The Matrix of Control: Jeff Halper

What happens when you deny reality indefinitely?

Anthropologist Jeff Halper and the geography of the matrix.
Anthropologist Jeff Halper and the geography of the matrix.

Making the inexplicable explicable, anthropologist Jeff Halper has authored an expression for a phenomenon: The Matrix of Control. I’ve sought to study both sides of the Palestine/Israel conflict; I find Halper’s well documented publications insightful and pertinent. And “The Matrix” is already in our cultural lexicon.

The geography of the occupied territories
The geography of the occupied territories

Not for the first time do I refer to hasbara (from the Hebrew “to explain”). WordPress’ auto-correct database is large but hasbara is not yet there).

The following is at the Palestine Poster Project. You’ll find some worthy media. A great project, timeless work:

Multiple cards permitted
Multiple cards permitted

Both the Arab and the Jew are semitic. Why limit antisemitism to anti-jew? What then is the word for anti-arab? How about “antisemitism.”

From the blog Displaced Palestinians

Hate speech
Hate speech

Where did the inhabitants of the world’s largest open-air prison come from?

Graphic below from: Gaza’s Untold Story

This infographic visually represents the untold story of Gaza’s refugees. Created by Visualizing Palestine in collaboration with four Palestinian human rights organizations, Al-Haq, the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, the Palestine Centre for Human Rights, and Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights, who launched a joint campaign to document Israel’s attacks during the 2014 offensive against the Gaza Strip. http://visualizingpalestine.org/visuals/gaza-refugee-deaths

Visualizing Palestine

It appears that the proclamation “A land without a people…” is misleading.

As ever, comments (opposing viewpoints as well) are welcome.

The Logical Fallacy of Comparing Gaza to Greece

 

Expressing opinion in public
Expressing opinion in public

I found an obscure op-ed dated 9 July 2015. The opinion by an editorial board: Gaza and Greece are comparable. Offhand I can think of two points for comparison: both border the Mediterranean, both begin with the letter “G.”  GAZA NEEDS WHAT GREECE IS GETTING. thePretty much published on the first anniversary of the 51 Day War, also known as Operation Protective Shield.

The fantasyland of eternal bailouts. The fantasyland of eternal hatred.

The ultimate lesson about Greece is not economic, it’s about Fantasyland. Greece has lived in Fantasyland — just like Gaza.

Greece’s fantasyland is the free lunch. Gaza’s fantasyland is the attitudinal free lunch: hatred without consequences.

The Greek fantasy is the supply of money as automatic as the laws of nature.

The Gaza fantasy is the end of Israel despite the laws of nature.

The Greek fantasy is pensions, wages, holidays, insurance, subsidies, welfare, all based on funds from outside Greece, without limit.

The Gaza fantasy is the destruction of Israel based on  random missile fire and terror tunnels.

The Greeks fight the laws of production. The Gazans fight the laws of decency and self-interest.

The Greeks are finding out the hard way that big bailouts are not forever.

The Gazans need to find out that hatred forever will not destroy Israel.

The Greeks are finding out that there is no way to economic strength other than work, discipline and the end of ridiculous policies, such as huge pensions tied to early retirement.

The Gazans need to find out that there is no path to social achievement other than tolerance, political pluralism and religious freedom.

The Greek bluff was called.

Excellent symbol.

Now the Gaza bluff needs to be called: no more “humanitarian assistance” when it is basic humanitarianism, i.e., the end of the hatred of Jews and Israelis, that Gazans need to cultivate.

Greece banked on the fear of others to let Greece fail. For this, Greece is failing.

Gaza banks on the blindness of others to the true cause of their suffering: themselves. For this, Gaza wins sympathy around the world, yet continues its suffering.

Greece is now getting a dose of reality. Gaza is long overdue for a dose of reality.

Greece turned its good people against the necessary pain and pleasure of hard work, economic reform and national self-reliance.

Gaza turns its people toward the unnecessary pain of dead Gaza children as the inevitable consequence of placing them in harm’s way.

Greece is learning: It is not someone else’s job to fix the mess it created.

Gaza needs the very lesson that Greece is learning: Its poverty is of its own making, not someone else’s responsibility to fix.

Greece is learning: Fantasyland cannot last forever. The day of reckoning inevitably arrives.

Ditto, Gaza.

Greece’s fantasyland is the free lunch

Gaza’s fantasyland is the attitudinal free lunch: hatred without consequences.

Greece is learning: It is not someone else’s job to fix the mess it created.

Gaza needs the very lesson that Greece is learning: Its poverty is of its own making, not someone else’s responsibility to fix.

No. It's not OK to place Greece and Gaza in the same headline
No. It’s not OK to place Greece and Gaza in the same headline

 

Palestinian Independence

I am a supporter of Palestinian independence and a foe of apartheid: the dramatic separation of “the other” by a privileged people. A de jure and de facto status quo is brutally enforced upon the other.  I have followed Palestine and Israel for a long time. I stand on the side of justice and human rights as defined by the United Nations.  Palestine is a people whose culture is constantly threatened. Israel enjoys independence, Palestine does not.

Contemporary movements arise in unexpected but nevertheless appropriate ways. So they blossom in the same era. Fine parallels.
Contemporary movements arise in unexpected ways. They blossom in this era as related hashtags: #OneStruggle

Olive trees are an immortal theme in the land of Palestine.

olivetree_grandma
A Palestinian grandmother or mom and her children protecting their olive trees from demolition

Metaphor: olive branch in Genesis 8:11

genesis_811
When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.

South Africa was another victim of British Empire. It was divided and conquered. Upon attaining independence from Britain, the State of South Africa adopted the divide and conquer technique. It was called Apartheid.

Apartheid (Afrikaans pronunciation: [ɐˈpartɦɛit]; an Afrikaans word meaning "the state of being apart", literally "apart-hood") was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation by the National Party (NP), the governing party from 1948 to 1994.
Apartheid (Afrikaans pronunciation: [ɐˈpartɦɛit]; an Afrikaans word meaning “the state of being apart”, literally “apart-hood”) was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation by the National Party (NP), the governing party from 1948 to 1994.
separation wall

This painting on the separation wall dividing Israeli and Palestinians employs the vehicle (metaphor) of art. Simple but powerful. It reminds me of all the graffiti that adorned the west side of the Berlin Wall (some might have called it the Berlin Fence between 1961 and 1989) until both the west and the east sides of that wall finally fell in 1989.

August 17, 2015

News item:

The Defense Ministry resumed construction on Monday of the separation barrier near Beit Jala, south of Jerusalem, even though the High Court of Justice had invalidated the building of the barrier in that region and ordered the state to reconsider it.

(August 17, 2015 Haaretz)


India gained its independence from the British Raj in 1947.

British Raj (rāj, lit. "rule" in Hindi) or British India, officially the British Indian Empire, and internationally and contemporaneously, India, is the term used synonymously for the region, the rule, and the period, from 1858 to 1947, of the British Empire on the Indian subcontinent.
British Raj (rāj, lit. “rule” in Hindi) or British India, officially the British Indian Empire, and internationally and contemporaneously, India, is the term used synonymously for the region, the rule, and the period, from 1858 to 1947, of the British Empire on the Indian subcontinent.

The British relinquished their imperial hold on Palestine the following year. In 1948 truth became a victim of war.

british_mandate

There is a worn  slogan: “a land without a people for a people without a land.” But Palestine was not an uninhabited region.It was the home of three (3) cultures in 1948: three adherents of a monotheistic faith, secular and others, such as Bedouin nomads.

When the British left the three cultures remained. 700,000 Palestinians began a diaspora (67 years so far) that relocated them to the West Bank of the Jordan River, a small segment along the Mediterranean known as Gaza and throughout the world.

Many Palestinians lived on the Mediterranean coast in 1947. Certainly this would be my choice too, the climate is that of Southern California. Californians prefer the coast, but they also live elsewhere in their state. They live in Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego, i.e. all over the state of California. Many Israelis enjoy the Mediterranean coast, but some prefer Jerusalem, a divided city similar to the previously divided Berlin: capital city of the German Democratic Republic and largest city of the German Federal Republic at the time of Nakba.

During the 1947 creation of the state of Israel, the homeland of the Palestinian people for more than a thousand years was taken from them by force. All subsequent crimes–on both sides–inevitably follow from this original injustice. Yet a peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has continued over the years despite the ongoing violence which has prevailed since the very beginning.
During the 1947 creation of the state of Israel, the homeland of the Palestinian people for more than a thousand years was taken from them by force. All subsequent crimes–on both sides–inevitably follow from this original injustice. Yet a peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has continued over the years despite the ongoing violence which has prevailed since the very beginning.

Sams Life in Jeddah A WordPress blog

Was the event of 1948النكبةم Nakba Catastrophe) or Israel Independence Day יום העצמאות‎ (Yom Ha’atzmaut)?

Catastrophe number two: the event of 1967: النكسة‎ يوم (The Naksa World Turned Upside Down).

Below, Moriarty as metaphor for the poorly understood victims of great crimes: the Palestinian people:

Picture to yourself the pilot fish with the shark, the jackal with the lion—anything that is insignificant in companionship with what is formidable: not only formidable, Watson, but sinister—in the highest degree sinister. That is where he comes within my purview. ‘You have heard me speak of Professor Moriarty?’

‘The famous scientific criminal, as famous among crooks -‘

‘My blushes, Watson!’ Holmes murmured in a deprecating voice.

‘I was about to say, “as he is unknown to the public”.’

‘A touch! A distinct touch!’ cried Holmes. ‘You are developing a certain unexpected vein of pawky humour, Watson, against which I must learn to guard myself. But in calling Moriarty a criminal you are uttering libel in the eyes of the law…

from A. Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story The Valley of Fear.

German Grammar in the Everyday Every Day

Fashioning a German Lesson Plan from Anything at Hand

Class topic of the day (des Tages): how picking up a plastic bag off the street and reading the language printed on that bag may help you learn language. The one I have here is your classic bad-news-for-the-environment plastic bag. I retrieved one for each of you, so it’s a handout. Later in the day you can three-hole punch this handout and put it in your binder under today’s date.

handout
Your handout for this class: Let’s say I had snagged this bag from under a parked car in the Kröger lot, before the plastic could pose a wildlife hazard. Now it’s in the lesson plan as an instructional resource. Note: 3 holes have not yet been punched. Please include margin notes using your felt-tip pen. Thank You. THANK YOU.

Today’s exercise allows you to use innate perceptual senses to discern meaning from everyday texts, and to discover potential contexts for your favorite words. Remember that new knowledge is fragile knowledge, so be gentle with yourself and feel free to make mistakes. In this class the student who makes the most mistakes gets the highest mark since she learns from her own mistakes. Also, if the present-moment reader finds an error in this post I get a point.

Use this bag later in your life for sandwiches, knickknacks, sturdy water bottles and items with words written upon them.

Anyway, pick up your red Sharpie and write ‘rot‘ on the handout. Think about how similar ‘t’ and ‘d’ sound: “Ta Da!” and recall the apocryphal tale of Saxons (Sachsen) moving to England to start a new language. On that hypothetical boat Saxons decided to change their ‘t’ to a ‘d’ and say ‘good‘ rather than ‘gut‘ and day instead of ‘Tag‘. And then call it English.

migration routes around 800 C.E.
migration routes around 800 C.E.

Draw a rainbow with your Sharpies and label each color separately in your language of choice or else in German. Gather the things you want to put in your handout. Label that bag with its contents, z.B.:

  • Apfel (grüner)
  • Brot (rotes)
  • Papier (weißes)
  • Banane (gelbe oder grüne oder schwarze oder schwarzgelbe oder oder oder)
  • Apfelsaft (süßer)

Now place each object (each noun) into the bag (in die Tüte) and take a walk (einen Spaziergang machen). Connect the Umlaut dots atop the ‘u’ to form an ‘o’, thus reminding you just how crafty those dang Saxons were (Tüte becomes tote). Those tapfere Sachsen even simplified the ‘chs’ in their former German language to an ‘x’ in the new language (nächste becomes next).  While on this relaxing stroll let your friends (strangers optional) know about the contents of your bag:

Hallo. Hier in meiner Tüte habe ich einen grünen Apfel. Gebrauchtes Papier ist immer das Beste. Glaubst du das.

Let’s say you forget to bring your own shopping bag to Kröger. At least save those plastic hazards in your vehicle or Rücksack and drop them into the fiber recycling drum in their foyer (the place where you grab a shopping cart).

Thinking about Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Gießen and Savak

The culture where I live does not seem particularly interested in learning foreign languages. But the written, the spoken, and the audible become a part of the soul and a blessing to humanity when civilized thought can gain a foothold.
Nelson-Mandela-on-Language

My interest in German language led to an opportunity for study in Giessen, at that time West Germany, from 1971 to 1973. Upon arriving at Justus Liebig Universität I learned German as a second language with fellow students from Iran, Japan, Egypt among others. German was the tongue we shared, so that we could talk to the brain. Then we could join the citIzenry and talk to the heart.

Abteilung der Uni
Just be natural! It’s important when learning languages

Some people take on an alternate identity to ward off conversation. It was common for Americans traveling in Europe in the early 1970’s to attach a Canadian maple leaf to their person. This to avoid conversations about Vietnam. It was convenient to merge into the background. But such maneuvers may lead to a false sense of comfort: ease and convenience have long-term consequences. It is just as convenient to avoid discussions on long festering Middle East issues today. Are the sound bites you hear from a source without an agenda? Unfortunately, the truth can be hidden, often deliberately by perpetuating lies that simply make life more convenient or comfortable for the liar.

Under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (Shah from 1941 to 1979) many Iranians studied at German universities such as Justus Liebig. Our Iranian fellows shared an ability to converse in German about Savak and the Persian experience. Neither Farsi nor English was necessary to bridge a gulf separating us from each other. Who knew that Pahlavi was complicit in dark matters. The Iranian people knew.

Farsi Keyboard
Farsi script is so similar to Arabic!

Guy Wallace explains Savak.

Imagine a monarchy that is 2500 years old, that began with Cyrus the Great and ended with Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s deposition. Might a civilization both ancient and modern have evolved a complex history and culture In 2.5 millenia? Might Farsi hint at subtleties in the Persian soul? What about the country name itself: Persia, Iran? Does its religion suggest potential geopolitical significance? Can we question the translation of the colloquial Farsi into English of the conveniently repeated  Death to America (More accurately translated as Down with America).

Farsi speakers use this invocation to express transitory frustration, perhaps at stubbing a toe. In a future post I want to discuss the nature of curse words in Farsi, Arabic and Hebrew. Stay tuned.

Vegan Nuttables: Look for the Raccoon

Full disclosure assurance applies, just as it has with my Nittha Siam Kitchen review: this is an unpaid five-star rating. I like their stuff and I support them.

I found Once Again at Barney Kroger’s Grocery the other day and enjoyed the heck out of it. Recommended for a number of reasons: employee-owned, genuinely organic, label does not say

Naturally it’s flavored! Naturally it’s colored!

Their products are value-priced and feature raccoons. Bonus points: Once Again actually rescued raccoons on the premises. You can read about that on their website. Take a break now and shop for good edibles.

 

Use the Hot-Pockets-litmus-test: compare and contrast chemicals consumed. Billziegler1947 has already done the research for you. Analyses in the billziegler1947 laboratories have found that Hot Pockets do not strictly follow USDA Certified Organic guidelines.

For homework read the following before going food shopping.

 

Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.

A fun place to visit vegan videos: FullCircleVegans and here’s a bonus: it’s also a WordPress blog. They’re also on Instagram and everything else.

 

Joseph Goebbels: Nazi Rules for Jazz Performers

Joseph Goebbels, Minister for Propaganda in Hitler’s Third Reich (appointed 1933) had a way with guidelines. A well written article on Goebbels’ thoughts on jazz links below.

Editor’s note for the easily cognitively dissonanced: inclusion of this list in this blog does not represent approval of Minister Goebbels.

Josef Skvorecky on the Nazis’ Control-Freak Hatred of Jazz from The Atlantic January 3, 2012 by JJ Gould.

joseph_goebbels_quote

But if you want to get straight to the rules, Josef Skvorecky enumerates in the link above:

1. Pieces in foxtrot rhythm (so-called swing) are not to exceed 20% of the repertoire of light orchestras and dance bands.

2. In this so-called jazz type repertoire, preference is to be given to compositions in a major key and to lyrics expressing joy in life rather than Jewishly gloomy lyrics;

3. As to tempo, preference is also to be given to brisk compositions over slow ones (so-called blues); however, the pace must not exceed a certain degree of allegro, commensurate with the Aryan sense of discipline and moderation. On no account will Negroid excesses in tempo (so-called hot jazz) or in solo performances (so-called breaks) be tolerated;

4. So-called jazz compositions may contain at most 10% syncopation; the remainder must consist of a natural legato movement devoid of the hysterical rhythmic reverses characteristic of the barbarian races and conductive to dark instincts alien to the German people (so-called riffs);

5. Strictly prohibited is the use of instruments alien to the German spirit (so-called cowbells, flexatone, brushes, etc.) as well as all mutes which turn the noble sound of wind and brass instruments into a Jewish-Freemasonic yowl (so-called wa-wa, hat, etc.);

6. Also prohibited are so-called drum breaks longer than half a bar in four-quarter beat (except in stylized military marches);

7. The double bass must be played solely with the bow in so-called jazz compositions;

8. Plucking of the strings is prohibited, since it is damaging to the instrument and detrimental to Aryan musicality; if a so-called pizzicato effect is absolutely desirable for the character of the composition, strict care must be taken lest the string be allowed to patter on the sordine, which is henceforth forbidden;

9. Musicians are likewise forbidden to make vocal improvisations (so-called scat);

10. All light orchestras and dance bands are advised to restrict the use of saxophones of all keys and to substitute for them the violin-cello, the viola or possibly a suitable folk instrument.

joseph goebbels

Epictetus 55 – 135 C.E.

I mentioned touchstones in a previous post, I now touch another one: Epictetus, usually noted as a stoic philosopher. But that is a bit procrustean; there is much room for subtlety here. I am directing your attention to Epictetus’ timeless contribution to a more civil society. Those familiar with the serenity prayer will find a beacon. Blaze an internet trail for more.

 

 


 

 

 
Do not seek to bring things to pass in accordance with your wishes, but wish for them as they are, and you will find them.


He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.


If thy brother wrongs thee, remember not so much his wrong-doing, but more than ever that he is thy brother.


The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.


There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.


To accuse others for one’s own misfortunes is a sign of want of education. To accuse oneself shows that one’s education has begun. To accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one’s education is complete.


We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.

 

Jimmy Carter: the man with 20-20 foresight

Earlier this week I mentioned hearing Diane Rehm interview Jimmy Carter on her program. A Mensch with a capital M, and not just because it’s a noun. I also listened to an interview on Bob Edwards Radio (need to write about Bob too, another Mensch). This was about Carter’s so-called “Malais” speech: you can internet that phrase too. That speech did not contain that particular word, but team it with Reagan and recall “Morning in America” and you’ll get there from here.

Well, Jimmy was right on target and he has lived long enough to see us realize it. Selling off your valuable possessions such as your industrial base to those overseas places makes you look like a lottery winner in the short run. It takes you closer to Shirley Jackson’s Lottery in the long run. Also no wars during the Carter Administration. No solar panels on the White House roof after 1980. Jimmy Carter’s foresight was 20-20. And he has the courage to use words like apartheid in proper context: truth to power. Mourning in America.

 

 

Nice People Explained: Bertrand Russel

I first read Bertrand Russell’s essay collection Why I am not a Christian In the early 70’s. One essay that affected me in particular, and that still intrigues me is Russell’s “Nice People.”

Skeptics Guide to the Universe Forum excerpt:

— Quote from: “Mike Foster” —I’ve been reading Why I Am Not A Christian, And Other Essays by Bertrand Russell. In it, he launches a fairly sarcastic – even scathing – attack on ‘nice people’ in a c1931 essay called . . .’Nice People’! He talks about people who think they are nice as often indirectly selfish, unappreciative, aloof, deceptive and inclined to exercise power indirectly through gossip etc.

It’s been a few years since this essay was published, but I am quite humbled at its timeliness. A great touchstone indeed.

Bertrand Russell

“Nice People” rather reminds me of Jonathan Swift’s bombastic apologist in Gulliver’s Travels. Swift’s finely pompous character is merrily describing the land of his birth. His pride at its prowess is figuratively exceptional: sufficient to pop his vest buttons, had he been wearing a vest. Let’s imagine they are gold buttons to polish the metaphor. So he extols the virtue of his beloved British Empire at considerable length. Russell waits, as did Swift, until the very end of his writing before telling us the salient distinguishing feature of these very nicely described Nice People. Unfortunately they have nasty minds.

Nice people may also be found among those affecting membership in “The Silent Majority.”