Democracy Now! is previewing exclusive video from Israel’s attack on the Free Gaza humanitarian flotilla. Here’s a synopsis of the new video:
In a Democracy Now! exclusive we bring you a sneak preview of previously unseen raw footage from the Mavi Marmara that will be formally released at a press conference at the United Nations later in the day. The footage shows the mood and the activities on board the Mavi Marmara in the time leading up to the attack, and the immediate reaction of the passengers during the attack. We are joined by filmmaker and activist Iara Lee, one of the few Americans on the Mavi Marmara ship. Her equipment was confiscated but she managed to smuggle out an hour’s worth of footage.
Oh, and no sarcasm from me today. I’m leaving that to the brilliantly talented Arthur Silber, whose biting essay on the topic is featured below the videos.
June 08, 2010
From the sickeningly rancid, foully infected underbelly of the Outraged Furor! over Helen Thomas’s violation of The Sacred Rules Concerning What Is Permissible to Say About Israel, there is one “argument” offered by Israel’s defenders that might be among my favorite debating tactics of recent years.
In their efforts to prove beyond all dispute that Thomas is a vicious anti-Semite who loathes every Jew who has ever lived and longs for the day when every single one of them is dead, these defenders of notably horrifying and murderous State terrorism gleefully spit out: “It’s just like saying, ‘Hey, all you Black Americans! Go back to Africa!’ And we all know what it would mean if someone said that!”
I’ve heard and read this a huge number of times in the last several days. I am forced to admit that the comparison is staggering in its power. It makes the point with concision, and the historic parallels are overwhelming. To review briefly, and despite the very painful familiarity of these facts: significant numbers of Africans voluntarily, indeed enthusiastically, migrated westward and took over large parts of the eastern seaboard of what was then the United States beginning in the mid-1800s. They were able to do this because they had the unending support in a multitude of forms of the most powerful Nation-States of the time. The Africans claimed that a special dispensation from … well, something or other … ordained that the land mass designated by the name “United States” was uniquely theirs. The Nation-States that made possible the Africans’ conquest and domination agreed.
In the ensuing century and a half, the Africans slaughtered most of those they found living in the United States, beginning in the eastern states and then steadily continuing their campaign of murder and destruction across the continent. The few survivors fled further and further west. The Africans inexorably pursued them, all still with the backing of certain immensely powerful Nation-States. Eventually, the Africans drove the remaining previous inhabitants of the United States into just three or four very small areas in (what were then called) Arizona and New Mexico. From that point on and continuing to the present, the Africans forbade virtually anyone and anything from moving into or out of these impossibly restricted areas. Although it is rarely talked about or admitted, people will eventually acknowledge, when pressed, that the Americans forced to remain in these concentration camps must endure conditions that are among the most nightmarish on earth.
Given this history, well-known to every young school child in the world, it is indeed exactly the same to say that the Israelis should “get out of Palestine” and to demand that the Africans should “get out of the United States.” The argument is unanswerable to a degree that causes me profound embarrassment and distress. I greatly resent having the pathetic shabbiness of my views revealed in this manner.
But perhaps I might offer an exceedingly minor piece of unsolicited and doubtless unwanted advice to many of those who regularly defend Israel’s systematic State terrorism, extended entirely free of charge and only because I’m a hell of a sweet guy:
You don’t need to work at making yourselves stupid. Seriously.
On a related note: it is not “brave” or “courageous” of you in the slightest degree to side with unanswerable power, or to act as enforcers of permissible speech. To the contrary, that decision is one of the least courageous choices imaginable. It is also remarkably, astonishingly … well, stupid. But I’ve told you that you don’t need to work at that.
I have a number of other, considerably more complex points I want to make about this Helen Thomas episode. I’ll get to all that in the next day or so. But I came across this particular “argument” several times again this morning. So I wanted to get this out of the way.
For me, one of the more gut-wrenching aspects of today’s monstrous culture, a culture that kills each and every manifestation of empathy, understanding and compassion with relentlessly systematic determination, is the combination of unending destruction, cruelty, violence and murder with the most abysmally wretched depths of stupidity.
In certain respects, that is my own personal nightmare. And so, so many people work with such diligence to make it real every single day. They needn’t work at that, either, and I desperately wish they would stop.
Assuredly, they will not.