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Pasolini’s 1963 Film on Palestine

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Pasolini recorded his observations in the documentary A Visit to Palestine while scouting locations for his moving biography of the life of Jesus, The Gospel of St Matthew.

The sophisticated hasbara / sophistry that created the hologram of  “democracy” and “chosenness” was the very first of  Israel’s chief exports (to be followed by human organ smuggling, pornography, espionage  and  shocking weapons) and that it was and is a very “successful” endeavor in every part of globe, meant to convince not only hawks and politicos, but the academic world. Could Pasolini’s ambiguity re the brutal colonial nature of Zionism be due to the fact that in the 50s and 60s he and many intellectuals saw Israel as a progressive experiment in socialism that needed time to live up to expectations? The halo effect over Israel still hangs on in Europe and the USA for decades after al-Nakba.

Although the true nature of Zionism was little known in the West for decades– either in popular culture or among the intelligentsia — the mask of righteousness has slipped off Israel’s PR-drenched narrative and a truly demonic face has been glimpsed by more people than ever before.

Could these two films of Pasolini’s — one celebrating Jesus’ life, and one recording contemporary Palestine — be connected to Pasolini’s very tragic, unexpected and unsolved murder?


Pasolini filming Palestine

APRIL 15, 2010
by South/South   Be sure to check out the entire South/South blog – it’s brilliant.

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1963 film Sopralluoghi in Palestina (English title: A Visit to Palestine, though it would be more accurate to call it Scouting for Locations in Palestine) showcases the director’s preparation for filming The Gospel According to St. Matthew. (Parenthetically, in Italian the latter film’s title is Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo, about which my film professor has posed a good question: do Italians erase the ‘saint’ in Matthew’s title or is Pasolini being irreverent?) The film is more evocative and personal than the average making-of documentary that often accompanies a major film as a voyeuristic sidebar. It is also not without its problems on the question of Palestine.

It’s clear from the outset that Pasolini is filming here because he is fed up with the industrial world: you can’t shoot a film about Christ near Milanese factories. He has come here for the Jesus ‘look.’ It’s not an aberration to point this out since it’s a stake Pasolini constantly claims: only in the Terra Santa itself can he strike the ‘poetic and archaic… extreme smallness, poverty and humility.’ His favorite part of the journey is a narrow strip close to Jordan because that’s ‘where Jesus spent his last days.’

In a rapid, breathy voice-over that runs the entire course of the film, Pasolini sounds almost like a tourist, both eager and disappointed to find comparisons with sites and sounds from home. He compares the rolling, grassy landscape of Palestine to southern, rural Italian cities like Bari, Calabria and Sicilia. Unfortunately, while he is certainly not the average tourist and though he does struggle some to decode what he sees, one gets the sense that he’s not really struggling enough—at least not any more than necessary to furnish scenes for his film. Coming to terms with not being able to film in ‘modern’ Nazareth, he says in a defeated tone: ‘You understand that in this period of our trip, I had set out as a problem, as the purpose of my research, the finding of those villages, places and faces which could replace modern villages, faces, places.’ (Avrai capito che in questo periodo del nostro viaggio, io mi ero posto come problema, come scopo della mia ricerca, il trovare dei villaggi, dei luoghi, delle facce, che potessero sostituire i villaggi, le facce, i luoghi moderni.)

His scouting tour takes him to much of pre-1967 Palestine/Israel, from the Jewish kibbutzim to the habitats of impoverished Palestinian farmers. While he interviews a young family at a kibbutz at length (conducted in Italian) he never films himself talking at length to Arabs. There is the linguistic problem, of course, but this distancing act reinforces something troubling that Pasolini repeats at least twice in the film: the Palestinians just seem ‘more authentic.’ They are ‘allegre, animalistiche‘—happy and animalistic—far closer to his archaic Gospel characters than the new inhabitants of the modern settlements/colonies dotting the hillsides.

Indeed, it can often seem like Pasolini takes the colonial project for granted. In the poem ‘The Southern Dawn’ (L’Alba Meridionale),* published a year after the trip to Palestine, he writes about finding ‘millions of men employed only to live as barbarians descended recently on a happy land, strangers to it, and its owners’ (milioni di uomini occupati / soltanto a vivere come barbari discesi / da poco su una terra felice, estranei / ad essa, e suoi possessori). Are the recent Jewish immigrants the ‘barbarians’ descending in ‘millions’ on a ‘happy land’? How does Pasolini reconcile their relationship to this land as both ‘strangers’ and biblical ‘owners’? The film is fraught with these same unanswered musings.

In this screen grab, Pasolini stands in front of a map of Jerusalem, surrounded by those likely objects of his disdain, modern advertisements for cigarettes. It’s hard to pinpoint a poetics to Pasolini’s critiques, but if there is one solid critique it is, again, his disappointment at what has become of his imagined Palestine. For the most part, his monologue is deeply concerned with the technical and aesthetic concerns of making his film. But the jabs he makes about modern, industrial Israel can be found if one is looking for them. They express sorrow at a lost aura he is sore that small, white Israeli settler/colonial houses on the plains appear soulless and uniform. ‘You could easily find [them] in the Roman countryside, or in Switzerland.’

One of the most moving moments is Pasolini in a Bedouin desert, encroached on ‘day by day by the Israelis.’ The footage is beautiful, but as he says again in that breathy disappointment, unusable.The Bedouins make look authentic, and they may even be the victims of colonialism and land grabs, but he still hasn’t found what he’s come looking for.

Where Pasolini’s musings lack any overt colonial critique, the camera highlights it. The shots of Jerusalem surrounded by barbed wire are particularly compelling. As Pasolini’s voiceover expresses awe at the natural beauty of these surroundings, the camerawork displays the indignities of everyday life for Palestinian inhabitants. As seen above, the camera zooms in and out of a shot of birds perched on top of barbed wire, in and out and in and out, a syntactical repetition of a sublime and sordid reality.

*Thanks to http://www.twitter.com/revsocialist for sending me the reference to that poem.

(All screengrabs by South/South)


YouTube: Nader says reinstate Helen Thomas, victim of a media lynching

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The Crucifixion of Kindness (again & again & again)

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The Crucifixion of Kindness

by Gilad Atzmon

Panic is detected in Israel. Strategic affairs minister, Moshe Boogi Ya’alon who served as acting PM during last week’s massacre in the high seas said yesterday that “someone failed to prepare a standard operating procedure.” A senior IDF official was quick to respond “If there wasn’t a standard operating procedure, why didn’t he make sure there was one. He was the acting prime minister and it was his responsibility.” War criminal Tzipi Livni is also unhappy with the Government for failing to take responsibility. Two days ago she led a no confidence vote in the Israeli Knesset.

Seemingly the Israelis are starting to blame each other. This may look like a positive move, however, not a single Israeli is yet to ask for forgiveness. Seemingly no one in Israel grasps the scale of the atrocity in the high seas. No one in Israel comprehends the level of outrage amongst the nations. Israelis, are instead concerned with their Hasbara failure, their military operational mistakes and so on. Up until now, they fail to see that in the high seas, they have managed to kill Christ again. [note a word to the wise: to avoid being called a Christ-killer, stop acting like one]

Killing Christ is realised symbolically as an assault on goodness, a crime against kindness and innocence. The cold blooded slaughter of peace activists in international waters has a very similar effect. It is an assault on compassion, righteousness and humanism. It is an attack on everything Christianity and Islam happen to value. As much as Israelis, Zionists and Neocons are insisting on  spreading the deceptive myth of a Judeo-Christian alliance, it is this last Israeli crime that made it clear that the Jewish State shares nothing with humanism, Christianity or Islam. Israel in fact stands against any recognised Western value.

Though the contemporary  Israeli has no ethnic or biological lineage to the  ancient  Israelites, the merciless ideology repeats itself.  Since, the Zionist project defines itself as  a revival of the  Biblical Israelite nation, it shouldn’t take us by surprise that the  lethal Biblical ideology  also comes to life. It is implemented daily  against Palestinian  women, children, elders and now against an international humanitarian convoy.

If we want to understand what happened to the Palestinian solidarity movement last week, we  could start by elaborating on a mass shift of consciousness. This goes beyond politics, psychology or sociology, it is actually a spiritual metaphysical shift. As I have been predicting for many years, we now start to see hope and liberation through the Palestinians and their righteous  struggle. We understand that the Palestinians are at the forefront of the battle against evil. And we obviously stand behind them as one person. Interestingly enough,  politicians are way behind. They still fail to notice the rapidly emerging worldwide public awareness that something is deeply sick in the Israeli society and its lobbies around the world. Our politicians will probably join us later, when their Zionist money runs out.

By equating Christ’s murder with last week’s massacre in the high seas, we can then understand the total failure of the Israeli Hasbara machine. Instead of standing up and admitting that something went horribly wrong at sea, Israeli officials reverted to the usual spin. The Turkish activists had become ‘Jew haters’, ‘Al-Qaeda terrorists’, and the Mavi Marmara had become a ‘Boat of Hate’. This tactic is unfortunately too familiar. It has been employed by Rabbinical Judaism for two thousand years, especially against the memory of Christ.

I guess that Christians and Muslims will be shocked and outraged to find out that Yesh’u (יש”ו), the Hebrew name for Jesus, is an abbreviation that corresponds to the “May his name and memory be blotted out”*,  an expression used for deceased enemies of the Jewish people like Hitler and Stalin. In the Hebraic culture, Jesus, the kindest of all people, the son of God, is regarded as the ultimate enemy. If Jesus is cornered with Hitler, it shouldn’t surprise us that Hasbara officials insist to stick Peace activists with Al-Qaeda. Seemingly, in the modern Israelite philosophy one becomes a Yesh’u hate  figure once hit by an Israeli bullet.

The Judaic hatred towards Jesus, as reflected by the Hebraic abbreviation Yesh’u is pretty revealing in the context of the latest Israeli massacre. Rather than accepting its crime and genuinely repenting, Israel attempted to portray the Turkish martyrs as the ultimate Jewish enemies. Seemingly, this attempt failed completely. The Free Gaza flotilla is now making it into a symbol of hope and compassion. Israel, on the other hand shoved itself into a corner. This is a tragic prophecy that fulfilled itself. Israel will never recover, it simply can’t.

*ימח שמו וזכרו


Israel’s Disinformation Campaign Against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

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Israel’s Disinformation Campaign Against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Israeli disinformation cannot hide the siege of Gaza.

For over four years, Israel has subjected the civilian population of Gaza to an increasingly severe blockade, resulting in a man-made humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions. Earlier this month, John Ging, the Director of Operations of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza, called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with humanitarian aid. This weekend, 9 civilian boats carrying 700 human rights workers from 40 countries and 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid will attempt to do just that: break through the Israel’s illegal military blockade on the Gaza Strip in non-violent direct action. In response, the Israeli government has threatened to send out ‘half’ of its Naval forces to violently stop our flotilla, and they have engaged in a deceitful campaign of misinformation regarding our mission.

Israel claims that there is no ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Every international aid organization working in Gaza has documented this crisis in stark detail. Just released earlier this week, Amnesty International’s Annual Human Rights Report stated that Israeli’s siege on Gaza has “deepened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty, food insecurity and food price rises caused by shortages left four out of five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. The scope of the blockade and statements made by Israeli officials about its purpose showed that it was being imposed as a form of collective punishment of Gazans, a flagrant violation of international law.”[1]

Israel claims that its blockade is directed simply at the Hamas government in Gaza, and is limited to so-called ’security’ items. Yet When U.S. Senator John Kerry visited Gaza last year, he was shocked to discover that the Israeli blockade included staple food items such as lentils, macaroni and tomato paste.[2] Furthermore, Gisha, the Israeli Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, has documented numerous official Israeli government statements that the blockade is intended to put ‘pressure’ on Gaza’s population, and collective punishment of civilians is an illegal act under international law.[3]

Israel claims that if we wish to send aid to Gaza, all we need do is go through ‘official channels,’ give the aid to them and they will deliver it. This statement is both ridiculous and offensive. Their blockade, their ‘official channels,’ is what is directly causing the humanitarian crisis in the first place.

According to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter: “Palestinians in Gaza are being actually ’starved to death,’ receiving fewer calories per day than people in the poorest parts of Africa. This is an atrocity that is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza. It is a crime… an abomination that this is allowed to go on. Tragically, the international community at large ignores the cries for help, while the citizens of Gaza are treated more like animals than human beings.”[4]

Israel claims that we refused to deliver a letter and package from POW Gilad Shalit’s father. This is a blatant lie. We were first contacted by lawyers representing Shalit’s family Wednesday evening, just hours before we were set to depart from Greece. Irish Senator Mark Daly (Kerry), one of 35 parliamentarians joining our flotilla, agreed to carry any letter and to attempt to deliver it to Shalit or, if that request was denied, deliver it to officials in the Hamas government. As of this writing, the lawyers have not responded to Sen. Daly, electing instead to attempt to smear us in the Israeli press.[5] We have always called for the release of all political prisoners in this conflict, including the 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, among them hundreds of child prisoners.[6]

Most despicably of all, Israel claims that we are violating international law by sailing unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid to a people desperately in need. These claims only demonstrate how degenerate the political discourse in Israel has become.

Despite its high profile pullout of illegal settlements and military presence from Gaza in August—September 2005, Israel maintains “effective control” over the Gaza Strip and therefore remains an occupying force with certain obligations.[7] Among Israel’s most fundamental obligations as an occupying power is to provide for the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population. An occupying force has a duty to ensure the food and medical supplies of the population, as well as maintain hospitals and other medical services, “to the fullest extent of the means available to it” (G IV, arts. 55, 56). This includes protecting civilian hospitals, medical personnel, and the wounded and sick. In addition, a fundamental principle of International Humanitarian Law, as well as of the domestic laws of civilized nations, is that collective punishment against a civilian population is forbidden (G IV, art. 33).

Israel has grossly abused its authority as an occupying power, not only neglecting to provide for the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population, but instituting policies designed to collectively punish the Palestinians of Gaza. From fuel and electricity cuts that hinder the proper functioning of hospitals, to the deliberate obstruction of humanitarian aid delivery through Israeli-controlled borders, Israel’s policies towards the Gaza Strip have turned Gaza into a man-made humanitarian disaster. The dire situation that currently exists in Gaza is therefore a result of deliberate policies by Israel designed to punish the people of Gaza. In order to address the calamitous conditions imposed upon the people, one must work to change the policies causing the crisis. The United Nations has referred to Israel’s near hermetic closure of Gaza as “collective punishment,”[8] strictly prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. All nations signatory to the Convention have an obligation to ensure respect for its provisions.[9]

Given the continuing and sustained failure of the international community to enforce its own laws and protect the people of Gaza, we strongly believe that we all, as citizens of the world, have a moral obligation to directly intervene in acts of nonviolent civil resistance to uphold international principles. Israeli threats and intimidation will not deter us. We will sail to Gaza again and again and again, until this siege is forever ended and the Palestinian people have free access to the world.

NOTES:

  1. Amnesty International, Annual Human Rights Report (26 May 2010); http://thereport.amnesty.org
  2. “The pasta, paper and hearing aids that could threaten Israeli security,” The Independent (2 March 2009)
  3. “Restrictions on the transfer of goods to Gaza: Obstruction and obfuscation,” Gisha (January 2010)
  4. “Carter calls Gaza blockade ‘a crime and atrocity,” Haaretz (17 April 2008),http://www.haaretz.com/news/carter-calls-gaza-blockade-a-crime-and-atrocity-1.244176
  5. “Gaza aid convoy refuses to deliver package to Gilad Shalit,” Haaretz (27 May 2010)
  6. “Comprehensive Report on Status of Palestinian Political Prisoners,” Sumoud (June 2004); Palestinian Children Political Prisoners, Addameer, http://www.addameer.org/detention/children.html
  7. Article 42 of the Hague Regulations stipulates, a “territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army,” and that the occupation extends “to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.” Similarly, in the Hostage Case, the Nuremburg Tribunal held that, “the test for application of the legal regime of occupation is not whether the occupying power fails to exercise effective control over the territory, but whether it has the ability to exercise such power.” Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, like those in the West Bank, continue to be subject to Israeli control. For example, Israel controls Gaza’s air space, territorial waters, and all border crossings. Palestinians in Gaza require Israel’s consent to travel to and from Gaza, to take their goods to Palestinian and foreign markets, to acquire food and medicine, and to access water and electricity. Without Israel’s permission, the Palestinian Authority (PA) cannot perform such basic functions of government as providing social, health, security and utility services, developing the Palestinian economy and allocating resources.
  8. John Holmes, Briefing to the U Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, 27 January 2009.
  9. Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article I stating, “The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.” See also, Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Advisory Opinion, I. C. J. Reports 2004, p. 136 at 138;http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/131/1671.pdf.

Israeli disinformation cannot hide the siege of Gaza.


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Written by chinarose

May 28, 2010 at 8:51 am

The Simpsons in Israhell

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Season 21, Episode 12 is entitled “Greatest Story Ever D’Ohed” The Simpsons take a trip to Israel…  Check it out!  I couldn’t manage to upload the video itself, but you can access it by clicking here

Notes:

Satiric, well-meaning, somewhat funny, but strangely empty…  Most of this episode’s barbs are aimed at religion rather than the Occupation, the inherent racism of the Jewish state, or its apartheid policies. The idea that a religious conflict between Judaism and Islam is the reason for “the conflict” is essential  hasbara. According to this mindset: remove the religion and you end the violence.

Anyway, it is worth a look if only to remind ourselves how little truth is allowed on the airwaves — even in the form of comedy . Yet, after sixty years of media blackouts on the true nature of Zionism — any treatment of the “real” Israel (even in an animated comedy) could be considered an improvement.


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Dissident Jews Blacklisted in Germany

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Welcome to the new Nazi-free Germany… well, not quite free. The names have been changed to protect…. Israel.

If you are Jewish and criticize Israel, you can lose your job, go to prison, or be deported. Everything but the armbands. http://tinyurl.com/yed8d2q

And if you are Muslim, you can be knifed to death because of a scarf. During a trial at your local courthouse. http://tinyurl.com/yazbdow

Dissident Jews: Unwanted in Germany?

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Israeli Police Who Put US Man In Coma Get Off Scot-Free

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