• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 10 juni 2017

Bas Heijne's Propaganda 18

‘De slachtofferkaart is steeds minder een goede troef,’ aldus NRC’s opiniemaker Bas Heijne die in 2016 het ‘pamflet’ Onbehagen schreef, handelend over ‘het terrorisme,’ waarin hij zichzelf en het westerse establishment beschreef als slachtoffers van Arabische ‘terroristen,’die de westerse ‘Verlichtingsidealen’ om zeep hebben geholpen, zonder ook maar één verwijzing te geven naar de eeuwenlange, veel grootschaligere westerse terreur. 

[T]he Cold War, it is now clear, was also a time of intellectual myopia (kortzichtigheid. svh), when, as the conservative American thinker Allan Bloom pointed out, ‘the threat from outside disciplined us inside — while protecting us from too much depressing reflection on ourselves.’
Pankaj Mishra. Age of Anger. A History Of The Present. 2017 

De Koude Oorlog is de schrale intellectuele voedingsbodem geweest van mainstream-opiniemakers als Bas Heijne en Geert Mak. En toen de Koude Oorlog rond 1990 abrupt eindigde, bleven zij in intellectueel opzicht met lege handen achter, terwijl rondom hen alles  razendsnel veranderde. De joods-Hongaarse Nobelprijswinnaar Literatuur Imre Kertész verwoordde deze leegte na de val van de Sovjet Unie in 2004 als volgt: 

De vraag is terecht: waarom nemen in onze tijd zelfs vreugdevolle gebeurtenissen een onheilspellende kleur aan, waarom mobiliseren ze meteen de duisterste krachten, en waarom doemen ze in het beste geval als lastige en onoplosbare problemen aan de horizon? [...]

Nu de vruchten van veertig jaar strijd zijn gerijpt en ook het tweede totalitaire rijk is gevallen (de Sovjet Unie svh), domineert een algemeen gevoel van ineenstorting, wrevel en machteloosheid. Alsof een katterige sfeer door Europa waart, alsof het op een grijze ochtend bij het wakker worden gemerkt heeft dat het in plaats van twee mogelijke werelden nog maar één werkelijke wereld over heeft, de triomferende wereld van het economisme, het kapitalisme, het ideaalloze pragmatisme, zonder transcendentie en zonder alternatief, waaruit geen doorgang mogelijk is naar de vervloekte of het beloofde land -- naar keuze... dat geluidloze ineenzakken (dat ook de fluwelen revolutie wordt genoemd) lijkt iets in de mensen kapotgemaakt te hebben, onduidelijk wat: de ethiek van het verzet, die een bepaalde stevigheid gaf in een bestaansvorm, of een soort van hoop, die misschien nooit echte hoop is geweest, maar ongetwijfeld eveneens houvast bood -- in ieder geval heeft het een einde gemaakt aan de relativiteit van de vergelijking. En hier staan we nu als overwinnaars, leeg, moe en ontgoocheld.

Temidden van die ontgoocheling probeert de gevestigde orde zichzelf nog enige allure te verschaffen door haar woordvoerders in de mainstream-media zoveel mogelijk te loven en te prijzen wanneer ze binnen de officiële context blijven:

Den Haag – Bas Heijne heeft donderdag 18 mei de P.C. Hooft-prijs 2017 in ontvangst genomen. De oeuvreprijs, die dit jaar bestemd is voor beschouwend proza, werd hem traditiegetrouw uitgereikt tijdens een feestelijke bijeenkomst in het Literatuurmuseum. Aan de belangrijkste Nederlandse literaire prijs is een bedrag verbonden van 60.000 euro.

‘Een oproep om in onbevangenheid en met scherpzinnigheid, en zonder pasklare antwoorden, te observeren, te lezen, te ervaren, en achter de façade te kijken, op zoek naar de dingen die je in eerste instantie niet ziet en die toch zinvol blijken te zijn, in een vaak onbegrijpelijke wereld — dát is wat hij ons, en mij, leert,’ zei Cornald Maas in zijn laudatio over Heijne. ‘En die wereld wordt er misschien niet altijd begrijpelijker door maar – dankzij Bas’ blik en aansporing – wel mooier, en troostrijker, en draaglijker.’

De jury van de P.C. Hooft-prijs roemt Heijnes soepele stijl, zijn kritische, literaire blik en zijn nieuwsgierigheid die leidde tot grote vertrouwdheid met de populaire cultuur, met de wereld van televisie, cinema, populaire en klassieke muziek en nieuwsmedia.

‘Hij nodigt je uit mee te denken, in soepel en hedendaags Nederlands, en achter de gemeenplaatsen, de botsende meningen en mythes, de rapporten en de media te kijken waar het nu in termen van de geleefde werkelijkheid om gaat,’ zegt de jury, bestaande uit Jacqueline Bel, Kees ’t Hart, Kristien Hemmerechts, David Van Reybrouck (voorzitter) en Dirk van Weelden. ‘Zijn proza is een genot om te lezen, ook als hij tegenspraak oproept.’


Bekende Nederlander Cornald Maas die een 'lofrede' uitsprak op Bas Heijne. De amusementssector.

Hoeveel ‘genot’ het establishment aan het lezen van Heijne’s columns ontleent, kan worden afgeleid uit het feit dat de Stichting P.C. Hooft-prijs voor Letterkunde niemand minder dan Cornald Maas had gevraagd om de ‘laudatio’ uit te spreken. Maas behoort tot de garde van bekende Nederlanders, schrijft ondermeer voor het glossy vrouwenblad LINDA, verwierf in 2010 landelijke bekendheid als ‘commentator voor het Eurovisiesongfestival,' en was een jaar later presentator van ‘het Gouden Televizier-Ring Gala.’ In december 2016 en januari 2017 presenteerde hij ‘een vijfdelige documentairereeks over Toon Hermans.’ Dit alles maakte hem in Nederland de autoriteit bij uitstek om een 'laudatio' uit te spreken op het werk van Bas Heijne, die door de ‘politiek-literaire elite’ in de polder tot ‘de beste in zijn vak’ wordt gerekend. Typerend voor het gezapige intellectuele niveau in Nederland en Vlaanderen is tevens de jury-uitspraak dat Heijne’s ‘proza een genot [is] om te lezen’ — en nu komt het — ‘ook als hij tegenspraak oproept.’ De Koude Oorlog heeft ‘ons’ inderdaad beschermd ‘from too much depressing reflection on ourselves,’ en nu moet de Nederlandstalige bevolking met deze kongsi van kreupele intellectuelen de uiterst bedreigende toekomst in. De bejubelde Heijne wist op 13 januari 2017 in zijn NRC Handelsblad met grote stelligheid te beweren dat:

[v]oor veel mensen in de VS en Europa, en ook in Nederland, Poetin de gedroomde sterke man [is], het tegenwicht tegen het op de idealen van de Verlichting gebaseerde wereldbeeld van Obama. Hier de mensheid, daar de natie. Hier de gemeenschap op basis van gelijkheid, daar de superioriteit van de eigen cultuur. Poetins ideologische aantrekkingskracht is de enige reden dat een leider van een economisch derderangs wereldmacht erin slaagt het in alle opzichten superieure Amerika zo te ontregelen.

Zijn column had als kop ‘Echt nepnieuws,’ en inderdaad, zijn werk is een schoolvoorbeeld hiervan, want dat de politiek en het ‘wereldbeeld’ van Obama ‘op de idealen van de Verlichting gebaseerd’ zouden zijn gebaseerd, is een zo absurde kwalificatie dat dit verder geen betoog meer behoeft. Hetzelfde geldt voor het ‘nepnieuws' dat ‘hier’ in het Westen ‘de mensheid’ centraal staat, en dat ‘hier’ ook nog eens sprake is van een  ‘gemeenschap op basis van gelijkheid,’ en dat kortom, de VS een ‘in alle opzichten superieure’ cultuur bezit. Deze bewering is dermate propagandistisch dat zij onmiddellijk op de lachspieren werkt. Toch even de feiten, zoals senator Bernie Sanders die dinsdag 30 mei 2017 gaf. Tegenover ‘graduating students’ benadrukte hij ‘that entering an "oligarchic" society — like one the United States is fast becoming — will demand vigilance and perseverance on their parts.’ Hij vertelde:

Today, the top one-tenth of 1% now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%. Twenty Americans now own as much wealth as the bottom half of America and one family now owns more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of our people. In the last 17 years, while the middle class continues to decline, we have seen a tenfold increase in the number of billionaires. Today in America CEOs are earning almost 350 times more than the average worker makes. In terms of income, while you and your parents are working in some cases two or three jobs, 52 % of all new income goes to the top 1%.

At the same time as we have more income and wealth inequality than any other major nation, 43 million Americans live in poverty, we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country in earth, half of older workers have nothing in the bank as they approach retirement and in some inner cities and rural communities, youth unemployment is 20, 30, 40%. Unbelievably, in our country today as a result of hopelessness and despair we are seeing a decline in life expectancy. People are giving up. And they’re turning to drugs, to alcohol, and even to suicide. And because of poverty, racism today in a broken criminal justice system we have more people in jail than any other country on Earth. Those people are disproportionately black, Latino and Native American.

Directly related to the oligarchic economy that we currently have is corrupt political system which is undermining American democracy and it’s important we talk about that and understand that. As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, corporations and billionaires are able to spend unlimited sums of money on elections. The result is that today a handful of billionaires are spending hundreds of millions of dollars every single year, often on ugly 30-second TV adds, helping to elect candidates who represent the rich and the powerful get elected.

And we are seeing the results of how oligarchy functions right now in Congress where the Republican leadership wants to throw 23 million American off of health insurance, cut Medicaid by over $800 billion, defund Planned Parenthood, cut food stamps and other nutrition programs by over $200 billion, cut Head Start and after school programs, and by the way, make drastic cuts in Pell grants and other programs that help working class kids be able to go to college.

And, unbelievably, at exactly the same time that they are throwing people off health care, making it harder to people to go to college, they have the chutzpah to provide the $300 billion in tax breaks to the top 1%. In other words, the very, very rich are getting richer and they get huge tax cuts. The working class and the middle class are struggling and they are seeing drastic cuts in life or death programs that could mean survival or not for those families.

Ziehier, de werkelijkheid van Bas Heijne’s ‘gemeenschap op basis van gelijkheid,’ in het ‘in alle opzichten superieure Amerika,’ waarvan Geert Mak het ‘vitale karakter van de Amerikaanse democratie’ zonder enige terughoudendheid roemt. Ik kan de lezer nu wel waarschuwen: hoed u voor namaak-intellectuelen! maar ja, hoe kunnen 'wij' ons nog tegen deze kitsch wapenen in een tijd dat alles virtueel is geworden? De enige vrijheid die we hebben is terug praten. Daarom, beste lezer, de ‘orde’ van de Heijne’s en Makken is de neoliberale wanorde. Dat weten beide veel geprezen opiniemakers zelf ook wel, maar zij kunnen er niet naar handelen, omdat ze anders hun platform verliezen, terwijl ‘wij,’ zo schrijft de Brits-Indiase filosoof Pankaj Mishra in zijn boek Age of Anger

live today in a vast, homogeneous world market, in which human beings are programmed to maximize their self-interest and aspire to the same things, regardless of their difference of cultural background and individual temperament.

Door de globalisering van het westerse consumptiemodel zijn miljarden mensen psychisch ontheemd en gemobiliseerd geraakt. De joods-Duitse filosofe Hannah Arendt wees al in 1968 erop dat ‘for the first time in history, all peoples on earth have a common present,’ waardoor ‘every country has become the almost immediate neighbor of every other country, and every man feels the shock of events which take player at the other end of the globe.’ Daardoor is wereldwijd alles en iedereen op bijna elk gebied gelijk geschakeld, behalve -- opmerkelijk genoeg -- in economisch opzicht. Het onverzadigbare kapitalisme is uitgelopen op een neoliberale kleptocratie, die demonstreert dat de zogeheten universeel geldende ‘Verlichtingsidealen’ een leugen zijn en waren. Al in de negentiende eeuw waarschuwde Friedrich Nietzsche voor de opkomst van de ‘ressentimentsmensen’ die ‘één groot trillend rijk van ondergrondse wraakzucht’ vormen ‘onuitputtelijk, onverzadigbaar in hun uitbarstingen,’ en ‘maskéringen van hun wraak, hun dekmantels voor wraak…’ En dit ressentiment wordt nu opnieuw gevoed door democratische politici en de commerciële massamedia. Mishra wijst in dit verband op: 

a pervasive panic, which doesn’t resemble the centralized fear emanating from despotic power. Rather, it is the sentiment, generated by the news media and amplified by social media, that anything can happen anywhere to anybody at any time. The sense of a world spinning out of control is aggravated by the reality of climate change, which makes the planet itself seem under siege from ourselves. 


Age of Anger geeft

a very different view of a universal crisis, shifting the preposterously heavy burden of explanation from Islam and religious extremism. It argues that the unprecedented political, economic and social disorder that accompanied the rise of the industrial capitalist economy in nineteenth-century Europe, and led to world wars, totalitarian regimes and genocide in the first half of the twentieth century, is now infecting much vaster regions and bigger populations: that, first exposed to modernity through European imperialism, large parts of Asia and Africa are now plunging deeper into the West's own fateful experience of that modernity. 

The scope of this universal crisis is much broader than the issue of terrorism or violence. Those routinely evoking a worldwide clash of civilizations in which Islam is pitted against the West, and religion against reason, are not able to explain many political, social and environmental ills. And even the exponents of the 'clash' thesis may find it more illuminating to recognize, underneath the layer of quasi-religious rhetoric, the deep intellectual and psychological affinities that the gaudily (opzichtig geklede. svh) Islamic aficionados of ISIS's Caliphate share with D’Annunzio and many other equally flamboyant secular radicals in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: the aesthetes who glorified war, misogyny and pyromania; the nationalists who accused Jews and liberals of rootless cosmopolitanism and celebrated irrational violence; and the nihilists, anarchists am terrorists who flourished in almost every continent against a background of cosy political-financial alliances, devastating economic crises and obscene inequalities. 

We must return to the convulsions of that period in order to understand our own age of anger. For the Frenchmen who bombed music halls, cafés and the Paris stock exchange in the late nineteenth century, and the French anarchist newspaper that issued the call to 'destroy' the 'den' (a music hall in Lyon) where 'the fine flower of the bourgeoisie and of commerce’ gather after midnight, have more in common than we realize with the ISIS-inspired young EU citizens who massacred nearly two hundred people at a rock concert, bars and restaurants in Paris in November 2015. 

Much in our experience resonates with that of people in the nineteenth century. German and then Italian nationalists called for a 'holy war' more than a century before the word 'jihad' entered common parlance, and young Europeans all through the nineteenth century joined political crusades in remote places, resolved on liberty or death. Revolutionary messianism — the urge for a global, definitive solution, the idea of the party as a sect of true believers, and of there revolutionary leader as semi-divine hero — prospered among Russian students recoiling (terugdeinzen. svh) from the cruelty and hypocrisy of their Romanov rulers. Then as now, the sense of being humiliated by arrogant and deceptive elites was widespread, cutting across national, religious and racial lines. 

Tegen een dergelijke scherpzinnige analyse is het werk van Bas Heijne en Geert Mak niet opgewassen. Als kleine padden in het stilstaand water van een moerasdelta blijven ze door modderen, niet bij machte de brede historische context te beschrijven, zoals Pankaj Mishra dit doet wanneer hij stelt:

Thus, individuals with very different pasts find themselves herded by capitalism and technology into a common present, where grossly unequal distributions of wealth and power have created humiliating new hierarchies. This proximity, or what Hannah Arendt called ‘negative solidarity,’ is rendered more claustrophobic by digital communications, the improved capacity for envious and resentful comparison, and the commonplace, and therefore compromised, quest for individual distinction and singularity,

terwijl ondertussen voor miljarden armen, getroffen door de dagelijkse oorlog van allen tegen allen, geldt dat

[t]heir evidently natural rights to life, liberty and security, already challenged by deep-rooted inequality, are threatened by political dysfunction and economic stagnation, and, in places affected by climate change, a scarcity and suffering characteristic of pre-modern economic life. The result is, as Arendt feared, a 'tremendous increase in mutual hatred and a somewhat universal irritability of everybody against everybody else,’ or ressentiment. An existential resentment of other people's being, caused by an intense mix of envy and sense of humiliation and powerlessness, ressentiment, as it lingers and deepens, poisons civil society and undermines political liberty, and is presently making for a global turn to authoritarianism and toxic forms of chauvinism. 

En dit alles slechts een kwart eeuw nadat de westerse mainstream-intellectuelen oprecht meenden dat zij met de overwinning van het neoliberalisme ‘het einde van de geschiedenis’ meemaakten, en onder de hegemonie van ‘Amerika’ de hele wereldbevolking als bij toverslag in blije consumenten zou veranderen. Pankaj Mishra:

It was simply assumed by the powerful and the influential among us that with socialism dead and buried, buoyant (dynamische. svh) entrepreneurs in free markets would guarantee swift economic growth and worldwide prosperity, and that Asian, Latin American and African societies would become, like Europe and America, more secular and rational as economic growth accelerated. 

Die veronderstelling was vanaf het begin absurd, omdat de aarde onvoldoende grondstoffen bezit die groei mogelijk te maken, en de ecologie nog sneller zou bezwijken onder de onverzadigbaarheid van de moderne mens, die meent overal recht op te hebben. Typerend in dit verband was de reactie van  de Nobelprijswinnaar voor Literatuur in 2001, V.S. Naipaul, toen hij in 1990 in New York de ‘pursuit of happiness’ prees door te verklaren: 

I find it marvelous to contemplate, after two centuries and after the terrible history of the first part of the century, that the idea — a mere phrase in the preamble to the American constitution — has come to a universal fruition. 

De uit Trinidad afkomstige Naipaul die door de Britse vorstin was geridderd, meende werkelijk dat de jacht op geluk ‘cannot generate fanaticism,’ en dat ‘other more rigid systems, even when religious, in the end blow away,’ daarmee alleen aantonend dat dit kind van Indiërs, die de armoede in hun land waren ontvlucht, weinig tot niets van de geschiedenis had geleerd, en zodoende door het establishment overladen kon worden met allerlei prestigieuze prijzen. Probleem met de sycofanten van de macht is evenwel dat, in de woorden van Mishra, ‘the schemes of worldwide convergence on the Western model always denied the meaning of the West’s own extraordinarily brutal initiation into politica and economic modernity,’ een feit dat ik een kwart eeuw geleden tijdens een VPROradio-interview vergeefs probeerde duidelijk te maken aan de in Suriname geboren talentvolle Indiër Anil Ramdas. Ook hij zag destijds de zwarte kant van het Westen niet. Pas veel later kreeg hij door dat de zogeheten ‘Verlichtingsidealen’ absoluut niet universeel waren. Eenmaal tot bezinning gekomen, betitelde hij PVV-stemmers als ‘white trash,’ en de naargeestige kinderen van Adolf Eichmann.' Vervolgens schreef hij woedend in de Volkskrant dat er

inderdaad enkele hoogopgeleiden [zijn] die volgens Zwagerman (auteur Joost Zwagerman. svh) de sweeping statements van Wilders voor lief nemen. Zwagerman zou hier schande van moeten spreken, hij zou ze moeten herinneren aan wat de filosofe Hannah Arendt ooit de Banaliteit van het Kwaad noemde: geen aandacht hebben voor de morele consequenties van je daden. Het is vergelijkbaar met het weigeren van hulp aan een drenkeling, wat bij wet strafbaar is. Wie hoog is opgeleid, heeft de morele plicht mensen met een gebrek aan moraal te helpen.

Maar toen was het voor hem al te laat, diep ontgoocheld pleegde hij in 2012 zelfmoord. Tekenend was dat drie jaar later ook zijn tegenstander Joost Zwagerman -- die  volgens HP/De Tijd Anil Ramdas intellectueel had ‘verpulverd’ -- eveneens zelfmoord pleegde. In hoeverre de schaduwzijde van de westerse cultuur hierbij een rol heeft gespeeld, zullen we waarschijnlijk nooit precies weten, maar dat die een rol speelde is onmiskenbaar. Zo schrijft Pankaj Mishra in zijn Age of Anger:

Large-scale violence, uprooting and destruction had accompanied the first phase of an unprecedented human experiment in Europe and America. As Marx and Engels wrote in The Communist Manifesto (1848), more in excitement than sorrow, the modern epoch, revolutionized by an unfettered world market, is one in which 'all fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away... All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned.’ The nineteenth century's most sensitive minds, from Kierkegaard to Ruskin, recoiled from such modernization, though they did not always acknowledge its darker side: rapacious colonialism and savage wars in Asia and Africa, the institutionalization of prejudices like anti-Semitism, and the widespread terror, aggravated by pseudoscience, of what Theodore Roosevelt called 'race suicide.’ 


Blowing from a gun was a method of execution in which the victim is typically tied to the mouth of a cannon and the cannon is fired. George Carter Stent describes the process as follows:

'The prisoner is generally tied to a gun with the upper part of the small of his back resting against the muzzle. When the gun is fired, his head is seen to go straight up into the air some forty or fifty feet; the arms fly off right and left, high up in the air, and fall at, perhaps, a hundred yards distance; the legs drop to the ground beneath the muzzle of the gun; and the body is literally blown away altogether, not a vestige being seen.' [...]

Arguably, the nation most well known to have implemented this type of execution was the British Empire, in its role as paramount power in India, and in particular as a punishment for native soldiers found guilty of mutiny or desertion. Using the methods previously practised by the Mughals, the British began implementing blowing from guns in the latter half of the 18th century, with the most intense period of use being during the 1857 sepoy mutiny, when both the British and the rebelling sepoys used it frequently. 

The destroying of the body and scattering the remains over a wide area had a particular religious function as a means of execution in the Indian subcontinent as it effectively prevented the necessary funeral rites of Muslims and Hindus. Thus for believers the punishment was extended beyond death. This was well understood by colonial powers and the practice was not generally employed by them in Africa, Australasia or the Americas.


In the late nineteenth century, European and Japanese ruling classes began to respond to the damage and disruptions of the world market by exhorting unity in the face of internal and external threats, creating new fables of ethnic and religious solidarity, and deploying militaristic nationalism in what they claimed was a struggle tor existence. In the first half of the twentieth century it wasn’t just Nazi’s and Fascists who embraced, while frenziedly modernizing, the theories of Social Darwinism. Support for them extended across Europe and America, and among the educated and aspiring classes of Turkey, India and China. 

By the 1940s, competitive nationalisms in Europe stood implicated in the most barbaric wars and crimes against religious and ethnic minorities witnessed in human history, it was only after the Second World War that European countries were forced, largely by American economic and military power, to imagine less antagonistic political and economic relations, which eventually resulted in decolonization and the European Union.

Yet only on the rarest of occasions in recent decades has it been acknowledged that the history of modernization is largely one of carnage and bedlam rather than peaceful convergence, and that the politics of violence, hysteria and despair was by no means unique to Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy or Communist Russia. Europe’s exceptional post-1945 experience of sustained economic growth with social democracy helped obscure deeper disruptions and longer traumas. The sanitized histories celebrating how the Enlightenment or Great Britain or the West made the modern world put the two world wars in a separate, quarantined box, and isolated Stalinism, Fascism and Nazism within the mainstream of European history as monstrous aberrations.

‘Totalitarianism' with its tens of millions of victims was identified as a malevolent reaction to a benevolent Enlightenment tradition of rationalism, humanism, universalism and liberal democracy — a tradition seen as an unproblematic norm. It was clearly too disconcerting to acknowledge that totalitarian politics crystallized the ideological currents (scientific racism, jingoistic nationalism, imperialism, technicism, aestheticized politics, utopianism, social engineering and the violent struggle for existence) flowing through all of Europe in the late nineteenth century. 

This bizarre indifference to a multifaceted past, the Cold War fixation with totalitarianism, and more West-versus-the-Rest thinking since 9/11 explains why our age of anger has provoked some absurdly extreme fear and bewilderment, summed up by the anonymous contributor to The New York Review of Books, who is convinced that the West cannot 'ever develop sufficient knowledge, rigor, imagination, and humility to grasp the phenomenon of ISIS.' 

The malfunctioning of democratic institutions, economic crises, and the goading (opstoken. svh) of aggrieved and fearful citizens into racist politics in Western Europe and America have now revealed how precarious and rare their post-1945 equilibrium was. It has also become clearer how the schemes of human expansion and fulfillment offered by the left, right, or ‘centrist' liberals and technocrats rarely considered such constraining factors as finite geographical space, degradable natural resources and fragile ecosystems. Until recently, policymakers did not take seriously, or even consider, such constraints, let alone foresee such an outcome of industrial growth and intensified consumerism as global warming. 

Not surprisingly, the modern religions of secular salvation have undermined their own main assumption: that the future would be materially superior to the present. Nothing less than this sense of expectation, central to modern political and economic thinking, has gone missing today, especially among those who have themselves never had it so good. History suddenly seems dizzyingly open-ended, just as Henry James (Amerikaanse auteur. 1843-1916. svh) experienced it when war broke out in 1914 and he confronted the possibility that the much-vaunted progress of the nineteenth century was a malign illusion — 'the tide that bore us along was all the while moving to this as its grand Niagara,’  

zoals anno 2017, ‘de stroom’ waarop de postmoderne mens meedrijft, hem naar een nieuwe wereldoorlog voert, want van de geschiedenis hebben de de naoorlogse generaties niets concreets geleerd. Met de mond wordt van alles beleden, van mensenrechten en democratie tot normen en waarden, maar in de praktijk blijft daar niets van over. Henry James, die als Amerikaanse romanschrijver naar Europa was uitgeweken en later zelfs de Brits nationaliteit aanvroeg en kreeg, schreef in de begindagen van de Eerste Wereldoorlog verbijsterd over ‘the plunge of civilization into this abyss of blood and darkness,’ en dat hij zich unbearably overdarkened’ voelde ‘by this crash of our civilization.’  In een brief aan de schrijfster Rhoda Broughton verwoordde hij het gevoel onder cultureel geschoolden:

Black and hideous to me is the tragedy that gathers, and I’m sick beyond cure to have lived on to see it. You and I, the ornaments of our generation, should have been spared this wreck of our belief that through the long years we had seen civilization grow and the worst become impossible. The tide that bore us along was then all the while moving to this grand Niagara— yet what a blessing we didn’t know it. It seems to me to undo everything, everything that was ours, in the most horrible retroactive way,

zoals het nu een wrange ‘blessing’ is voor de Heijne’s en Makken van de mainstream-media om niet bewust te zijn van het feit dat zij de geest van hun publiek rijp maken voor ‘the tragedy that gathers,’ wanneer ze weer eens Rusland demoniseren, en het ‘in alle opzichten superieure Amerika’ steunen, de nucleaire grootmacht waarvan, aldus Geert Mak, de 'soft power' nog ‘altijd sterk aanwezig' is, waarbij hij het begrip als volgt toelicht:

Soft power is, in de kern, de overtuigingskracht van een staat, de kracht om het debat naar zich toe te trekken, om de agenda van de wereldpolitiek te bepalen,

zonder erbij te vermelden dat de 'soft power' van de VS vanaf het allereerste begin begeleid werd door de ‘big stick ideology’ die door president Theodore Roosevelt in het begin van de twintigste eeuw als volgt werd geformuleerd:‘speak softly and carry a big stick.’ Niet voor niets is de VS 's wereld's zwaarst bewapende land, waarvan de militaire uitgaven op het moment dat Mak zijn uitspraak deed,

Dwarfs Rest Of The World. The United States spends 58 percent of the total defense dollars paid out by the world's top 10 military powers, which combined for $1.19 trillion in military funding in 2011. With its unparalleled global reach, the US outspends China, the next-biggest military power, by nearly 6-to-1.

Feiten en de beschaving doen er niet toe in het ideologische mens- en wereldbeeld van de ‘vrije pers.’  Terecht wijst Pankaj Mishra op ‘[t]his bizarre indifference to a multifaceted past,’ om hieraan toe te voegen dat:

[t]he abandoning of ideological conviction — the modern surrogate for religious belief — or us-versus-them thinking won't be easy. The experts on Islam who opened for business on 9/11 peddle their wares more feverishly after every terrorist attack, helped by clash-of-civilization theorists and other intellectual robots of the Cold War who were programmed to think in binary oppositions (free versus unfree world, the West versus Islam) and to limit their lexicon to words such as ‘ideology,' 'threat' and 'generational struggle.’ Predictably, the rash of pseudo-explanations Islamofascism, Islamic extremism, Islamic fundamentalism, Islamic theology, Islamic irrationalism — makes Islam seem more than ever a concept in search of some content while making a spectacularly diverse population of 1.6 billion people look suspect in the eyes of the rest. 

In recent years, the mills of Islamophobia have been churned faster by demagogues focusing on Muslims the unfocused fury and frustration of citizens who feel left or pushed behind in highly unequal societies. Many individuals live with a constant dread in a world where all social, political and economic forces determining their lives seem opaque (ondoorzichtig. svh). As globalized and volatile markets restrict nation states' autonomy of action, and refugees and immigrants challenge dominant ideas of citizenship, national culture and tradition, the swamp of fear and insecurity expands. Seized by a competitive fever, and taunted by the possibility that they are set up to lose, even the relatively affluent become prone to inventing enemies — socialists, liberals, a dark-skinned alien in the White House, Muslims — and then blaming them for their own inner torments. 

Islamophobia can only flourish in these circumstances, empowering demagogues just as popular anti-Semitism did during the crises of modernizing Europe. Voltaire, frequently invoked as the apostle of free speech and tolerance, demonstrated a commonplace tendency to project fear and guilt after being caught in illegal financial speculation in Berlin. 'A Jew,' he said, anticipating the German and French proto-fascists of the late nineteenth century, 'belongs to no country other than the one where he makes money.’ The search for a credible scapegoat became more intense after the Jewish Emancipation, amid the political and economic traumas of the middle and lower-middle classes in France and Germany (the word ‘anti-Semitism’ was first used in the 1870s).


Precies dezelfde reflex zien we nu bij Bas Heijne wanneer hij schrijft dat ‘de aanslag op de redactie van Charlie Hebdo door de broers Kouachi, en de moordpartij in de koosjere supermarkt die erop volgde, voor mij tot symbool [werd] van een wereldbeeld dat aan alle kanten onder vuur ligt.’ Niet de ‘legacy of ashes’ die de CIA volgens president Eisenhower had nagelaten, deed Heijne’s geloof wankelen, niet de illegale en uiteindelijk uiterst bloedige Amerikaanse inval in Irak was voor hem het ‘symbool’ van het verlies aan normen en waarden in het Westen, benevens het geloof in democratie en het internationaal recht, maar een kleinschalige aanslag in Parijs. Voor mij is dit het demasqué van de gemaskerde, in dit geval een poseur die die door de Hollandse mainstream-pers gezien wordt als ‘de beste in zijn vak,’ en wiens opinies u op internet kunt lezen onder de aanhef: ‘Wij geven u dit artikel cadeau om u een concreet voorbeeld te geven hoe de NRC-code terugkomt in onze journalistiek. Vanuit de NRC-code ontstaat journalistiek waar wij trots op zijn.’ Het is dezelfde ‘trots’ van dezelfde krant die meer dan drie decennia lang de verstokte zionist Salomon Bouman op een tendentieuze wijze verslag liet doen uit Israel, ‘de Joodse natie,’  waarover Pankaj Mishra terecht opmerkt: 

the fanatical ethno-nationalists in Israel today who accuse their notionally cosmopolitan and liberale fellow citizens of subverting collective unity and purpose manage to echo almost exactly the rhetoric of anti-Semites in mid-twentieth-century Germany and France. Such grim historical ironies and paradoxes clarify that the identity commonly ascribed to the West (progressively modern as opposed to static and barbarous Islam) is neither stable nor coherent.

Donderdag 1 juni 2017 werd bekend dat

Israel has killed more than 3,000 children since 28 September 2000 when the Second Intifada began until the end of April 2017, a new report has found.

The Palestinian Ministry of Information said in a report released ahead of Children’s Day that the Israeli forces have injured more than 13,000 children and arrested more than 12,000 others, and continues to hold 300 children in its prisons.

The report published yesterday said that 95 per cent of children were tortured and assaulted during their detention.

Eerder al, in februari 2014 publiceerde Amnesty International 

a stunning report saying that the international community should cut off military aid to Israel because Israel has killed dozens of civilians at peaceful protests in the last three years ‘widespread impunity’ — including 22 civilians last year. The human rights organization concludes

It urges the USA, the European Union and the rest of the international community to suspend all transfers of munitions, weapons and other equipment to Israel.
‘Without pressure from the international community the situation is unlikely to change any time soon,’ said Philip Luther [Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International].

‘Too much civilian blood has been spilled. This long-standing pattern of abuse must be broken. If the Israeli authorities wish to prove to the world they are committed to democratic principles and international human rights standards, unlawful killings and unnecessary use of force must stop now.’

Here’s the PDF for the 87-page report, which is titled, ‘“Trigger-happy’”Israeli army and police use reckless force in the West Bank.’

The Institute for Middle East Understanding emphasizes that the report comes out just as AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is having its Washington conference at which it will celebrate US aid to Israel:

Its publication coincides with the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference, which runs from March 2 to 4 in Washington, DC, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with President Obama, which is scheduled to take place while Netanyahu is in Washington for the conference.

The report documents ‘mounting bloodshed’ in the occupied territories as a result of the Israeli army’s use of ‘unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal force against Palestinians’ over the past three years. In the press release accompanying the report, which is included below, the director Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, Philip Luther, notes: ‘The frequency and persistence of arbitrary and abusive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank by Israeli soldiers and police officers — and the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators – suggests that it is carried out as a matter of policy.’

Amnesty’s summary emphasizes that the victims were protesting occupation:

‘Israeli forces have repeatedly violated their obligations under international human rights law by using excessive force to stifle dissent and freedom of expression, resulting in a pattern of unlawful killings and injuries to civilians. They do so with virtual impunity due to the authorities’ failure to conduct thorough investigations. This report focuses on the use of excessive force in the West Bank since the beginning of 2011. It includes cases of killings and injuries of Palestinian civilians in the context of protests against Israel’s continuing military occupation of the Palestinian territories, illegal Israeli settlements and the fence/wall.’

Here’s more from Amnesty’s coverage of its report.




Al decennialang is er sprake van zionistische terreur tegen Palestijnse kinderen. Al een kwarteeuw geleden was ik samen met één van de oprichters van Een Ander Joods Geluid, wijlen Jos Mouthaan, hoe Israelische soldaten gericht op Palestijnse lagere schoolkinderen schoten. Ruim een decennium later schreef de Palestijns-Amerikaanse journalist Ali Abunimah het volgende:

Invisible killings: Israel’s daily toll of Palestinian children

The Electronic Intifada  
10 December 2002

When your land has been occupied by a foreign army as long as your children have been alive, and this occupying army regularly brutalizes and humiliates the friends and relatives of these children, stopping kids from confronting the invaders is naturally going to be very difficult. Convincing the Israeli adults in control of this weaponry in civilian areas that they should not be using it to kill children who are merely stone throwers should not be difficult. The statistics sadly tell a different story, of a deep-rooted Israeli contempt for the lives of Palestinian children that should inspire Western outrage. Photo by Musa Al-Shaer.

When Israelis are killed and injured by a Palestinian attack, the TV news networks are quick to cut to “breaking news” reports. Harrowing footage from the scene and interviews with outraged Israeli government officials are swiftly broadcast, and harsh statements are quickly issued by government and UN officials to appear in tomorrow’s front page newspaper stories.


Meanwhile, the steady killing of Palestinian civilians, many of them children, by the Israeli occupation army goes largely unnoticed and unreported.

By consistently emphasizing the suffering of Israelis, and downplaying or ignoring the killings of Palestinians, the media convey a false impression that Palestinian ‘attacks’ are the principal feature of the conflict.

Statistics unambiguously clarify that this impression is the exact opposite of the reality on the ground. A total of 1,926 Palestinians have been killed from 29 September 2000 up to 8 December 2002, and more than 21,000 injured. 669 of these killings occurred since Israel’s total reoccupation of the West Bank began last March, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.

EI looked at the one-month period from 31 October to 2 December 2002 in detail.
According to our research, forty-three Palestinian civilians were killed during this period and dozens wounded or permanently maimed.

Fifteen of those killed and several dozen of those injured were children. A summary of the circumstances of the killing and injury of this group appears below.

Details and circumstances of Palestinian children killed by Israeli occupation forces, 31 October to 2 December 2002.

December 2:

Jenin: Mutaz Odeh, 18, died of a gunshot wound to the heart when Israeli occupation forces opened fire on a group of civilians who were stoning Israeli tanks and armored vehicles. 21 others injured, two seriously. (PCHR, LAW)
November 30:

Gaza City: Hatem al-Ajla, 16, shot dead by Israeli occupation forces, with gunshot wounds to the back, according to hospital sources. (AFP)
November 28:

Hebron: Abbas al-Atrash, 3, was in his house, when he was killed by bullets fired by Israeli occupation forces. Doctors said that he was hit by a bullet in the abdomen as he stood at the window. The occupation army claimed the toddler was killed by shrapnel from an explosive device thrown at its forces. No occupation forces were injured by the alleged bomb. (Agencies)
November 25:

Nablus: Jihad Al-Faqih, 8, was shot and killed by Israeli occupation forces with a bullet to the heart. The killing occurred as many Palestinians decided to ignore the permanent curfew imposed on the city and go to school or work. Some unarmed Palestinians confronted the occupation forces who were in tanks and armored vehicles, and some people stoned them. The occupation forces opened fire on the civilians, killing Jihad, who was not among the stone throwers. 13 others were injured by the soldiers, including 7 other children and two women. (LAW, Agencies)
November 22:

Jenin: Muhammad Bilalweh, 12, was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces with a bullet to the left eye. The occupation forces opened fire on a group of children who began stoning them after an Israeli armored bulldozer had demolished a building that was home to six families. Earlier the army had entered the camp in force, firing indiscriminately. Three other children suffered serious injuries from gunshots and shrapnel. (LAW, Agencies)
November 19:

Tulkarm: Ehab Alam al-Zalqa, 16, was shot and killed by a member of an Israeli death squad disguised as a Palestinian. The killing occurred when the death squad, who had been spotted by civilians, was stoned. After killing Alam, the death squad caught and executed on the spot the person they were hunting after confirming his identity. Two other civilians were killed by the death squad, and ten others, including five children injured. (PCHR, LAW)
November 20:

Tulkarm: Amr al-Qudsi, 14, was shot dead by an Israeli soldier with a gunshot to the back. Following an earlier incident, in which an Israeli death squad killed four people in the town, a group of children gathered and stoned an Israeli jeep. The jeep stopped, a soldier got out, took aim at Amr, and killed him. (LAW, Agencies)
November 16:

Jenin Refugee Camp: Ibrahim al-Sadi, 17, was shot and killed by Israeli occupation forces. Israel surrounded a number of houses in the center of the refugee camp, including the house of Sheikh Bassam Ragheb al-Sa’di, wanted by Israel for alleged activities in Islamic Jihad. Israeli soldiers noticed al-Sadi’s son Ibrahim, 17, passing near a house with a gun in his hands. Immediately, they fired at him without warning. He was killed by a live bullet in the chest. According to eyewitnesses, the son passed by the area accidentally and he did not fire at the Israeli soldiers, rather he was trying to get away from them. Ibrahim’s brother, Abdulkarim, had been killed by Israeli occupation forces on September 5. (PCHR)
November 15:

Nablus: Imran al-Shila, 15, was killed by a bullet to the chest by Israeli occupation forces who opened fire on a group of children who threw stones at them in the Old City. (LAW)
November 14:

Nablus: Jalal Awijan, 17, was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest, when Israeli occupation forces in tanks and armored vehicles opened fire on a group of school children. (LAW)
November 13:

Rafah, Gaza: Hamed Asad Hassan al-Masri, 2, was killed by a live bullet to the chest. That evening, Israeli occupation forces began shelling Block J in Rafah refugee camp, forcing the little boy’s family to flee their home. As they left the house, Hamed was hit by a bullet fired by the occupation firces. His mother, Asmaa, 31, was critically injured by live ammunition and shrapnel to the abdomen, pelvis and limbs. (PCHR)
November 11:

Rafah, Gaza: Nafez Mishal, 2, was shot by Israeli occupation forces who opened fire on civilian homes in the Tel al Sultan neighborhood of the refugee camp. He died two hours later of a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Nafez had been sitting on his father’s lap playing with a balloon, when the balloon escaped. The toddler got up to run after it and was then cut down by a volley of bullets from an occupation army watch tower. The occupation army claimed it was “returning fire,” although all witnesses said that the soldiers had, as they often do, opened fire without provocation. Two other children, aged 9 and 14 were injured in the same incident (The Independent, PCHR)
November 11:

Rafah, Gaza: Muhammad Rifat Abu al-Naja, 9, died of wounds he sustained the previous month. Abu al-Naja was seriously wounded when Israeli forces at the Egyptian border, south of Rafah, shelled Palestinian houses in Block O in Rafah refugee camp on 17 October 2002. Six Palestinian civilians, including 3 children and 2 women, were killed in that incident, and more than 40 others, including Abu al-Naja, were wounded. (PCHR)
November 5:

Rafah, Gaza: Adham Ibrahim Hamdan, 16, shot by live bullets in the head and Eyad Nafez Abu Taha, 17, shot by a live bullet in the head. The two boys were killed by Israeli occupation forces who had invaded Block L of Rafah refugee camp, demolished three houses, and fired indiscriminately at civilians. 12 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children under the age of 18, were wounded. (PCHR)

Sources: 

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights — Gaza (PCHR)
LAW — The Palestinian Center for Human Rights and the Environment
Wire services: Agence France Presse, Associated Press
Other media as noted
http://electronicintifada.net/content/invisible-killings-israels-daily-toll-palestinian-children/4263



Een lachende Joods-Israelische scherpschutter tijdens een actie waarbij een Palestijnse jongere werd geraakt. 

Drieduizend dode Palestijnse kinderen sinds 2000 betekent een lange reeks oorlogsmisdaden, die alle, volgens de Geneefse Conventies, juridisch vervolgd zouden moeten worden. Israel weigert dit, het Westen accepteert deze schendingen van het internationaal recht. Sterker nog: de Europese Unie is door een Associatie Verdrag met de zionistische staat verplicht dit verdrag op te schorten totdat Israel stopt met deze terreur. Maar de EU, waarvoor Geert Mak voortdurend en enthousiast propaganda maakt, weigert  zich te houden aan de eigen afspraak. Artikel 2 van dit Associatie Verdrag bepaalt namelijk dat de relaties tussen de partijen gebaseerd zijn op respect voor de mensenrechten en de democratische beginselen, én dat deze uitgangspunten een essentieel element vormen van deze overeenkomst. ‘De Europese Unie heeft tot nu op geen enkele manier blijk gegeven dat het hieraan conclusies verbindt. Ook Nederland heeft dit als lidstaat van de EU tot nu toe nagelaten. Samen met de Europese Unie steunt Nederland het Palestijnse recht op zelfbeschikking. Wat houdt dit echter in de praktijk in als Israël onverminderd door kan gaan met de bouw van nederzettingen in bezet gebied?’ aldus het voormalige GroenLinks Tweede Kamerlid Arjen El Fassad op 27 juni 2001. Helaas hebben opiniemakers als Geert Mak niet het burgerlijk fatsoen noch de morele integriteit om het EU-parlement en/of het Nederlandse parlement op te roepen ervoor te zorgen dat het internationaal recht door het bevriende Israel gerespecteerd wordt. Inmiddels is de EU van ‘Geen Jorwert zonder Brussel’ de belangrijkste handelspartner van de zionistische terreurstaat. 

Drieduizend vermoorde Palestijnse kinderen sinds 2000, en toch zwijgt de ‘politiek-literaire elite’ in de polder, terwijl mijn oude vriend Mak wel degelijk claimt dat ‘[d]e kracht van onze westerse samenleving onze democratie [is], onze variatie in ideeën, onze tolerantie, onze openheid tegenover andere culturen.’ Dat zijn eigen leven een leugen is geworden, is tot daaraan toe, maar dat ‘de populairste geschiedenisleraar van het land’ zijn publiek in die leugen meetrekt is onaanvaardbaar. Ik gun hem zijn populariteit, maar niet wanneer die ten koste gaat van ondermeer drieduizend dode Palestijnse kinderen, louter en alleen omdat hij niet bij machte is de eigen verantwoordelijkheid te accepteren. Als de westerse ‘tolerantie,’ en ‘openheid’ én de universele rechten van de mens werkelijk ‘universeel’ zijn dan kunnen de Heijne’s en Makken niet anders dan opkomen voor die universaliteit door op te houden de kleinburger en de elite te behagen. Hun leven is een leugen zolang zij weigeren hun mond open te doen over het fundamentele onrecht dat door ‘onze democratie, onze variatie in ideeën, onze tolerantie,’ en ‘onze openheid tegenover andere culturen’ mogelijk is gemaakt via politieke, economische en zelfs militaire steun aan ondermeer het zionistische terrorisme. Zolang zij niet bereid zijn op te komen voor de door hen 'gepropageerde normen en waarden' zijn deze opiniemakers niet meer dan zelfgenoegzame poseurs, die weigeren zichzelf de vraag te stellen die Pankaj Mishra in zijn Age of Anger. A History Of The Present terecht opwerpt. ‘Wij,’ de geprivilegieerde westerlingen, erfgenamen van het misdadige kolonialisme en de terreur van het neoliberalisme zullen onszelf inderdaad moeten afvragen of de miljoenen, zo niet miljarden 

young people awakening around the world to their inheritance — which even for the richest among them includes global warming — can realize the modern promise of freedom and prosperity. Can the triumphant axioms of individual autonomy and interest-seeking, formulated, sanctified and promoted by a privileged minority, work for the majority in a crowded and interdependent world? Or, are today's young doomed to hurtle, like many Europeans and Russians in the past, between a sense of inadequacy and fantasies of revenge? 

U en ik zullen zelf naar de waarheid en werkelijkheid op zoek moeten, godzijdank zonder de propaganda van de mainstream-pers. Pas dan zullen we bij machte zijn werkelijk de waarheid te doorgronden dat wij niet meer zijn dan'spectateurs sans le savoir.' 



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