Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 20th, 2021

A Book Review

Posted on October 25, 2008 (Written in July 22, 2004)

In this book, the author Guy Gilbert describes succinctly and directly about the streets, the violence, the police, the court trials, the prisons, the families that welcome some of these guys… 

It is a testimony of a French priest who lived in the 19th district of Paris. It is a district renowned for its high density of young delinquents, starting at age ten.

Almost 40% of that wretched youth is of North African descents: Algerians and Moroccans kids abandoned by their parents to the streets.

In certain quarters of Paris adolescents walk in bands. The band is actually the real family for its members:

Even after marriage, the visits of a member have priorities over family’s prerequisites. They help each others and take care of the worst case members. They wear tattoos of the children of the downcasts.

Each gang has its breathing domain that other gangs do not trespass. They refuse to talk about their folks to strangers.

It takes time to open up enough, even for a friend of theirs, to talk about their folks.

Their parents are generally traditional: 

They ask for formal, sophisticated and religious ceremonies, marriages and for baptizing their children. It is a way to seek values and roots in formal ceremonies.

A few replies of these delinquents may shed a better idea of their family’s problems.

One gang member found between two trash cans characterized the situation as:

“At least these trash cans don’t shout and know how to shut up”.

Six half brothers from six different fathers relentlessly compared their genes to discover a common denominators in their characteristics.

Living quarters with no widows, or windows facing walls, are good incentives for taking to the streets.

Alcoholic parents with a pattern of uninteresting jobs, long work hours, several hours spent for transport to work,,,, do not leave much time to care for kids. 

Kids stay late at night around clubs, pubs and drinking places until their parents are soundly asleep: 

They try to skip the regular physical violence and verbal abuses and hurts.

Kids would vanish for months, come in, and open the refrigerator,take a coca cola can and leave; no questions asked.

Guy Gilbert, the priest, lives in a room in the same locality of one gang. Guy rides a motorcycle, a Honda 500, and wears the black leather dresses of the gangs.

He is assisted by three salaried persons who manage a permanent center.

Only full time and salaried educators can succeed in this time consuming task:

Once a gang member receives a genuine listening ear, then he invariably becomes a monster hoarder of time for any assistant. 

Guy was ordained in Algeria during the Algerian revolution in 1965. He took care of a 12 years old who was forced by his parents to eat the leftovers of their dog and from the same dish.

It took a whole year for the kid to start talking and communicating.

A Priest Amidst “Les Loubards” (Continue 2, July 22, 2004) 

How a few of these welcoming families changed for the better after adopting a member, how they had to relocate so that they could welcome the visits of the gang’s members, the vacations of these groups of delinquents, around 130 boys and 20 girls,

The kind of work they prefer and how he goes about to helping them find jobs,the professional educators, the deaths of some of these guys, and the approaches he had to take in order to be accepted by the gangs as one of them.

Guy spent at first a lot of time in metros, the place of choice for the gathering of the guys.

He patiently studied their slang, their behaviors, their attitudes and movements. 

These gangs have the instincts of the savages:  they appreciate brute force,

They have sharp feelings about how they are perceived and they can’t read or write.

Their vocabulary is restricted to about 400 words at most.

Guy had to physically fight a leader of a gang to be inducted as one of theirs. He received many blows from newcomers and outside gang leaders.

Guy refused to take contributions after Sunday Masses from the parishioners because the guys sensed that the money was not meant for their cause.

He would ask the parishioners to drop by the permanent center for any monetary contributions.

Once people start befriending the gang members and listening to them, hardly any misdemeanors occur in the cooperating neighborhood.

Getting together to send letters and postcards to the imprisoned guys is a major task.  

Letters relieve the loneliness of the prisoners and strengthen the links of solidarity and loyalty among the gang members.

Prisoners would refer other lonelier prisoners to receive postcards.

Selecting committees for welcoming the discharged prisoners was taken seriously.

Fancy dinners with plenty of booze were meant for the released prisoner to regain a taste for life.

Vacations in winters and summers are joyously welcomed.

Trips to Morocco, the snow or at the provinces are expected; as long it is outside Paris.

The gang members hop in the old van and truck and off they go.

Most of them never saw the snow:

“When you see this glorious nature, your outlook to life changes somehow” said a guy.

In the Provence, they remodeled and rebuilt an old house on a farm.

A leader of the gang made it a habit to kick doors open; and he was disappointed to find no doors in the house. By the end of the three month-vacation, he installed doors.

He then warned the priest never to allow any member to kick his man-made doors.

Wells were cleaned from three generations of waste.

Windows were refurbished and a new roof installed.

BDS vs. the lie of ‘woke Zionism’

“Woke Zionism” is a lie that seeks to conflate anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

BY OLIVIA KATBI SMITH AND DYLAN SABA.

We must respond by reaffirming the reality and demands of Palestinians living under apartheid.

Amidst the post-Trump euphoria and inauguration festivities, President Biden’s Secretary of State nominee quietly affirmed the new administration’s intent to keep the U.S. embassy to Israel in the disputed city of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, the military occupation and colonial settlement of the West Bank continues unabated, despite immense cost in lives and human dignity as well as near-ubiquitous global condemnation.

Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas on earth, remains under siege; its nearly two million inhabitants (over 40% of which are under the age of 14, and most of them are refugees from other parts of Palestine) do their best to carry on despite serial Israeli bombing campaigns from which Gazans are materially unable to rebuild.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new front to Israeli apartheid, as Israel refuses to provide vaccinations to millions of Palestinians within its sovereign domain.

The incoming Biden administration has signaled no desire to deviate from the unflinching American political, military, and diplomatic support for Israel that has maintained these degrading conditions for decades.   

In response, the American left, freshly torqued off four years of a Trump presidency and an insurgent Bernie Sanders presidential run, has seen the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the Red Nation, and other left organizations join the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.

This call to end Israeli apartheid was originally initiated by wide swaths of Palestinian civil society in 2005.

The BDS movement emerged after the relative failure of two intifadas (the first unarmed and the second armed), bilateral negotiations mediated by the US, and appeals to US-controlled international bodies.

It calls for an international boycott of Israeli institutions that uphold the apartheid regime until three demands are met:

1) the end of Israeli occupation and colonization of lands, including the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights and the dismantling of the Wall of Shame;

2) recognition of the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3) recognition and promotion of the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Since its initiation, it has gained notable steam both globally and in the US as various unions, churches, NGOs, movement organizations, and celebrity activists and academics have pledged support for the effort.

Unsurprisingly, BDS has been systemically opposed by those in the US who support apartheid.

For years, critics have argued that the BDS movement is unfairly targeting Israel for its human rights and humanitarian abuses, since other such atrocities exist around the world without corresponding boycotts.

Critics claim on this basis that support for BDS within the US is veiled antisemitism directed at the only Jewish majority nation and that opposition to the occupation of Palestine operates as a cover for this hidden animus.

They point to growing incidents of antisemitism nationally and to openly antisemitic statements and demonstrations from neo-Nazi movements as part of a rising tide of cross-ideological antisemitism, of which they view the BDS movement as one expression.

It should go without saying that these criticisms are completely unfounded.

There is no reason why Palestinian civil society should be expected to organize boycott campaigns against other repressive regimes aside from the one imposing apartheid on their homeland.

The BDS movement directly targets those state institutions and private corporations which uphold the apartheid regime. This includes security and technology firms, but also universities and agricultural businesses that support the infrastructure of apartheid and occupation.

Any entity that refuses to participate in the oppression of Palestinians is by definition not a target of BDS. Neither is any person in their individual capacity as an Israeli subject to BDS. 

Help Mondoweiss match a $30,000 challenge!

Nevertheless, the smear of antisemitism has been increasingly levied against BDS and its proponents in the United States and Britain.

Jeremy Corbyn, former leader of Britain’s Labour Party, has been an outspoken supporter of the Palestinian cause throughout his career, including through partial support for BDS. As a result, he and his allies in the party have been plagued by unsubstantiated accusations of antisemitism (based entirely on this support) since his 2015 ascendancy to party leadership.

These accusations from conservative forces within the Labour party escalated into an all-out witch hunt, resulting in a purge of hundreds of party members.

Corbyn himself was eventually suspended from the party and forced to apologize, even after it was revealed that his own party intentionally sabotaged his campaign.

New Labour leader Keir Starmer and his allies have made it their mission to eradicate any trace of respect for Palestinian rights and dignity from the party, creating purge lists of Labour MPs and members. 

This strategy has been so successful in Britain that pro-Israel counterparts in the US are now seeking to replicate it.

In the Fall of 2020, New York City DSA was lambasted by the Israel lobby and friends when the chapter’s city council questionnaire was leaked, asking candidates if they would pledge not to travel to Israel.

Following this, 50 Democrats in the New York State Assembly signed a statement suggesting DSA should be banned from its halls. And just last month, Queens DSA became the subject of a city council candidate forum after Soma Syed, a candidate who sought DSA’s endorsement, walked back her previous, favorable position on BDS, dragged DSA through the mud, and pledged her loyalty to capitalism.

Another frequent critic of DSA and self-proclaimed “pro-Israel progressive” Ritchie Torres has called BDS “an insidious form of antisemitism,” arguing “the act of singling out Israel as BDS has done is the definition of discrimination.”

Andrew Yang, who is now running for mayor of New York City, even went so far as to compare participants in BDS with Nazis refusing to patronize Jewish establishments in the lead up to the Holocaust.

Perhaps the best way to understand this phenomenon is as a marriage of convenience between the institutional forces within center-left parties opposed to socialists in their ranks and an Israel lobby concerned about growing momentum for BDS.

To this end, the framing of BDS as a front for left antisemitism accomplishes a dual function: first, it serves to castigate the anti-Zionist left in the ostensibly progressive language of nondiscrimination, and second, it serves to delegitimize the preeminent form of nonviolent Palestinian resistance by conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism. 

In order to criticize the left in ostensibly progressive terms, the antisemitism smear employs a perverse form of what Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò dubs deference epistemology: the discursive practice of “listening to the most marginalized” or deferring to those in the proverbial room whose lived experiences are most at issue.

In the United States, Palestinians suffering under occupation tend not to be in the room, and advocates for BDS are generally engaging in political solidarity.

By redefining all solidarity action with Palestine as antisemitism, BDS critics demand ultimate deference to Jews directly experiencing antisemitism, cropping both Palestinians experiencing violent apartheid and their advocates out of the conversation.

Excluded by this institutionalized mandate for deference, oppressed Palestinians are prevented from defining the scope and source of their own harm; instead, that power is awarded to their oppressors. This allows critics from within nominally left-leaning institutions to oppose solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement, and indeed to oppose leftist political currents more broadly, all while maintaining their claims on a progressive identity and brand.

Wielding the language of identitarian politics against the left is not unique to proponents of Israel. In their 2016 presidential primary, Hillary Clinton infamously derided the Bernie Sanders campaign with the quip “if we broke up the banks tomorrow, would that end racism?” ( And Hillary lost the Presidency because Sanders followers refused to vote for her)

We can look to just a few months ago, when Democrat mayors were renaming streets and painting Black Lives Matter on roads while simultaneously increasing the budgets and military equipment of their police forces to see how the cooptation of identity and branding works to quell real movements for change.

Accordingly, it should come as no surprise that this strategy of specious progressivism forms the backbone of messaging against the anti-Zionist left. 

This framing aims to conflate anti-Zionism and antisemitism, and does so with some success. Political institutions in the United States and Britain have been systematically adopting formal definitions of antisemitism that are vague enough to include targeted criticism of the state of Israel—most notably the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, a definition so controversial that its original author now opposes its formal use.

By adopting these expansive definitions and then referring to them as evidence for the claim that BDS is antisemitic, institutional actors tautologically identify BDS as the left expression of a cross-ideological wave of antisemitism.

This is of course absurd: neo-Nazis such as Richard Spencer and his ilk are both openly antisemitic and support the Zionist project, going so far as to use it as inspiration for their imagined American ethnostate.

This association, which is common enough to be stated openly, is a much more damning one than any between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. Additionally, there are many anti-Zionist Jews who support Palestinian liberation as well as BDS.

Nevertheless, these contradictions are routinely ignored, and the false association between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is assumed to be self-evident. 

Critically, the success of this rhetorical strategy, which we might call “Woke Zionism”, depends on the irrelevance of material Palestinian suffering. If proponents of BDS are antisemites operating based on anti-Jewish animus, the substantive basis of their claim—namely the inhumanity of the occupation—can be ignored as pretext for a covert bigotry.

Under the logic of Woke Zionism, the American BDS advocate is merely appropriating alleged harms suffered by Palestinians as a guise for covert bigotry.

As such, Palestinians, their experiences, and their harms endured are quickly evacuated from the discourse. There is a marked shift in subject: the material harms of occupation are supplanted by the supposed harms a national boycott inflicts on non-nationals of the same religion thousands of miles away.

This becomes an increasingly attractive rhetorical move for supporters of the status quo as conditions on the ground in Palestine worsen and the indignities of the Zionist project become harder to dismiss or justify on their face.

While the particular rhetorical tactic of Woke Zionism is a relatively modern innovation, the erasure of Palestinian existence, both physically and discursively, is one of Zionism’s fundamental features. “

“A land without a people for a people without a land” is more than a foundational myth for the Israeli state; it is the aspirational horizon that Zionism, as a settler-colonial project and as an ideology, is constantly operating towards.

It is to this end that more crass Zionists will insist, as a rebuttal to the charge of oppression, that Palestine does not exist and the Palestinians are an invented people.

The physical Zionist project operates to concentrate Palestinians living in historic Palestine into Bantustans, clearing the way for the expansion of the Israeli state.

To the same extent, its ideological commitment is to the de-subjectification of the Palestinians, scouring clean the discursive terrain to allow for Zionist logic to take root. Palestinian suffering must always be folded back into the frame of Jewish subjectivity.

For this reason, it is critical that we respond by reaffirming the subjectivity of Palestinians living under apartheid. Pro-Israel critics have clearly decided to attack BDS with specious claims of antisemitism because they are not comfortable defending apartheid directly.

Likewise, conservative forces within center-left institutions see an opportunity to scold the left in its own increasingly popular lexicon. As socialists, and as supporters of the Palestinian cause, we must reject this entire discursive frame. 

In DSA, we have already seen our own candidates and elected officials smeared along these lines, and we should only expect this to escalate as our movement builds power. Democrat and so-called progressive candidates for elected office will most often default to “security for Israel” and “the two-state solution” as their “safe space”: their uncontroversial, unexamined, and unquestioned position on Israel/Palestine.

If progressives are serious about challenging the status quo, their default position should not be to defend the status quo, which in this case happens to be an apartheid regime. If they feel the need to default, it should be to their values: equality for all and respect for human rights.

In any other context, this would be uncontroversial, and upholding these values consistently is all that the BDS movement asks.

So from those who claim to be progressives who support Israel, we’d like to know: which of the three objectives of the BDS Movement do you so vehemently oppose? Is it the demand to end Israel’s illegal occupation and colonization of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan Heights, and to dismantle the apartheid wall?

Do you oppose recognizing the fundamental rights and full equality of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel? Or is it the right of return for Palestinian refugees who were forced from their homes as stipulated in UN resolution 194 that you can’t abide?

Like it or not, these are the only demands of the BDS Movement. Claiming that the movement represents anything other than demands for equality, freedom, and justice for Palestinians is simply false.

Our job as socialists is not to be defensive and apologetic when faced with baseless accusations meant to derail our advocacy, but to be proactive in promoting the virtue of our cause. We stand with Palestine because the Israeli apartheid regime is an ongoing and pervasive affront to law, justice, and fundamental principles of human dignity.

Anyone seeking to smear us, our candidates, and our organizations with ugly accusations of antisemitism should be made to answer why they do not.

The original version of this article ran in Partisan on March 30, 2021 under the title “Reclaiming the Palestinian Subject.” 

Partisan is a forum for communist discussion created by members from four caucuses in the Democratic Socialists of America: the Communist Caucus, the Red Caucus in Portland, Oregon, Emerge in New York City, New York, and Red Star in San Francisco, California. 

Titbits #247

Indo-Pacific region new market is a hot target for colonial powers. This region includes India, South-East Asian countries, Indonesia and Australia. “More than 50% of the world’s population, 3,000 different languages, several of the world’s largest militaries…two of the three largest economies…the most populous nation in the world, the largest democracy, and the largest Muslim-majority nation.” It’s also the heart of global trade.

This year 2021, there is a shift of an entire month between the resurrection of Jesus at the Catholic and Orthodox churches. The Catholic had Jesus dying and resurrecting while the Orthodox consider Jesus still walking toward Jerusalem on this glorious Spring day.

Glucophage? A toxic chemical that has been heavily used for decades by multinational Agro-businesses, including Monsanto. The range of diseases includes gluten intolerance, autism, diabetics, celiac illnesses…

Research demonstrated that Glucophage is the cause for countless chronic illnesses that start since we are born. The constant ingestion of small antibiotics doses in industrial food destroy our micro-bio that stabilizes our system. Cereals are sprayed with Glucophage 200 times the tolerated dose for vegetables. This chemical generates glycine, an analogue product that emuate amino-acids and confuses the system.

Are Flying, pregnancy, or taking the pill… all carry far much higher blood clot risks than the J&J vaccine?

“I’m such a poor little fool; do tell me, when I do wrong”

He who is Not with me is against me”? As the gentleman said who was notoriously capable of coarse distinctions and puerile generalities”. People such as maybe Oliver Cromwell, George Washington, a few saints and prophets? Definitely George W. Bush Jr. , Donald Trump… And this radical Jewish Mathew who could Not stoop to be a disciple of Jesus, unless he is a descendent of David, even a fabricated genealogy.

Daydream a lot: That’s the only knowledge that you will retain. Be careful how you daydream and what you dream about.

Ultimately, in the latest hours, we are alone with our fears. No faith or knowledge will be of any help in our anxiety for the unknown. Damn it! A little push for a joyful illusion can go a long way to people gathered around you. Sort of: “What the fuck, I am going to My Heaven”

There is No malice in me: Just a childlike questioning of everything, wrapped in an adult acquired sense of humor

It is still a monolog in a quiet gathering. Listening intently is an acquired skill, out of respect for the implicit toil and suffering of the opinion of the other. And out of respect for our flexible state of mind and emotions.

History is a continuum of “Songs in the time of Order”. A tacit agreement for the subsequent blood letting, torture and indignities heaped on the living species and on Nature. The Silent majority in each community desperately want to obliterate the consequences of its cowing down to the status quo.

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that much infusion of ever increasing budgets for public institutions spoil the savings of taxpayers, and that very little budget lead to embezzling the common citizens

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, only a tap on level of inflation for the basic staples in a sustained economic system can stabilize the unrests in societies.

I can’t recall that I ever wept, and I wonder if there is a hidden emotion that will open the gate to give way to loosely shed luxury tears

What kinds of frequent referendum is needed for our ideas in order to stop our earthly recall of our ambitions?

China institutions can put 500 million chinese to work on any project, as during Mao decades ago. China has more professional, skilled and qualified middle managers than all USA population. A tight control on evaluating these candidates for the State institutions and project.

Calls on multinationals still operating in Myanmar to divest until the military coup ends. These multinationals are effectively cooperating with the junta.

Letters to divest their business activities and financial support to Myanmar junta have been sent to the CEOs of ten of them: the French hotel chain Accor, the French TV group Canal+, America’s Chevron, Sweden’s Ericsson, Korea’s Lotte Hotels and Resorts, Japan’s Okura Nikko Hotel Management, the South Korean steel and energy giant POSCO, the Norwegian state telecom company Telenor, the French oil firm Total and the Anglo-Dutch food processing conglomerate Unilever.


adonis49

adonis49

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