• Books: Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild, Endless War: Hidden Functions of the "war on terror" by David Keen, Capital Vol. 1, Tin Drum by Günter Grass, What is Islam? by Shahab Ahmed, Desiring Arabs by Joseph Massad, Spies, Soldiers and Statesmen by Hazem Kandil, La Condition Humaine by André Malraux, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Imagined Community by Benedict Anderson, Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said, The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, The Richness of Life by Stephen Jay Gould, Children of the Alley by Naguib Mahfouz, The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, Noli me Tangere by José Rizal, Age of Extremes by Eric Hobsbawm, ذهنية التحريم لصادق جلال العظم, Karl Marx by Francis Wheen, وليمة لأعشاب البحر لحيدر حيدر, Candide by Voltaire, النزعات المادية في الفلسفة العربية الإسلامية لحسين مروة, Listen Little Man by Wilhelm Reich ..
  • Films: Alexanderplatz by Rainer Fassbinder, Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now, The Battle of Algiers, films by P. P. Passolini, Persepolis, Midnight Express, 1984, Papillion, Gangs of New York, Sophie Scholl, Life of Brian, Ivan the Terrble, Battleship Potemkine ...

Monday, December 05, 2016

"The Syrians who are fighting their state are indefensible. Too bearded to be trusted, fratricidal on top of that, they are defying the laws of geopolitics in the Middle East, and could very well provoke World War III. Syrians, then, must not be defended.
But what can be done faced with the spectacle of indignity streamed almost live from Syria since 2011? This spectacle is unprecedented. Never before in history has a crime against humanity been filmed day by day, turned into a spectacle with the cooperation of both victims and executioners, broadcast by the big television networks and streamed on social media, intercut with ad breaks, consumed by the general public, and commodified by the art market.
At the time of Auschwitz, only God was supposed to see what happened in the showers. It was only after the liberation of the camps that accredited filmmakers could capture evidence of the crimes, which were recognized as such by the legal authorities. Those images, however, were considered unbearable, even in the eyes of the Nazi war criminals who were offered a special screening at the Nuremberg Trials: One began to sob uncontrollably; another covered his eyes with a trembling hand.
The same goes for the villagers neighboring the camps, who always defended themselves by saying they had not seen what was happening despite the stench of corpses permeating the bodies of the living. By doing so they followed the decree that one must not watch another die and do nothing to help. Even God will face questioning for watching on as the spectacle of the death of his creatures depicted as subhumans unfolded. Humanity would assume its responsibilities by recognizing a new legal axiom: the inherent dignity of all members of the human family.
 Consecrated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the principle presumes that a human must not be treated as a means, but rather as an end in herself or himself. So a head of state who gasses his fellow citizens, treating them like germs and terrorists, is therefore a criminal against humanity.
But Syria’s head of state has done all of this without being treated as such. Rather, he is presented as a gentleman, defending his views to the world’s major media organizations, while his victims are presented as individuals deprived of dignity, confused with religious communities or hordes of refugees. Not only are we representing the criminal through the figure of that banal man revealed in the trial of Adolf Eichmann, but we are also representing his victims as fundamentalists raging through an exotic Warsaw Ghetto."  — Joey Husseini Ayoub

Sadly, Joey, "For the worst of it is that we have got used to the inhuman. We have learned to tolerate the intolerable... Total war and cold war have brainwashed us into accepting barbarity. Even worse: they have made barbarity seem unimportant, compared to more important matters like making money." — Eric Hobsbawm

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This is a nice piece. The philosophical roots of rights-based liberal individualism lie in efforts to legitimate imperial expansion