Eagle and serpent

explorations and philosophy: in the world, of the world

Month: March, 2009

Kif Rif

Tanger was nice for a day, so was Chefchaouen.

Blazing sunshine over the port was definitely something to remember, as well as the best mint tea ever, but otherwise Tanger’s ‘decadence’ is a bit overrated. Or then I was just in all the wrong places.

On the other hand, Chefchaouen was a surprise. The smell of Amsterdam in Africa, didn’t expect that! Nice for a day as well… Just don’t like the atmosphere of a town where ferryloads of Spaniards come just for one reason. If there is only one thing worse than mass tourism, it’s drug tourism.

Well, now in the imperial (and quite impressive) city of Fez. Medina abyss, everyone that knows, knows.

Tomorrow off to south.

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Al-Ándalus

Ah, the edge of Europe! Seeing Africa across the strait is a funny feeling. Tomorrow morning, the ferry takes me to the Caliphate proper…

Just few reflections of my time here in Andalucía. First, the cities and general atmosphere are more civilised than I thought, being at first a bit worried about the contrast between Catalunya and the deep south. There are some real differences though, for example the apparent vicinity of Africa and Arabic-speaking world… Crafts, names and particularly music (the flamenco songs reminded me of the minarets) are something very different.

Last, the gitano would be better off if he sometimes would not be his boorish self. True, just a total tourist (like me) tries to order a tostada in the evening, but making it a public joke is not necessarily good for business. Some elegance and hospitability beyond greediness would make the toothless smile even more appealing.

Well, tomorrow towards the new vistas!

One way ticket

Those who know me also know that I’m not quite a morning person. That’s why waking up after five without the alarm (after the end-of-semester-party @ NHAC) seems a bit odd.

Itchy feet, travel fever, you name it; after a long while I’m off to somewhere! Don’t quite know where, but definitely somewhere where the pollution of artificial lighting doesn’t dim the stars…

Just have to be careful; after a while of gazing the desert it might start gazing back!

“Summit and abyss-these are now comprised together!”

That’s the nature of good travelling as well…

Trying to keep this blog posted!

Anglo media and Gaza

Attending a seminar about Israeli apartheid at SOAS last week was truly intriguing. The last session (the only one I had the opportunity to attend) was about Western media and how it reported the most recent Gaza aggression.

As many of us suspected, US corporate media has no journalistic mission. Hence, is it possible to speak of money ‘creeping in’ anymore? As pointed out, commercial media corporations have audiences, agendas and sets of powerful stakeholders. This means that money (among other things), is an issue. In skilful hands, it can be effectively used to manage public opinion, which was done in the case of Gaza, early this year. Among other things, casus belli was fabricated-“it was them again, we have to respond…”

On one hand, one of the two forces at play, media is being unified in the face of the global economic downturn-media houses cannot afford to have reporters, translators and related experts in-house, reports (and reporters) are bought, um, outsourced. On the other hand, independent media is growing rapidly, and sites that observe and publish stories written by independent reporters around the world are becoming sources that collect material without the money-bias (other biases, surely). This is the way up-to-date, non-IDF sourced news were reported and spread during the last conflict.

In the discussion, a couple of interesting points of the film Waltz with Bashir emerged. Beyond the straightforward ‘sympathy for the killers’, animals (dogs and horses) were shown as the creatures suffering from the war, rather than Palestinian civilians. This is how UK and US media work, they present Israeli civilians and soldiers as feeling individuals, whereas Arabs earn the label of a crowd-‘militants’, ‘fanatics’, you name it. This rhetorical strategy is similar to the one used in Viet Nam by the force-feeder of ‘democracy’; the United States of America. This is just another example of attaching otherness to one’s enemies. But this is of course, nothing new.

Assimilation to the occupier’s society and the adoption of Western values fed to the Palestinians as the panacea to peace and prosperity was no news. The same consumerist message is delivered over and over again to the inattentive Western public. But the glorification of collaborators was new. I can understand the ‘will to power’ and using media to achieve this and all kinds of other objectives. But there is nothing more perverse than saying to the subjugated that their continued existence requires self-immolation-the ultimate humiliation!