I wake up to news that ‘“Gaza will eventually turn into a city of tents… There will be no buildings,” an Israeli security official tells Israel’s Channel 13’ (via). This is after the Israeli War Minister saying they were fighting “human animals” and vowing to “act accordingly.” Then we get a speech from the US President saying they wholeheartedly support this. If you’re wondering where you’d be during another holocaust, well, you’re here. They’re bombing a concentration camp after a rebellion, and we’re all watching.
How much killing do we witness before breakfast? They say we live in the most peaceful time in history, statistically, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. We’re told that public executions and torture were barbaric and backwards, but how much murder and torture do we see on a daily basis? How much have I seen today? It’s literally delivered with the papers and alerting us constantly through every screen. As Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò says,
i understand, intellectually, that we just have way quicker access to more and more visceral kinds of information about things being fucked up across the planet than we did decades ago. still, though
What I crib from that is the visceral part. All of the news really gets you in the feels. We have access to a much bigger outside, and we can feel it inside. Honestly, it’s too much for me. I don’t watch/read the news and physically turn away from a newsstand if I ever see one. I’ve read enough and seen my own family in the news enough that I know that it’s 90% bullshit, and I just don’t have the energy to dig through it. I try to get my news through people, in person, but it still seeps through the walls. Hell, I’m back with Twitter, my X, again. I’ve had a relapse.
We are daily witness to countless atrocities, and the myth of liberal democracy is that we’re all philosopher kings. We’re supposed to do something about it. That’s the response I hear around the papers, someone should do something. OK, I mean, what? And how? The news is really stuff being done to you. We’re not philosopher kings as much as propagandized peasants.
And yet the myth persists. That if we just form and express the right opinions, the world will be rightly ordered.Meanwhile one class owns the media, buys the politicians, and then holds big bribery festivals called elections. Elections are literally just the rich bribing politicians who spend the money on media and we call it ‘being informed’. It’s really an infestation. Indeed, if you look up the donors to many US politicians, they take tons of money from Israel directly, or arms dealers, or both for good measure. This would be called foreign bribery in any objective context, but the whole thing is somehow obscured by ‘disclosure’. Westerners do terrible things but give them fancy names and do it in public, and so they get away with it. This is the ruling mythology that I call Democracy™. It’s all marketing.
The ruling myth of liberal democracy is that we’re kings because we get to pick a color every few years. In reality we’re still peasants. We’re just peasants in the town square witnessing different people being drawn and quartered. It’s no different, nay, it’s worse, because those people at least had to face and smell the viscera. There was some honesty in that. We have this polite remove from all the horror, but far worse things are done in our names, from the well-stocked arsenals of democracy. The same old brutality is obscured by the news, but still we feel it, viscerally.
This morning, for example, my mother-in-law comes over with the newspaper, which most likely contains news about her brother that was assassinated, and the ongoing battle to even get the body back. I avert my eyes. When Din Anna was murdered I stopped reading the news here (in Sri Lanka). But it’s not like the foreign news is any better. As another example, because I’m back with my toxic X, I see some full-page headlines from the UK, saying the Palestinians are killing babies. This is widely debunked now and stunk in the first place, but who cares, if it bleeds it leads. They’ll happily publish blood libel and bury the correction along with the bodies.Meanwhile Israel is killing actual babies with British bombs and that’s all justified by the blood libel. Never do they get to the actual point, which is the inherent and asymmetrical violence of people with fighter jets doing donuts around an undefended concentration camp. As Paolo Freire said:
Never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed.How could they be the initiators, if they themselves are the result of violence? How could they be the sponsors of something whose objective inauguration called forth their existence as oppressed? There would be no oppressed had there been no prior situation of violence to establish their subjugation.Violence is initiated by those who oppress, who exploit, who fail to recognize others as persons — not by those who are oppressed, exploited, and unrecognized.
This is the forest that we miss for the chopped down trees called newspapers. We have all the detail and none of the context, including the vital context of power. Indeed, the news is produced by the powerful. Who do you think it serves? It’s no different than the Roman concept of bread and circuses, except no fucking bread, just circus. I call it the Cable TV Colosseum. Therein, the latest enemies of empire are trotted out, their humanity explained away, and they’re fed to the lions in public. We consume this horror as news — something for serious people — but it’s really a serious sociopathy. I say we, but who are we kidding, we’re as bloodthirsty as ever. We’ve just globalized the Colosseum into a relentless panopticon.
But, there I go, using the royal ‘we’ again, when I’m really just a provincial peasant, the lowest of the low. Sri Lanka is on the whip end of White Empire, debt slaves to the dollar. I get the same news, but I’m no Roman and I’m not the intended audience. Indeed, more often than not, I’m the type trotted into the Colosseum to bleed for your pleasure. ‘Are you not entertained?’ as Maximus told y’all. Western reporters only contact me when my country is in some state of collapse, and they usually ask me to blame China or whatever other enemy du jour. I’m just there for color commentary on the bodies of my own people. But let me be a foreign correspondent for a minute, and turn the lens back on the heart of Empire.
Westerners will hear about a thousand murders before breakfast, then cheer for more bombers and bombs, like blood-minded children eating sugary cereal and screaming out for the latest toys from Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. That’s all the western news is, ultimately, advertising for arms dealers, with dick pills for the plebs peddled in between. I’d say it’s not their fault because their democracies are just elaborate systems of deception, but these are in no way ‘good’ people as the news lulls them into thinking. And now even that pretence is gone. There used to be some talk of good intentions (helping Ukraine! Saving Afghan women! Defending democracy!) but now even that has cast off. Now people are openly call for genocide against Palestinians, saying they should be ‘eliminated’ or finished’ like a — what’s the phrase — final solution. And that’s cool.
Westerners are still watching and debating the deaths of other humans and never once do they consider fucking off and just not making things worse. All of these wars are advertised as ‘helping’ or preserving order, but they are, in fact, the disorder. But that’s the one option the false choices in the media never give you. The default option for Sri Lankans, which is doing nothing. In that sense we’re better, cause we at least don’t make things worse.
There’s this great western pretence that the destruction of other countries is a polite and civilized things to talk about over the breakfast table. There really has been no progress from their violent European past, they’ve just dragged the whole colonized world into the town square to disembowel us, over and over. These people are really the same as their ancestors who went to the town square to watch a gutting. Only today it’s 24/7 and international. The appetite for destruction has only gotten more relentless. As Guns N’ Roses said:
Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games
We got everything you want, honey, we know the names
We are the people that can find whatever you may need
If you got the money, honey, we got your diseaseIn the jungle, welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your shun-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n, knees, knees
Mwah, ah, I wanna watch you bleed
‘Terrorists’ are trotted out as especially savage savages and, viscerally, it would seem so. Terrorists get their hands dirty, they kill people in front of them, taking risks and even dying for their cause. When viewed through the media lens, this seems especially reprehensible. But this is really just media bias. The story of one killing is much more salient than 10,000 people slaughtered from above. And so it’s easy. Westerners have been telling the story, for example, of colonized people disemboweling babies since the 1640s because it works. And it’s the exact same lie they’re peddling about Palestine now. As Caitlin Johnstone says:
Killing civilians with military explosives is not actually any more humane or civilized than killing them with firearms. They’ll cause gruesome injuries and slow, excruciating deaths by suffocation, burns and body trauma. They’re horrific weapons of mass murder.The one and only reason you don’t see as much shock and horror in response to killing with military explosives as killing with firearms is because killing with military explosives is something you do from far away. When they show video clips of the buildings getting blown up, you’re not seeing the people being crushed to death underneath them and ripped apart in the blasts. It’s just a fun little sanitized clip of an explosion, like you’re watching an action movie or playing a video game.It’s not actually any nicer than if the IDF were running around shooting civilians with rifles or running them through with swords, it’s just more detached, so it lets people psychologically compartmentalize away from what’s really happening.
Or as the Palestinian Mohammed El-Kurd said:
There isn’t much difference between proudly broadcasting the mass murder of a civilian neighborhood and “field executions.” They are both theatrical psychological warfare tactics, but only one has a much higher death toll AND the backing of a complicit international community.
Americans don’t even know how many people were killed in their Terror Wars! It’s close to a million, probably more. And they’re still going! Their soldiers won’t even get their boots dirty and, if they do, it’s an outrage requiring slaughtering thousands more. The greater terror is really not the swarthy man in a suicide vest, but the white man in a suit.
I digress but my thoughts are inchoate. I’ve got my own fucking trauma and then there’s the news, dumping all the trauma of the world into my impotent skull.I was thinking about other things but now all I’m thinking about is war.It’s very difficult to know about a genocide in real-time and to stop knowing about it. But how and why do I even know? I’m just some peasant in a distant province, watching some Palestinians getting massacred, knowing it could be my turn soon enough. We are all forced to watch, because the privatized propaganda empire of the West is so strong. We are all traumatized by their horrors, which is what they want. The central message of public murder and torture is to preserve hierarchy, which is what the falling empire of the West is violently doing now. And so we must be given a dose of killing before our breakfast, wherever we are. By the old gods and new, it makes my nauseous. My heart goes out to Gaza, but my viscera are somewhere on the floor.