April 03, 2010

The Guardian of Slumber

The story of the Israeli Gestapo arresting a journalist, Anat Kam, charging her with treason for the alleged crime that she was a whistle blower during her army service, when she allegedly made available to Haaretz a paper trail of secret documents that revealed high up generals participating in a conspiracy to commit murder, and then putting a gag order on the whole affair, is finally getting some airing in the press, although the major US papers are naturally considering it not fit to print. Don't ask New York Times Ethan Bronner about it. He wouldn't want you to pay attention to the criminality of the institution in which his son proudly serves.

Israeli militaryHere it is in The Guardian. The Guardian, as Richard Silverstein complains, didn't credit his blog for scooping the story. Well, what did he expect? Sucking up and kicking down is the rule, isn't it? Newspapers are funded by the capitalist class despite their lousy profitability because they provide a mechanism for controlling what the public knows, not because they keep the public informed. The role of corporate journalism is to make journalism safe for corporations. Free internet journalism threatens the ability of the press to fulfill its mission, and therefore its bacon, by undermining two of its important weapons, editorial power, determining what is news and what isn't, and source selection, determining who is a credible source, who is a merely quotable source, and who is a nobody. The corpocracy fights back in many ways, including building its own controlled blogging platforms like the NYT Opinionator and the Guardian's Comment is Free, attempts to co-opt the new technology, make it safe for corporations, and treat unaffiliated blogs like unlicensed Taxis at the airport. Those bloggers who want to be embraced by the corpocracy must prove their loyalty first. But loyalty to what?

Pay attention to the picture the Guardian editor chose to associate with the story, captioned "Israeli soldiers sleep on the ground in the West Bank." It is a good way to sketch an answer; and loyalty is what this story is all about, isn't it?

It is a story about death squads operating in the occupied West Bank, under clear orders to kill designated Palestinians, not only against international law, but also against the fake "rule of law" that these soldiers pretend to enforce, and the silencing of the press through willful collaboration as well as intimidation and judicial persecution of whistleblowers and journalists. What then does the image tell us? Why was it chosen for this story from all stories, and why this picture from all pictures that the Guardian can use?

By doing whatever she ishttp://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~jewusiak/vangogh_shoes.jpg accused of doing, did Kam betray these beautiful young men, men that you want to caress right now, don't you? They aren't occupying the West Bank. They are just sleeping, unconscious and ipso facto innocent, and sleeping together, a people bound by a common, natural, unselfconscious innocence. Is not that sleep, in its very naturalness, its lack of artifice which is the very idea of sleep, proof that the land of Israel is as naturally the land of these Jewish soldiers as France is of the French, and not a work, as some would want to claim, of artifice, of design, of calculated colonization, ethic cleansing, discrimination and oppression? Furthermore, these sleeping soldiers sleep not anywhere, but as we are told, "on the ground of the West Bank," on hallowed ground, in touch with their Mother Earth, which evildoers deny it belongs to them. Who would dare challenge such a bond? Look at the Van-Goghian shoes in the front plane, worn out, thrown absentmindedly rather than arranged, shoes of a common man, a worker (even if the work is beating up old folks and children), shoes not of politicians, or journalists, or phony intellectuals, but of, as they say, "real people."

And this Kam, instead of tenderly kissing the eyelids of these earthy Apollos, instead of sharing their absentminded common being, she separated herself, and she went behind their back and snitched on them, a modern day Delilah betraying her sleeping Samsons.

Is this the loyalty that the editor of the Guardian had in mind?


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