at 21st Century. He also writes a column for The Saker, called the Moscow-Beijing Express. Jeff writes, interviews and podcasts on his own program, China Rising Radio Sinoland, which is also available on YouTubeSoundCloudStitcher RadioiTunes, Ivoox and RUvid. Guests have included Ramsey ClarkJames BradleyMoti NissaniGodfree RobertsHiroyuki HamadaThe Saker, and many others.

Jeff can be reached at China Risingjeff@brownlanglois.comFacebookTwitter, Wechat (Jeff_Brown-44_Days) and Whatsapp: +86-13823544196.

*

Creative Commons: This article by Jeff J. Brown is available for re-publication free of charge under Creative Commons. It may be translated into any language and republished anywhere in the world. Editing is permitted of the article(s). You may edit my article(s) and bio to correct spelling, grammar, word usage and any misstatement of facts.

You may change any wording that may be culturally offensive or inappropriate to the reading audience. You may change the title of my article(s) and you may edit them to fit the desired space and word length preferred by your publication.

If you edit and publish my article(s) the only request is that the intended meaning in my article(s) not be changed or taken out of context. You may use the suggested graphics, which to the best of my knowledge are available free under Creative Commons, but I cannot guarantee that they may be used without the permission of their creator and/or owner. You may select your own choice of graphics, pictures and /and or videos (or none) that complement the intended meaning of my article. Please share and distribute this article widely. My contact email is jeff@brownlanglois.com.

Bamiyan, Babylon, Palmyra, Notre-Dame

April 16, 2019

Bamiyan, Babylon, Palmyra, Notre-Dame

by Pepe Escobar for The Saker Blog

The Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed by an intolerant sect pretending to follow Islam. Buddhism all across Asia grieved. The West hardly paid attention.

The remaining ruins of Babylon, and the attached museum, were occupied, plundered and vandalized by a US Marine base during Shock and Awe in 2003. The West paid no attention.

Vast tracts of Palmyra – a legendary Silk Road oasis – were destroyed by another intolerant sect pretending to follow Islam with their backs covered by layers of Western “intelligence”. The West paid no attention.

Scores of Catholic and Orthodox churches in Syria were burnt to the ground by the same intolerant sect pretending to follow Islam with their backs sponsored and weaponized, among others, by the US, Britain and France. The West paid no attention whatsoever.

Notre-Dame, which in many ways can be construed as the Matrix of the West, is partially consumed by a theoretically blind fire.

Especially the roof; hundreds of oak beams, some dating back to the 13th century. Metaphorically, this could be interpreted as the burning of the roof over the West’s collective heads.

Bad karma? Finally?

*

Now back to the nitty-gritty.

Notre-Dame belongs to the French state, which had been paying little to no attention to a gothic jewel that traversed eight centuries.

Fragments of arcades, chimeras, reliefs, gargoyles were always falling to the ground and kept in an improvised deposit in the back of the cathedral.

Only last year Notre-Dame got a check for 2 million euros to restore the spire – which burned to the ground yesterday.

To restore the whole cathedral would have cost 150 million euros, according to the top world expert on Notre-Dame, who happens to be an American, Andrew Tallon.

Recently, the custodians of the cathedral and the French state were actually at war.

The French state was making at least 4 million euros a year, charging tourists to enter the Twin (Bell) Towers but putting back only 2 million euros for the maintenance of Notre-Dame.

The rector of Notre-Dame refused to charge for a ticket to enter the cathedral – as it happens, for example, at the Duomo in Milan.

Notre-Dame basically survives on donations – which pay the salaries of only 70 employees who need not only to supervise the masses of tourists but also to organize eight masses a day.

The French state’s proposal to minimize the ordeal; organize a beneficent lottery. That is; privatize what is a state commitment and obligation.

So yes: Sarkozy and Macron, their whole administrations, are directly and indirectly responsible for the fire.

Now comes the Notre-Dame of Billionaires.

Pinault (Gucci, St. Laurent) pledged 100 million euros from his personal fortune for the restoration. Arnault (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) doubled down, pledging 200 million euros.

So why not privatize this damn fine piece of real estate – disaster capitalism-style? Welcome to Notre-Dame luxury condo, hotel and attached mall.

Sins without Recourse, Beast without Remorse

October 26, 2018

by Norman Ball for The Saker Blog

“[W]e, as serious people, cannot examine the concrete problems that are thrown when the Russian Federation is accused of all mortal sins without recourse to the processes (norms) created for similar cases,” –from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s October 18th interview with RT France.

Russia labors under a West-imposed Original Sin that can obtain dispensation only with the former’s existential cessation. The root of this Sin is the root itself. Russia is Russia, after all. That cannot be rectified.

In light of this dead-stop, what can only be called an apriori –and fatal– naivete pervades much of the prescriptive analysis we read every day. If Putin would only hop or jump or swagger or dance (it differs from one sage to the next) then, we are assured, the properly calibrated gesture would elicit a jackpot of redemptive good will. Godot would pop over the horizon. The crisis would defuse.

Alas, this is an all-too-human read which, while perhaps befitting of a bygone era, falls short of the present moment’s activated spiritual Principalities.

Speaking of Godot, from the same interview that prefaces this essay, Lavrov resigns himself to a “serious, professional and non-propagandistic” discussion at some later time when the current “outbreak of political rage” abates. Whether or not he believes a terrestrial conclusion will arrive in time, we cannot know. He’s a poet. Is he a Christian? Lavrov, ever the consummate diplomat, is nonetheless obliged to sound the proper notes.

It remained for his boss, on the same day, to access otherworldly coordinates with the most astonishing rhetoric (Radio Free Europe called it, “more biblical than technical”) at a Sochi forum:

Putin is making the remarkable admission that if no honorable approach for Russia remains for recovering a constructive relationship with the West (and since crawling along a contritious path is out of the question), Heaven (or Hell) beckons in the wings for all parties.

For such a circumspect statesman to openly confess to The City of Man’s limitations in world affairs, and allow that God may have to sort it out on the other side, well, that’s a foreboding milestone. One shudders at what information he’s privy to as to warrant such a fatalistic statement of principle. Has the geopolitical tether truly run out?

Archetypes are the prefatory hoops through which all actions spring. With understandable forbearance (some armchair warriors would say belatedness), Putin has finally seized his end of the archetype of the apocalypse. (The gauntlet’s been lying on the ground for some time now; see the late Edward Edinger’s 2002 book of the same name). Nor can an utterances of this sort be retracted by secular communique. There it sits, in the global square, a white-hot psychic ember that must now be contended with.

My fellow prognosticators, this is not our parents’ geopolitics.

Know thy enemy. The snake never alters its stripes, though the prevailing terrain can at times abet its pattern. Like a boa constrictor, the implacable machine (Sartre) always awaits relaxation in its prey as a prelude to further tightening. Demonic eschatology continually splits the distance until it capitulates spasmodically within the claustrophobic space of the capstone. The pyramid is a progressively constricting geometry. There is no placating it. The Beast is an insistent geometric construct.

So it’s a form of madness to continually bemoan the rude particulars of the Beast’s blueprint. Would you kick a car for not being an airplane? The implacability is born of usury, an arithmetic pyramid that must have everything for itself.  Debt-money, eternally ravenous, is cursed to roam the earth paying its keep every minute of every day.

Don’t blame the debt-masters. Pity them. They’re the Machine’s most abject slaves. Witness their propensity for throwing themselves off buildings as a measure of unquenchable Babelian despair:

Master, come to my assistance!
Wrong I was in calling
Spirits, I avow,
For I find them galling,
Cannot rule them now.

–from The Sorceror’s Apprentice, Johann Goethe (tr. Paul Dyrsen)

What Russians must do, and admittedly it’s a problem, is to get out the way of their own country or else prostate themselves atop it. Andrei Fursov outlines the elite’s long-term interest in ‘Northern Eurasia’ (what amounts to Russia), as a post-apocalyptic, resource-rich life raft; what MacKinder might have called, the Heartland of the Heartland.

Mephistopheles comes by way of Sergie ‘the Snake’ Kudrin and his borrowed, if not outright mutinous, prescription.  (Scott Humor translates here):

“Therefore, today Russia’s foreign policy should be subordinated to the reduction of tension in our relations with other countries, and, at least, to the preservation or reduction of the sanctions regime, not to the build-up. Today I would measure the effectiveness of our foreign policy on this indicator.”

Of course selective subordination (of the foreign policy portfolio only) is tantamount to total capitulation further along. Ruslan Ostashko asks the obvious question rhetorically of Kudrin: “What will prevent the West from reinstating these sanctions back, after we make all those changes?” Well yes, what precedent –and please venture beyond Gorbachev’s unilateral dumping of the Brezhnev Doctrine for examples if you must– would compel anyone to think reciprocal accommodations ever arrive?

Anthropomorphic daydreams can never take the measure of the Beast. Left to themselves, human beings rest, commiserate, empathize and trade amicably among themselves with an innate sense of proportionality and fairness. The trouble is Paul’s Principalities, good and evil, never leave us to ourselves. Moreover these forces are vaulting increasingly to the fore as even Putin’s off-world meanderings reveal.

Faustian bargains are the West’s own jealous poison, thank you very much Mr. Kudrin. As such, they’re forever withheld from authentic Russian ingestion. Find your own poison in your own time, we might say, one civilization to another. To jump the tracks for ours would be a form of neo-Petrinism (manifested, in the present era, by doting Atlanticists like, well, Kudrin. Oswald Spengler would recognize him as Petrinism’s “artificial product made of stubborn material”.)

Spengler, more poet than historian, offers the penetrating eye of the stranger. His prescience for the Russian destiny is paraphrased by Kerry Bolton here:

The Russian soul is not the same as the Western Faustian, as Spengler called it, the ‘Magian’ of the Arabian civilization, or the Classical of the Hellenes and Romans. The Western Culture that was imposed on Russia by Peter the Great, what Spengler called Petrinism, is a veneer…The Russian soul expresses its own type of infinity, albeit not that of the Westerner’s Faustian soul, which becomes enslaved by its own technics at the end of its life-cycle.”

Many of those ‘technics’ fall under what Spengler called “money-thinking”. At the twilight of its life-cycle the West threatens to withhold its toxicity from all those who don’t ‘play fair’, plying its financial sanctions like an overused tool-set: fractional reserve banking, impudent debt-money that arrives ex nihilo seeking its keep from God-knows-where, leverage that belabors ever-narrowing denominators of intrinsic value.

When the Beast cannot steal, its existing purloined cache is re-leveraged, pacing frenetically until it can steal again. Somewhere in the bowels of the NY Fed behind iron-clad doors, guarded by an ogre, sits a Leverage Machine, Chartered Accountant to the Beast. The lights are flashing red. How do we know this? Because the 24/7 Russian Demonization Campaign tells us so. The manically repetitive narrative is an audio loop cued to the red-lit console.

The West’s sanctions subtract from its own beleaguered base. The ‘cure’, ever more green-fields, serves only to postpone the patient’s demise. The demands are satanic and mutually self-negating:  If you don’t bleed like me, I promise I will kill you.

The various sanctions regimes harbor no rapprochements and coax no favored outcomes. They are nihilistic in spirit and anti-Christian by design. Spengler spoke of Russia’s peculiar historic mission. Could that mission be Armageddon itself?

The stakes, as we like to say, are incalculably high. The potential recoil, fatal. But then, People of the Book already know this.

Might the intelligence complex incite WW3 as a diversionary alternative to exposure and dismantlement? That’s a reasonable bet. After all, where on this planet today are rumors of wars not breaking out in earnest?

There’s a well-ensconced clique on the planet that views WW3 as the crucial next step. Putin seems to have joined them. In lieu of elaborate WMD contexts perpetrated on a sanguine populace, war planners might prefer a war that’s over almost before it starts. Inhuman velocity curtails the need for consensus-building.

NATO’s provocations are endless. However conventional force border-posturing is simply the aperitif. Nuclear escalation will occur with lightning speed.

In his grim but essential work, Eric Zuesse speaks to the current provocations in Ukraine and its Donbass region and the toss-up potential of a nuclear first strike being strategically ‘rationalized’ and perpetrated by either the Americans or the Russians. How perilous and frightening is that? Both sides are strategically obliged go nuclear first, although Putin seemed to remove a Russian first-strike from the table last week, a very noble and statesman-like assertion, to be sure. Who fully understands the dynamic between he and his Defense Minister? Sergei Shoigu might, on strictly military grounds, beg to differ.

Here’s Zuesse:

“Either way would likely produce from Russia a nuclear blitz-attack to eliminate as many of America’s retaliatory weapons as possible, so as to beat the US to the punch. In military terms, the side that suffers the less damage ‘wins’, even if it’s a nuclear war that destroys the planet. The side that would strike first in a nuclear war would almost certainly suffer the less damage, because most of the opponent’s retaliatory weaponry would be destroyed in that attack. Trump is playing nuclear “chicken” against Putin.”

Nuclear Primacy had been America’s post-MAD doctrine since 2006. (Here are the same two idiot-savants, Drs. Keir Lieber and Daryl Press, on paper, proving once and for all that intelligence is a circle.) The Russian nuclear detection system is horribly antiquated and, in an effort to tamp down the reigning madness, US officials are talking naval blockades and preemptive first strikes. Language is always the first bullet fired. America’s nuclear arsenal is to be upgraded over the next thirty years at an estimated cost of $1.2 trillion (October 2017 CBO report).

Paranoid much? You’d have to be a fool not to be. In fact you’d have to be an irreligious fool not to think thermonuclear exchange isn’t poised to occur in some demented parody of well-considered premeditation and forethought.

It’s the midnight after midnight and Doomsday’s tired of walking around the block. The Beast wants Russia either polishing boots in Basel or moving its Orthodox frontage to Mars. There is no middle ground. There is no dialectical accommodation. People are a temporary impediment to the wealth beneath their feet. Bankers eat birthrights for breakfast.

The inestimable trove of raw goodies under Eurasia must be secured or else the leverage-cubed that’s holding up the leverage-squared is going to collapse in a calamitous heap of non-real numbers and exhausted exponentiality.

Before he exited Stratfor, some say for a surfeit of candor, George Friedman laid out the last hundred-years of the game-plan. Mind you (and our German friends too), it’s nothing personal. It’s primordial, which is to say, quite equally of the future, an ‘interest’ that will not abate.

As Shiekh Iman Hosein insists, the repatriation of Crimea represents a huge and rare setback for the Beast’s cordon sanitaire strategy of containment (constriction?) Sixteenth-century Rabbi Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman (popularly known as the Vilna Gaon) acknowledged much the same:

“When you hear that the Russians have captured the city of Crimea, the ‘Times of the Messiah’ have started, that his steps are being heard”

There are not enough dimension frankly to deploy the appropriate chess game. But then we’re not in a chess game. We’re in an end-game. Finesse is an Enlightenment affectation. In a kingdom of hammers the adroit tactician is just another nail.

So enough please of rehabilitative measures, improved behaviors and well-considered countermeasures. No behavior under the sun will do until nuclear winter blots the sun from the sky. We’ve been staring down the barrel of Oppenheimer’s Shiva ever since some vanguard of Molochian butt-worshippers decided there’s life for them on the back-end of nihilistic cessation.

There is a war on against what Spengler termed, “the world-historical fact of Russia itself”. Putin seems finally to have risen to the existential occasion.

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

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.

%d bloggers like this: