Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Purchases, fear, and becoming a net Pariah.

So, among the other things I've done recently, I bought a shiny new computer. With it came the worry that getting through Israeli security would become tougher, as there are all kinds of things they can get a hold of if the security agents deem it necessary to take your computer. They will take your password and they will root through your stuff. Someone I know swears the security went so far as to log into her email, reactivate her deactivated facebook account, delete the photos relating to Palestine, re-name the folders "Israel," delete all of her friends from her account, and -this is really fantastic- change her religion on her profile to 'Jewish.'

Less about security, more about bullying, hazing, and ideological manipulation?
I think so.

If that seems impossible, or an urban legend, or whatever, don't worry, I agree, it's incredibly far-fetched. But not unthinkable. Everything I've heard first hand confirms that, once basic security has been safeguarded, the Israeli security checks are more about furthering warring ideologies and criminalizing diverse things such as Islam, activism, transparent journalism, freedom of ideas, and evenhanded humanitarian concern. Check out what I found in searching for exactly what my rights are as far as travelling, my privacy, and the future of my shiny new computer: What follows is an account both of the absurdity of security culture put into high contrast and a case study exposure of what happens when the internet turns your personal experiences into a controversial propaganda showdown.

Lily Sussman's "I'm sorry, but we blew up your laptop, welcome to Israel"

This incident exploded Lily's computer, and also her blog, into 15 minutes of internet stardom. Check. Out. That. Comments. Section. It's shocking. What resulted in the surrounding posts is a fall-out of hate, dogma, cynicism, all manner of personal attacks, and of course good old fashioned trolling. Lily deleted swathes of texts over the last several years, as it was, y'know, her travel blog, but the impact's still amazing. To see casual text be suddenly blown wide open to this kind of hateful scrutiny is personally chilling. I wonder what my future holds, both in terms of my shiny new computer and my personal reputation. I wonder if it's possible to be involved in this conflict without becoming some kind of Pariah for simply pointing out that systemic violence is a mutually-owned issue, and that one side has the power structure to change that equation.

In short, there are a whole lot of rabid people attached to this issue.

Read More......

Monday, May 30, 2011

Break for nostalgias

Life is good. Beautiful yellow light this morning. Dreaming of homecoming, but so happy here. More soon. Read More......

Friday, May 13, 2011

Third Intifada?

Ususally I reserve my blogging for somewhat considered messages, but not today. There's a LOT going on or possibly not going on. F-16's constantly overhead, friends of mine swearing that there are 2 million people marching towards Gaza in solidarity for the third intifada, security clampdowns on temple mount. In moments of confusion like this some people shine. Apparently I remain confused. I feel alright about that, because apparently everyone else is confused too, including the protesters. People are gathering en-masse in Egypt, alright, but some for general Egyptian unity, some for Fatah-Hamas unity in Palestine, some to remember the Nakba, or catastrophe, of Palestine losing moving from one occupation to the other in 1948, and some for the famed march to Gaza to begin the 3rd intifada. It appears that there's a logistical push-pull and fractiousness between the organizers of the uprising, the government spokespeople and leaders, and the frustrated masses themselves.

Then there's this brilliant, simple video underlining all the things that suck about living under occupation and the situation between Israel and Palestine in general:

This is exactly the kind of video I was encouraging in my students, one that is incredibly simple to make but one that can undeniably make a huge impact on the viewer's understanding of the situation. I love how straightforward it is, how it doesn't overstate things, but goes from subject to subject with clarity, tying them all together. Similar, but lighter, is this humorous version of the same thing:

Sensing a pattern? Palestinians are fed up with the situation, and the developments in the larger political field are reaching a crescendo as well. I don't know about a peaceful intifada beginning as we speak, but something's happening. I'm proud to be here and do what I can to be a part of it.

Then, just to keep things completely off the wall, there's these Christian apocalyptic billboards that we've seen popping up around the West Bank. Apparently they're funded by an end-of-days group in Oakland. Right. Read More......