Sunday, November 15, 2015

A quick post about poetry and the attack on Paris

While bombs were exploding in Paris Murray Edmond and I were reading poetry at Titirangi Public Library. Murray had been asked to read to a meeting of the Titirangi Poets group, and he'd asked me to come along as a support act.

Murray read a series of poems from his new book, Shaggy Magpie Songs. A piece that went down particularly well described a meeting between the young Murray Edmond and Jean-Paul Sartre beside the Waikato River. The two men talked extravagantly, and perhaps drunkenly, about the meaning of life, before the great philosopher made a pass at a young woman who had wandered out of the local pub. The woman and Sartre ended up jumping in the Waikato. Murray ended up bemused.

The audience loved the poem, and not only because of the half-mocking, half-reverential Left Bank accent in which Murray delivered Sartre's lines.

With his intellectual bravura, unabashed concupiscence, and political elan, Jean-Paul Sartre represents much of what I admire about French culture, or a part of French culture. Sartre also represents the antithesis of the life-denying creed of ISIS. No wonder that the suicidal volunteers of ISIS aimed their weapons at the Parisian streets and cafes that Sartre made into a workshop.

The Islamophobes who have responded to the Paris atrocities with demands for the mass deportation of Muslims and the carpet bombing of Middle Eastern cities are the corollary of ISIS, rather than genuine opponents of the group's ideology. When they assert that secular Islam is a contradiction in terms, and that a true Muslim is a violent opponent of civil society and democracy, they echo the pronouncements of ISIS.

The Islamophobes claim that the collective punishment of Muslims is necessary if ISIS is to be defeated. They cannot acknowledge that ISIS is being defeated right now, in the Middle East, by secular Muslims. In the latest issue of the New York Review of Books Jonathan Steele describes how left-wing Kurds, whose militia include hundreds of female volunteers, have liberated a series of towns from ISIS and created their own state in northern Syria. Auckland's Kurdish community has marched down Queen Street to show its support for the fight by their compatriots against ISIS.

The Kurds defeating ISIS in northern Syria have much more in common with Jean-Paul Sartre than they do with the likes of the late and unlamented Jihadi John.

[Posted by Scott Hamilton]


Blogger Richard said...

ISIS and other terrorist groups have increased as a result of US intervention in Iraq and the Middle East. Their attacks in Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein have destabalised the area and ISIS are increasingly gaining recruits from those who see Socialism as a failure, and (as well as a world wide swing towards religion in general) many are seeing this kind of intense religious fanatacism and the courage it generates (similar to that the commandos were able to generate or the SS in WW2, the point is that it works, the commandos were quite effective, the SS, by charging US guns etc were able to defeat the US for psychological reasons, and Marxists gain a similar energy from a kind of fanaticism): so they, ISIS, are, as well as the Hezbollah, are not collapsing, as they have no fear of death: that is the only way a resistance movement can succeed. Paradoxically that creates a "revolution" whose result is a state that is not to (our Western Bourgeois liberal feelings and "ideals" (quaint if charming ideas and ideals of freedom, justice, equality and so on)...meanwhile it is forgotten that the countries they are attacking were already bombing Syria and in fact have a long history of anti-Semitism and the oppression of (Algeria,Egypt and Polynesia). The French also bombed NZ when they thought we were interferring with their criminal bomb testing in the Pacific. Their mates, the US and British were testing bombs on Christmas Island (Kiribati), in Australia, The Marhalls.

If as much publicity had been given to massacres taken place in IndoChina, Korea, Iraq and many other places by the US and other forces including the French, we would be less enthusiastic.

The immediate bombing of Syria is understandable but predictable. NOthing will be acheived except the creation of more converts to ISIS.

It is probably that terrorism will increase throughout the world. It may lead to the total collapse of civilization as our so called wonderful free nations are massively corrupt, sick in fact. ISIS may even win in the long run. There may well be a vast thermonuclear war leading to the total destruction of the planet: created between the drive for a deep religious need and abstraction versus a civilization based on materialism. The outlook is not good. The world is probably fucked.

We need to distance ourselves from the French or those who critique the Moslems (who it is true are all a bit cuckoo for sure): as we will be the next targets. Those in Charlie Hebdo should have been shut down. This attack is only the second. There will be more, French goons in riot gear wont stop it. The best the Israelis have managed is a kind of balance. And they can (for now) all race away to New York if the going gets tough.

The Maori would call thes so call "terrorist" attacks "utu" as a kind of redress for wrongs, even if the original cause of offense has long been forgotten. It doesn't matter, the madmen, increasing, may keep increasing, and then there will be an attempt to carpet bomb (which failed in Vietnam and elsewhere) or other military solutions: this will increase membership of such as ISIS, more terrorist attacks, more Charlies and wailing about freedom, more attacks, infinitum.

These point to the causes. We need to understand the causes (or at least it is interesting as in those films the hero or villain is told why he is being killed at the moment of despatch, which of course is always the time there is a rescue, but there is no rescue from the curse, the evil indeed, that seems embedded in the human soul). One cause is the hunger by humans for more than the material, which leads, has lead, to puritanism in the West: and in the east. It is now West versus East with the various secret services probably turning a blind eye or using agents prvocateurs. They probably don't know what (in reality) they are doing. But it will continue. No one seems to be able to stop war: it seems to be inbuilt into the human psyche

11:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And you can thank all the retards who elected George Jr. TWICE...forgetting about what a joke his father was to the point that George Sr. didn't get reelected after his failed term! Great rant Richard.

5:29 am  
Blogger Richard said...

I think that a lot of the present situation can be blamed on Bush and what I call "small money" (near-billionaires and millionnaires rather than multi billionnaires who I call "big money).

I don't think that big money is much interested in war etc or even wanted or needed to invest in oil in the Middle East, although they didn't object too much. But small money with Bush etc (who'se own oil interests had failed) wanted to get in with the Bin Ladens. This lead, paradoxically, to Bush insisting on an attack on Iraq. But his advisers, as far as we can know anything about what was going on, were said to have advised against this "shock and awe" stuff, which was good for Bush in terms of votes by the Great Unwashed who voted him in again (I think there has been some positive and good things from Obama much as the Repulicans and others rant against him). But the damage has been done, and add to that all the other US adventures, and those of the French and the British. The British and French in the years prior to WW2 maintained their empires by more subtle means. They did come up against various terrorisms, rebellions or uprisings etc. But they were there for some time. The US though seem unable to quit and now they have reaped madness. Their psychos in uniform have created psychos who add a kind of absolute absolutist religion to the mix. The madness becomes completely non-negotiable. But there are differences, as the Palestinians, I think, have a stronger cause. And there are other examples. Afghanistan and the Afghanistani people should have been left alone.

If the US wanted to do anything, they needed to use undercover counter agents and special groups to track down the perpetrators. But they needed to consult those in power in those countries. They also needed to look at their own actions. As it happened, they didn't even involve the United Nations, and Bush was so obssessed, rather like a Hitler, that when Peter Arnett, the NZ born journalist (winner of a Pulitzer, and one of the few with the courage to stay in Iraq in both Gulf Wars even when the US et al were bombing): when he identified a milk factory as a milk factory in Iraq (as he was inside it), Bush became as angry as Hitler hearing his generals tell him they were losing to the Russians at Stalingrad. So butcher Bush was convinced that it was a nuclear arms or research factory, but it was a milk powder factory. Meanwhile the US had destroyed what was a relatively moderate and enlightened structure and nation. Most of the victims were men women and children who were not combatents, and, as usual, these were targeted as they were in Vietnam etc.

Horrific as the attacks in France are, and they are so monstrous, it is impossible for me to feel much at all about them: I simply cant process it. Horrible as they are, done by the fanatical Moslem psychos created by the adventures of Bush and his mates hungry for more money and power and perhaps to head off the Russians: this event will be used by the political forces and ambitious small money, arms suppliers and so on.

11:37 am  
Blogger Richard said...

A paranoid might think that "they" want perpetual war. (Because I'm paranoid doesn't mean that someone isn't sneaking up behind me to stab me with a knife). Perpetual war is one way of alleviating the overproduction problems of Capitalism, although I don't think that the 'paranoids' are right to assume it is all planned by the Illuminati or the Rothschilds etc I don't think the Rothschilds, who are Old Big Money, are themselves very interested.

Meanwhile the French have to certainly up their military defense inside France, and probably immigration needs to stopped altogether. They have to take strong measures for sure but bombing Syria will only increase the psycho content and numbers of the disaffected who will or may join ISIS or The Brotherhood (!)

What can we do apart from ranting on the internet? All our comments are ultimately rants. But there seems to be a psychological need to comment, to partake somehow.

But it is certainly scary: we have the insane head cutters versus an close to insane Western military. It could all eventually escalate out of control but we probably can rely on luck. With luck the Iranians etc will take the ISIS to pieces, as they are an embarrassment to most Moslems. The Kurds are more or less allied to the US et al and the Turks are conflicted.

However, as much as we can, we can at least try to understand how these organisations, primarily based on the abstractions of religion and the unknown etc, come about (as Christianity did, the Moslemic religion is seen as schismatic by the Christians, which is why Dante put Mahomet in Hell in his Divina Commedia! Yes, there he is, with Uggolino and unbaptised children, writhing in the endless fires of Hell!!) and our own, or is it ours? Bible is full of smiting and killing and arbitrary "justice" (often in beautiful poetic language)...

What is fascinating about the Moslem ethos etc is the wonderful art of the Alhambra and the great mosques and so on in Arabia etc The designs are always abstract. The move, against the Christian depictions of saints and so on, is away from the human. It is what Browning might be referring to in his great 'Caliban upon Setebos' when there are two gods, as Caliban tries to conceive or puzzle out, one is The Silence. It cant be understood, it is possibly indifferent to Caliban (human or half human) fate, or it might be concerned...Caliban keeps trying and trying to understand how he became and what is the nature of God....but the Moslems, by and large, don't question it like Caliban, they KNOW. Once this happens you are, if not insane, in a deeply abstract, deeply remote mode: add that to political events and a kind of 'Moslem nationalism' contra those who invaded or the Israelis who are always bombing or attacking etc, and you have a new time bomb, a fanatical, insane (to us, we may be wrong, they might be right) Psycho Bomb. Or a kind of disease. Dis ease. Which is what Caliban speculates was the prime cause of Setebos or possibly The Silence. The Silence that doesn't want to know Caliban or us. We are all Calibans.

11:38 am  
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