Re: Cameras for Gaza

From: Boughton Jason (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Jan 14 2009 - 12:39:10 PST

An argument - Is a debate over the objectivity of the media, and the
truth of images, a valid one? Culture is long past appropriating
Truth as a value relative to it's use, and attempting to operate
outside of subjectivity is itself a maneuver, with an object,
inevitably a political one. What is interesting, for image makers, is
a willingness to argue from a position of contradiction and
impossibility. For instance, it is clearly possible to "recognize
the suffering of (one's own) collateral victims" and to hate
violence, but still be less interested in 'peace' than in changing a
particular social relation.

An anecdote - I worked for a small production company some years back,
making installation media for museums, mostly Holocaust memorial
projects. We also did a one historical museum, The South African
Jewish Museum, part of which related the (very heavy) jewish
involvement in the struggle against Apartheid. Our team in South
Africa got an interview with Mandella, and the footage was shipped to
me for editing. Turned out Mandella didn't know that many Jews, other
than the early members of the ANC, many of whom carried out guerilla
operations. His lawyers were Jews, as was his first employer. "And of
course", he said, he had great respect for Menachem Begin, and the
Irgun (an underground militant organization responsible for numerous
attacks in British Mandate Palestine and Egypt) had an enormous
influence on ANC tactics. Knowing that the sponsor of the museum was a
major supporter is Israel, I included this part of the discussion in
the Mandella video. When the producer returned from South Africa and
watched the rough cut he was livid, and demanded that the Irgun part
of the conversation be removed. When I protested on the grounds that
it was in fact what Mandella had to say, he responded "Begin was a
terrorist! My Mandella is a man of peace!"

A fragment of a film - ...Voice over from the latter part of Ici et  
Ailleurs (1974), narrated by Anne-Marie Miéville. notes on picture in  
parentheses -
Munich - September 72: Olympic Games.
A Palestinian commando seizes a dozen hostages from the Isreali team
and threatens to execute them if a hundred of his Palestinian fellows,
prisoners in Isreal, aren't released.
I don't know.
I am sure that there was something else to be done.
Think! The conditions under which that happened:
In Munich, that very day, the strength of imperialism was in television
and billions of spectators demanding a program.
It could have been possible
to take advantage of a world-wide audience listening and say:
"Show this image from time to time!" (still of aftermath of Jordanian  
massacre of Palestinians)
If that was refused,
to take advantage of a world-wide audience watching TV and say:
"You refuse to show this image." - at each final, for instance.
Okay, we'll kill the hostages and we'll be killed afterwards.
And for them as for us,
one finds it silly to die for an image and one is a little scared.
I noticed something, you know, while reading books on concentration  
when the prisoners couldn't stand on their feet
and weren't really worth anything.
at the last stage of physical decay,
well, a prisoner was called a Muslim:
"Twelve million men, women and children were deported, nine million  
were dead."
"For six million of them, their only crime was to be Jewish."
Here is a Jew in such a condition that the SS called him: Muslim.
(A slight inaccuracy here: the term Musselmann was in common use,  
among the Jews and other prisoners as well as the SS. For an  
interesting discussion, see Agamben, "Remnants of Auschwitz", Zone  
Books, 2002, pp. 41-86 
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.