Je suis Charlie

… sort of.

hebdo-magritte
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René Magritte seems to make sense for all sorts of reasons.

Hardly know what to think or even where to start … shock, outrage, even a twinge of fear but a lot of other things too.

Nothing worth saying can be artic­u­lated in a sound bite or on a badge or a banner. A picture, however …

If we’re going to hold the line against the bullying binary thought police of left or right, religious or atheist, radical or reactionary, control freaks or anarchists, we need to embrace ambivalence, nuance, complexity, fluidity and constant negoti­ation and debate, learning and thinking and listening … and at least try to be honest … and make lots of lists.

We don’t have the death penalty here for murder; never mind for being a bigot, being rude or just a knob … not even (officially) for being brown.
Here.
Elsewhere however … ?

Hari Kunzru, Martin Rowson and Gary Younge were life belts in the tsunami of sancti­mo­nious smug.

Der Golem

bibi golem
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Der Golem spielt mit seinem Modell der Germania … oh no, that was someone else, in another time … Netanyahu plays with his model of a rebuilt Solomon’s Temple … in a Jewish only Jerusalem.

The British and Americans created a Golem to defend the Jewish people (or their interests in the region — enlightened self-interest of course) and as the story dictates, in hubris and absent mindedness, they’ve lost control and now it is the exist­ential threat to the “promised” land.

OK, so why is this not in your portfolio?

Need time to absorb, evaluate.
Carl Boese and Paul Wegener’s movie, “Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam” of 1920, is pretty obscure to start with and likening Netanyahu to Hitler, even slightly, and in jest, is a bit heavy.
But an Israel that relegates even its own one and a half million non-jewish citizens to second class status before the law is an abomin­ation.

He may be made of the same mud as the temple mount but so are about nine and half million Palestinians, a diaspora who can’t go home.

Scapegoat

Scapegoat
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Just added this to my portfolio

Holman Hunt’s weird and lurid little painting, mostly done at Usdum (that’s Mount Sodom to me) on the Dead Sea in Judea, fascinated me as a kid — a tiny day-glo nightmare with a rainbow (the one in Manchester anyway); compelling but obviously mad and a bit crappy.

I didn’t know that he had some sort of crazy millen­arian christian zionist (they have those?) conviction that any jew seeing it would spontan­eously convert to chris­tianity. Hmmm …

And I thought the idea of casting a goat out into the wilderness, on Yom Kippur, to perish, and with it the sins and sorrows of the community with which it was invested, was barmy.

I find it horrible and shameful that our Modern, Civilised society can still so easily be convinced that voodoo shit like that might work.

Buster

buster
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A GBU-28 “bunker busting” 5000lb laser-guided bomb designed, or rather cobbled together, to smash hardened bunkers during the Iraq war.

Hardly used, the manufac­turers found eager customers in the Israeli Airfoce who found it very efficient at demol­ishing appart­ments, mosques, hospitals and schools.

Aiming for the same sort of detached, alienated, ironic feel as Warhol’s gun, it’s as phallic as you could wish — eye in its nose … I’m just not comfortable with its boy toy computer desktop celeb­ration.

Mare Nostrum

medusa hand
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Just added this to my Portfolio.
Been strug­gling with this image for a while. Wanted to use Géricault’s Raft of The Medusa because of its artic­u­lation of, and call to, public outrage, which seems horribly absent nearly 200 years later.

It strikes me that The Mediter­ranean is what binds us in Europe to Africa rather than a moat dividing us.
To turn our backs on fellow people in ultimate need is to turn our backs on our humanity.

I originally had an image from a dream — a hazy mist, a milky, flat sea with tiny reaching hands breaking the oily surface like a matt of seeweed, bobbing rather than waving.
It was too dead, too final.
Just the one strong hand, of one of Géricault’s survivors, still striving, reaching for the horizon and dawn’s rescue was much more powerful and direct.