Lovely day in Kassel, at about 4:30 am, workers from a local construction company began dismantling Olu Oguibe’s “controversial obelisk made for Documenta 14, titled “Monument to Strangers and Refugees,” (“I was a stranger and you took me in”: Matthew 25:35) with two heavy cranes.
By 9:30 am, the obelisk was entirely gone, strapped to a flatbed truck and sent to a construction site on the outskirts of the city (where it now remains).
Because the premise is a lie … was always. Because family feuds are worse, civil wars not and because antisemitism is not exclusive when it comes to who the semites are … because Trump is, Netanyahu is … not …
And so people die. And live without hope … and now less … if that’s possible.
And not to aesthetisise anyone else’s pain, and not to ignore the ancient greek’s misogyny … why is this shit still going on … I’m not naive, just sad and angry.
I avoided it like the plague a few weeks ago but I had thought … and then thought better of it. Sig Sauer .45 and the Confederate Battle Flag — a toxic mix indeed.
Horribly evocative though it seems to be, it lets the rest of the US off the hook and demonises the working class white “yokels” of the South.
It’s just a month since Dylann Roof shot nine people dead in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, and it’s already dropped off the agenda.
But he was a brutal gift to smugness and white liberal superiority: we don’t do that here. Our agents and proxies, mind … and over there, wherever there is.
If monsters didn’t exist, we’d have to invent them to keep all the badness inside us safe.
And there are an awful lot of unpaid wages, relocation allowances, work-related injury awards, wrongful arrest and imprisonment compensation, and so on and so on. I didn’t do it and it isn’t about some vague guilt but don’t we have to pay our bills, take responsibility like grownups and stand on our own two feet, and not on other peoples’ hands. So when do we start paying back? And FFS, when do we stop?
I get where Andy Warhol was coming from — after all Valerie Solanas used a snub-nosed .22 to try to kill him in 1968 — it was also part of his “noticing” of Americans’ weird obsession with death and killing, to say nothing of his own.
Three decades later and things are not getting any better — indeed it’s been described as a war on the poor. And, in America, that often means by white people against black people, whether in suits or with guns.
There are some gruesome figures here.
I know many people here in the UK who believe whole-heartedly that everyone has the right to use lethal force against anyone who scares them or challenges them … I’m just really pleased that they don’t have access to the tools they want.
Tony Martin, who executed a 16 year old Traveller, Fred Barras, outside his house, with an unlicensed shotgun, for burglary, in 1999, in fact only served 3 years and is a hero and exemplar to many.
This is not at all a peace loving country. Go for a walk through Manchester, Liverpool, London, Glasgow, Plymouth, anywhere … on a Saturday night. And racism is not an American thing. And hopeless, half-educated people who can find no place in the world are everywhere and they rant and rave in the night. And privileged, privately educated people who have the world all sewn up are just as likely to espouse such nightmarish views and they have no need of guns.
But there are almost as many privately held weapons as there are people in the US: over 300 million — about half of all the guns in the world, even though they’re just 5% of the population.
About 20000 people a year in America kill themselves with guns and if you try it using a gun, you’re almost certain to succeed.
But nearly 34000 people died at other people’s hands and over 100000 people were shot but didn’t die in 2013.
And there’s no argument for self defence: for every person killed in self defence, 33 are killed criminally.
And so on and so on …
But the domestic arms industry generated $38 billion in 2013 — big business and it’s handguns they sell and it’s handguns that kill.
And you spend a bit of time, as an innocent Brit, surfing American websites where they review these things like toasters and $600 Sig Sauers are “decent” and reliable but not terribly sexy and where models are hyped with excerpts from action movies with macho thugs like Gibson, Willis and Renner wielding x, y or z. You too …
And it’s not as though there’s nothing to be done — Myths about gun control
And … I really don’t know.
I am just sad in the end. And sorry for those families in Charleston.
Whether it’s the LSE report on “Welfare” and people eating dog biscuits in one of the richest societies on earth or crap about jobs created, wealth creators, creative accounting, the need for austerity, the imminent danger of immigration, the war on terror … the robbing of the poor or disabled or sick to pay the rich in so many ways — robbing peter to pay paul with PFI and student loans, the privatisation of … everything with no mandate or reason at all … I cannot cope with the fact that it’s all crap and it’s all any of them spout … it feels like the parasites have bought our fragile democracy and we must just line up to give blood, wallow in our two minutes hate and then remember that we’ve always been at war with … Feels like a Twilight Zone episode — waking up in a mad mad world.
In some ways, I just want it to all be over.
I know the poster really dates me … and that the busting is quick and crude, rough and ready … but what can you do?
And that is not a rhetorical question — what CAN we do?
OK … trying to be honest.
I posted just the Muslim part on my Portfolio and now I’m not sure I got it right.
UPDATE: (In fact I’ve swapped it for this “wider” version now.)
Essentialist crap — all muslims are … the jews are … is a major part of what got us into this cesspit … not to mention colonial wars, support for brutal dictatorships, globalisation, proxy wars and all the shit we’ve visited on “our” brown cousins abroad.
I’m accidently privileged — no-one’s going to ask me to choose just one allegiance to my country right or wrong, to a particular religious authodoxy, or to a specific racial identification for that matter.
I’d be hard pressed to find any values I do share with Cameron, Merkel or even Hollande but I pass … as “normal”, vanilla (though I’m not O).
Wow, Europeans have very short memories … all of ‘em 🙂
Still, a blood transfusion might well be a sensible precaution before visitng Birmingham again.