A picture taken before the bomb fell
A picture taken before the bomb fell
Neither Victims nor executioners
…For my part, I am fairly sure that I have made the choice. And, having chosen, I think that I must speak out, that I must state that I will never again be one of those, whoever they be, who compromise with murder, and that I must take the consequences of such a decision. The thing is done, and that is as far as I can go at present…. However, I want to make clear the spirit in which this article is written.
We are asked to love or to hate such and such a country and such and such a people. But some of us feel too strongly our common humanity to make such a choice. Those who really love the Russian people, in gratitude for what they have never ceased to be–that world leaven which Tolstoy and Gorky
The Wanderer and His Shadow
284 The means to a genuine peace. -No government at present concedes that it maintains an army in order to satisfy occasional desires for conquest; instead, it is supposed to serve the purpose of self-defense. The morality that justifies self-defense is called upon as its advocate. But that means: reserving morality for ourselves and immorality for our neighbor, because he must be thought to be aggressive and imperialistic, if our state has to be thinking about the means of self-defense; moreover, our explanation of why we need an army declares him, who denies his aggressiveness just as much as our state does and for his part, too, supposedly maintains an army only for reasons of self-defense,
I joined the Marines in 1992; the draft ended that year, so I was one of the last that had to go into military service. If I had stayed at school, I would have gotten an exemption, but I wanted to leave, but I also didn’t want to join the regular army. I had never really thought about joining the military, not because of some special reasons; it just didn’t seem so excited. Until then, most men in Holland had been drafted into the army for 12 months, and I had only heard stories about boredom and that it was a waste of time. Only if you got lucky could you get some kind of education out of it that is useful later in life, like medical training or getting your truck driver’s license. I don’t know how I got the idea to join the Marines, but probably because I still went to school in Rotterdam, and Rotterdam is the Marines’ spiritual home, so I guess that’s how I came in contact with it.
This week I watched a documentary called “5 broken cameras” from 2012 in a local theater. Before I talk about this, I have to say that now the Corona restrictions are loosened it is nice to meet people again. I know that a lot of people have problems with these restrictions or don’t even believe that Corona is real but please respect the people that take it seriously. I am happy to live in a country where mask mandates are lifted but people still wear them because it is recommended. Another reason I mention this is because of the subject matter of the documentary I want to talk about, it goes about the conflict between the Israeli state and the Palestinians. People that have a problem with Corona restrictions should realize that living in fear in Gaza is a problem, not doing what you want to do to protect vulnerable fellow citizens is NOT a real problem.
The documentary 5 broken cameras is a film about a small town, where people live their lives as good as possible and then they get confronted with Israeli settlers that slowly eat away the farm land they have used for generations. Emad Burnat was one of these farmers that had a chance to film the birth of his latest son and he discovered that he couldn’t let go of the camera. He took it with him wherever he went, also when the villagers started demonstrating against the barriers that were put In front of them. The protest looked no different then any protest you might see in your own country, and were more or less tolerated in the beginning by the occupying forces (I use occupation as a statement, it is heavily debated and in theory you can go both ways but in practice it is clear who is in charge). The reaction of the Israeli forces, they don’t look like police in riot gear, become more extreme the longer these protests go on. That it becomes more extreme you can tell by exceedingly violent methods his 5 consecutive cameras are being destroyed, at the end you see him filming a sniper in the distance aiming at his camera (or him?) before the camera goes black again.
Imagine the first persons that could put one and two together. Who woke up one day not living life, but asking: “why living life?” You might wonder what the point is, me thinking about that, we have a lot of answers, our problems need to be solved, what do I care what our ancestors thought millennia ago.
The smartest way of solving a problem is normally to start at the beginning, you go over all the necessary steps to make something work and see if one of them is not… working.
Imagine you are one of the first humans that started asking questions. You no longer see the sun rising in the morning, you wonder why it is rising. If that is a problem, it would be wise to start at the beginning and see what you can explain and what not. Eventually we figured out why the sun rises from our perspective, and we figured out a lot more. But have we ever figured out why we live?
Most wars and conflicts are fought over premature answers of that question. We all see our world in colourful details like in a hallucination. But did we put enough effort in answering that first question? If you could answer that question with yes, we would not have all these unnecessary problems in the world like wars and starvation.
Can you answer that question? I don’t know, but it would be a nice experiment if everybody stopped believing what they do and starts learning how to think and loose their fear of uncertainty. Maybe we should start by finding out what all of our hallucinations have in common.
The grownups of this world decided to go to war again, people still hate each other and don’t understand that we only have this life, and that we shouldn’t discard it so easily. The people in power are as ignorant as we all are the only difference is that they are in power. The air of knowledge and certainty hanging around them is a mirage originating from our own mind. What can we do? Not much. I read books to learn and think about it, write about it. But that’s about it, or not? Walking outside you don’t realize that the human world is a rotten place, it’s quite nice and the little lambs are walking around already, would the warmonger feel something when they see something like this? Natures clock is just ticking on regardless it’s children that don’t see its beauty.
To prevent complacency and happiness I took my weekly dose of depressive literature today. The book I chose and started listening to today is from Noam Chomsky and is called: Who rules the world Chomsky is a thinker I can recommend if you want your opinion of the world to get lowered by a mile. I really like his work and I get a lot of inspiration from him, but it is depressive to read his view of the world. In short, he sees America and their friends as a cause of much suffering in the world, a returning theme is the hypocrisy of these states when they call out terrorism done to them and the ease they dismiss there meddling in the world as being seen as terrorism by the receiving end of their meddling. I have no time or the capability to check all the cases Chomsky so easily sums up, I rely on others to do that kind of work and I can safely say that I agree with him after reading a lot of other books about the specific cases. There is a lot going on in the world and if you only consume one side of the story you will miss a lot.
Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it. Noam Chomsky
Reading the specific American or western side is for us westerners not necessary, our cultures is drenched with messages on how to see certain world events. Most of what we consume, through film, tv, media, books, or the internet; even if it is against America and their allies, is for the most part seen through our western eyes and not from the other side. A good example is the recent missile alarm in Hawaii. For 38 minutes those people were afraid that their life was going to end. It was all over the news how terrible that experience was. I happen to watch Democracy now on YouTube that day, I like their critical view. Someone compared it to people in Pakistan and Afghanistan that hear drones flying invisible in the sky, over their heads. For those people it’s like a missile alarm almost every day, they don’t know when the next bomb is coming down, but they know it will, they live in terror on a daily basis like those Americans did for 38 minutes. Which story did you here the most? You probably never realized that those people live under that kind of pressure, and we admire Obama who in this case terrorized those people for years. Obama is the terrorist in the eyes of the victims of a missile hitting the wrong house.
There are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say, ‘That person I see is a savage monster;’ instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do. Noam Chomsky
While doing my picture today I had some Chomsky on, on YouTube. It was a google interview with him. One thing I liked was the story of the workers and artisan’s a hundred years ago who would hire a young boy, if they could afford it, to read books to them while they work. Something I don’t have the money for but thank god for the audio-books. But the point of his story was that the working class in those day was often better informed than the other classes, something that is no longer true. And I agree with him on this, knowledge is so important. People are no longer interested to learn more about the world, it’s easy to pick a side by reading some headlines and following the people you like. On social media an amateurish poem or story about my work gets always more reaction’s than some depressive message about the world. Most people just don’t want to know that stuff, they tell me. But if you want a better world you have to start educating yourself, it’s like the plastic bag they offer you in the store, what does it matter for the environment if you take that one bag, it’s already made… you tell yourself.
I was watching a documentary about the “white helmets” in Syria, this is a group of people that try to get people out of buildings that just collapsed because of explosions caused by one of the warring parties. It’s hard to imagine what these people go true but one of the people said something that made me think. They were in Turkey for training when one of them said that by crossing a border, everything changed, the war was gone.