Tuesday, April 21, 2015

rule of law's slow, cold, vicious violence...,

Guardian |  There are many things about Palestine that are not easily seen from a distance. The beauty of the land, for instance, is not at all obvious. Scripture and travellers’ reports describe a harsh terrain of stone and rocks, a place in which it is difficult to find water or to shelter from the sun. Why would anyone want this land? But then you visit and you understand the attenuated intensity of what you see. You get the sense that there are no wasted gestures, that this is an economical landscape, and that there is great beauty in this economy. The sky is full of clouds that are like flecks of white paint. The olive trees, the leaves of which have silvered undersides, are like an apparition. And even the stones and rocks speak of history, of deep time, and of the consolation that comes with all old places. This is a land of tombs, mountains and mysterious valleys. All this one can only really see at close range.

Another thing one sees, obscured by distance but vivid up close, is that the Israeli oppression of Palestinian people is not necessarily – or at least not always – as crude as western media can make it seem. It is in fact extremely refined, and involves a dizzying assemblage of laws and bylaws, contracts, ancient documents, force, amendments, customs, religion, conventions and sudden irrational moves, all mixed together and imposed with the greatest care.

The impression this insistence on legality confers, from the Israeli side, is of an infinitely patient due process that will eventually pacify the enemy and guarantee security. The reality, from the Palestinian side, is of a suffocating viciousness. The fate of Palestinian Arabs since the nakba has been to be scattered and oppressed by different means: in the West Bank, in Gaza, inside the 1948 borders, in Jerusalem, in refugee camps abroad, in Jordan, in the distant diaspora. In all these places, Palestinians experience restrictions on their freedom and on their movement. To be Palestinian is to be hemmed in. Much of this is done by brute military force from the Israeli Defence Forces – killing for which no later accounting is possible – or on an individual basis in the secret chambers of the Shin Bet. But a lot of it is done according to Israeli law, argued in and approved by Israeli courts, and technically legal, even when the laws in question are bad laws and in clear contravention of international standards and conventions.

The reality is that, as a Palestinian Arab, in order to defend yourself against the persecution you face, not only do you have to be an expert in Israeli law, you also have to be a Jewish Israeli and have the force of the Israeli state as your guarantor. You have to be what you are not, what it is not possible for you to be, in order not to be slowly strangled by the laws arrayed against you. In Israel, there is no pretence that the opposing parties in these cases are equal before the law; or, rather, such a pretence exists, but no one on either side takes it seriously. This has certainly been the reality for the Palestinian families living in Sheikh Jarrah whose homes, built mostly in 1956, inhabited by three or four generations of people, are being taken from them by legal means.


woodensplinter said...

Chicken:Between 1972 and 1991, lawyers say, about 120 mainly African-American men were picked up by Mr. Burge’s “midnight crew,” shocked with cattle prods, beaten with telephone books and suffocated with plastic bags until they confessed to crimes. Mr. Burge was ultimately fired in 1993 after he was linked to a torture case. Statutes of limitation protected him from charges of abuse, but, in 2010, he was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for perjury and obstruction of justice. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/21/opinion/the-violent-legacy-of-chicagos-police.html

or egg?:Three people were shot while sitting in a car about a block from the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park early Monday morning, among 14 people wounded in shootings in the city since Sunday afternoon, according to police. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chicago-shootings-violence-20150419-story.html

BigDonOne said...

Genes will not be denied. This imprisonment culture is even exporting itself ---> http://abcnews.go.com/US/american-convicted-murder-indonesia-sentenced-18-years/story?id=30464225

CNu said...

From the great Adolph Reed, peeped courtesy of Spence's article on Dyson and Westthe interests of black elected officials and the black political class in general are not necessarily isomorphic with those of a “black community,” no more than is the case with respect to any politicians and their constituents in the American political system. http://nonsite.org/editorial/the-real-problem-with-selma The real problem with "no respect for nobody and nobody's life matters nugglets in the hood" is that their interests are in no way isomorphic with those of the "black neighborhoods" in which they're embedded. Precisely why I advocate for an eliminationist approach involving the use of military/national security class surveillance and social network analysis followed up by some domestic signature killings to bring that problem to heel once and for all.

Yup, there'll be some additional tens of thousands missing, but the relative pacification of those poor neighborhoods and the cities in which they're embedded will more than compensate for the momentary extrajudicial servicing with extreme prejudice.