Apr. 15th, 2015 10:11 pm
eumelia: (Default)
Yom Ha’Shoah is an Israeli holiday Diaspora Jews have adopted, for obvious reasons.

It is commemorated on the 27th of Nisan, to be adjacent to the Hebrew date of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which occurred on April 19th to May 16th, 1943.

It was also made to be adjacent to the Israeli Independence Day, the anniversary of the creation of the State.

This is no coincidence.

I would love nothing more than for this day to be a day of reflection and memorial of the victims and survivors of the Shoah, wherein entire branches of my family tree were decimated. My grandfather had run away from Europe long before the war and he died decades before I ever met him. I will never know who the members of my family. Even if members of my grandfather’s family and community survived, their names have been lost.

But it isn’t a day of reflection and memory.

Tonight Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the Iran nuclear deal was proof the world had not learned its lessons from the Holocaust. This, whilst refugees from Sudan and Eritrea rot in a prison camp and are forcibly deported to Rwanda. This, whilst there is a displaced Palestinian population under siege in our back yard.

Tomorrow an air-raid siren will sound to remind us to stand still in a moment of silence for 6 million members of family.

An air-raid siren.

I know, I know, why can’t I just let this day be about the memory of Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and the survivors who heroically made it out alive.

The above is how that memory is desecrated. If you’re going to commemorate an Israeli holiday, know its cost.


Tumblr crosspost: http://stillnotanonymous.tumblr.com/post/116486214091/yom-hashoah-is-an-israeli-holiday-diaspora-jews
eumelia: (jewish revenge)
Trigger Warnings: Genocide, sexualised violence, and rape.

It being International Woman's Day, I figured I'd talk about the Holocaust.

In case you didn't know, it's more shocking that ever thought. You'd think it was impossible for the Holocaust to be an even more terrible moment in history than it already is perceived and conceived to be.

The New York Times story states:
Thirteen years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe.
The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.

Emphasis mine.

I have to say when I read this, I felt sick. I was honestly shocked. The Holocaust is a piece of history I've taken the time to learn about - entire branches of my family tree were eradicated during the second world war - and much of my knowledge came from what I'd been spoon fed by the education system of my country.

You're probably asking yourselves why I'm talking about this on International Woman's Day.

If you continue reading you'll reach this little factoid:
The documented camps include not only “killing centers” but also thousands of forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named “care” centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel.

Emphasis mine.

Why is The New York Times disinclined to call rape, what it is? I think the idea of rape as a war crime is still something that mainstream media is reluctant to talk about, because rape is sadly ubiquitous in "times of peace".

More to the point, the way rape is perpetrated during war and upon an occupied population is very often misrepresented and downplayed, often because rape, during war, is "expected". It is a risk of war, much like bullets and bombs. If you are a woman in a war zone, you should prepare for the enemy to use their weapons upon you.

"This is my weapon, this is my gun."

My point is that that little titbit is all that was said about the "special treatment" of women during the Holocaust. There is a great deal we do not know about the difference women and men experience war and how acts of war are perpetrated on their bodies.

More often than not, women are not counted as people, but as spoils. Hence the creation of special brothel camps.

Women Under Siege's report to the new findings gives a good overview when it comes to how much more needs to be done in order for justice to really be done.

Rape and genocide go hand in hand. Rape and war go hand in hand. But for some reason, they're not always counted as crimes against humanity.

Tumblr crosspost
eumelia: (cahoots)
As [livejournal.com profile] etrangere said in someone else's post about this subject: "ironic icon is ironic" with regards to the icon adorning this post.

Making the rounds in the X-Men:First Class fandom is a fanart with the captions:
Charles as a British Airborne Medic
Erik as a German SS Officer [...]

Uh, yeah.

You can view the fanart and the artist's explanation as to their motivation in drawing it here.
ETA: Unsurprisingly, the artist has locked their post. Screenshot, because this shit should not be covered up.

ETA: Reading this person's replies to some of the critical comments on their work makes it clear that they have no idea that what they did was problematic. So, if you're going to read the comments, be prepared for more fail.

In the post the artist goes on to say that when they posted the fanart on tumblr they were butchered in the comments, and that if anyone hates the idea of Erik in an SS Officer uniform we should assume that he's undercover.
(Emphasis mine)

Well, thanks for clearing that up! That makes the entire thing absolutely okay and not questionable at all!


Look, the whole thing is in bad taste, for a variety of reasons. For me, the idea of putting a Jewish man in a Nazi uniform and telling anyone who may be offended by it to pretend he's a not actually a Nazi, is grossly insensitive.

There is a history, it's dark and fucked up, it has an aftermath that is hardly spoken outside of Europe and outside of specific communities that may or may not have remained in Europe after the second world war.

What the artist does in their post is an attempt to cover their own ass. They knew, very well, that they were posting a contentious piece of work, which, once posted is open to criticism and the aforementioned contention.

I don't want to pretend that Erik is in an SS Officer's uniform for "good reason". There is, in fact, no "good" reason. No matter how you construe the scenario, Erik in a Nazi uniform is a fucked up notion. No matter what "AU" you imagine that creates a sequence of events which leads to the logical conclusion of Erik wearing a Nazi uniform, it is still a reflection of a history and a reality that happened.

The fetishising of Nazism is a kink which can (ETA: with a great many disclaims and qualifications, if you ask me) be filed under "your kink is not my kink and that's okay". There is still a social and historical context which is open for discussion when fanworks start dabbling in this history which still affects me as a gay Jewish person to a degree that is at times hard to describe.

Not to mention that this dabbling shows how much disregard they have for the subject, the history and the people who are still affected by the fact that the second world war's ramifications are still felt throughout the world.
eumelia: (Default)
That's what I see when I encounter a 100x100 icon of Erik's tattoo.

What tattoo?

The tattoo on his forearm, that was stamped (with needles and ink) on him when he and his family were sent to a concentration camp from a ghetto.

I know screen caps create the illusion of having no context. But the movie uses its first twenty minutes to ensure that we know that Erik has not forgiven the Nazis (human and not) for what they did to him and his family.

I mention this, because I feel it needs to be said that the Nazis marked people entering the camp (Jewish and not) as a way to keep them demoralised, without control and, I'll say it again, dehumanised.

An icon of that number, is a fetish of the aforementioned dehumanisation. What we are seeing on screen happened, in history, in real life, to millions of people.

Erik is fictional, what happened to him is not.

The number tattoo, being reduced to a number, actually happened.

People who went through and survived are still alive.

It is inappropriate to use that number on an icon as a way to present the character is an objectified manner and yes, that is what icons do and that is what they are for.

When we see Erik's tattoo, which is exactly twice, it is in the context of bringing down Nazis, because it is evidence to what was done to him, to Jews, to Gypsies, to homosexual men and women, to anyone the Nazis deemed subhuman and sent to die in a camp designed to kill.

That is what that number means.
eumelia: (bollocks)
Via a comment on a different journal, I read that the mod of the My Chemical Romance Bandom com on LJ wrote a response to what has been going down with the aforementioned AU H/C Bingo fic, in which a depiction of the Holocaust, the camps and the treatment of gays during that time was used as a backdrop for angst of two US soldiers.

Yeah, I read the story.

It makes me fingers itch. I want to grab a red pen and mark and correct and fucking rip that story inside out until something resembling "adequate" comes out of it.

The mod, has this to say:
The story was properly disclaimed, and with plenty of warnings with regards to the themes it dealt with, therefore any comment that is not related to any possible literary criticism, should have been left alone.
I chose not to read it at first, because I am uncomfortable with the themes dealt with, and that could have been the choice of all of those people who thought, at first glance, that they were going to find it offensive.
I am not going to ban this type of stories, because I still believe in freedom of speech and because I believe that if we ban stories that refer to that particular chapter in history, we need to ban stories about incest, about BDSM, torture, rape, and in one case necrophilia.

We write FICTION.


These stories are not historically accurate, these stories ARE NOT just written for sexual gratification.

These stories express part of who we are, what we feel, what lives inside our heads and our hearts.

I hope you will agree that RESPECT for your feelings as readers, should find a corresponding level of RESPECT for the writers.
Emphasis mine
In the words of George Carlin: Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, Tits.
You know what I did there?
I executed my right to "free speech", are you offended?
You know what you have a right to do now?
Yeah, really.

I find it utterly, utterly despicable that criticism of offensive material is considered more offensive than the actual subject discussed.

I hate getting personal about it, but it has to be done, because honestly, it's the only way to get it through people's heads.

I am a Queer Jewish Person.

Depictions of gays and Jewish people during the Holocaust matter to me, on a personal level. You know why? Because whole branches of my family tree were eradicated! An entire Queer European Culture was erased!
After the camps were liberated, gay men were sent to other prisons because homosexuality was still illegal regardless of Nazi legislation!

Just to put that into perspective for you.

The story in question depicted horrors which happened. That is not the problem, the fact that it was used in a cavalier manner, disregarded the actual lives that lived through it, didn't bother to check the facts of what went on in concentration camps, the fact that American soldiers were sent to POW camps and of course putting the picture of the Gates to Auschwitz in order to illustrate the story.

Yes, these stories are fictional, that doesn't make them "untrue", that doesn't mean that the you can use the material available to you without considering who it affects and what it might mean if you use it. If you wanted to explore the themes and torture committed by the Nazi regime onto gays, you might want to find out what actually happened to these men, who they were, why they were persecuted and where they were sent to.
Let me give you a hint, none of them were captured POW experimented upon, mainly because non-Soviet Ally POW's were treated with the Geneva convention in mind.
Just, FYI.

Fiction does not mean "free for all". You do not write in a vacuum. You cannot say "Don't like, don't read", that's like saying "Shut up, your problems are meaningless".
Fiction, all art, is a dialogue.
You want to dialogue with history via fanfiction, by all means. That doesn't mean you, dear author, are immune from criticism when you are writing a story that depicts a period of time with gross inaccuracy and decides that any and all critical reaction to said story is illegitimate because it was "just a story".

Nothing, is "just a story".

We do not live in a vacuum, what you write will be reacted to, fiction is not a vehicle of self-expression, being accused of bad writing and bad taste is not a personal attack, it is a challenge to one's preconceived notions of what good story telling can and should be.
Good story telling does not continue the dehumanisation of people that happened during that period of time, it does not use Arbeit Macht Frei as a code for free speech (it doesn't mean what you think it means!) and saying that people should "be nice to each other" is silencing and derailing and basically tells those of us who are affected by the depictions of our history to suck it up!

When I see a story that treats a subject matter that is close to my heart for historical, personal and identity related reasons treated with utter DISRESPECT I will call on it. I will say that this author does not care, does not think about and is not informed about the subject zie is writing for "just a story", for "self-expression", for the sake of "fiction".

To conclude, if you're going to use free speech as a silencing mechanism for critical reaction of a piece of fiction that depicts controversial material... you're using it wrong.
eumelia: (exterminate!)
Things always hit you harder when they are closer to home.

I had a race fail a few days ago, in which I basically preached to a woman of Japanese descent why the casting of Avatar: The Last Air Bender was racist.
I was called on it.
And I apologised and I was told it wasn't a problem.

Still, the shame continues to linger, because my privilege fogged the way I viewed this person and the way I discussed the issue with this person.

However, you live and learn right.

Well, no.

If history teaches us anything is that we would rather forget, or even not know and you basically need a very strong lobbying group in order for things to be remembered.

The past month or so has seen so much fail in fandom, the Race!Fail, the Trans!Fail, The Abelism, I'm quite sure there were more fail I'd forgotten and seriously, even though I commented only briefly I was outraged and saddened by all of these incidences. People can (and have) asked me why do I put so much energy into issues that don't have much to do with me (yeah, I know), I mean... why get so worked up on something that doesn't directly affect me.

Well, for one, despite the fact that I'm not in the disenfranchised group of non-white people, trans people and disabled people, these issues affect me mainly because the fact that those groups are disenfranchised I can safely go about my day not thinking about it.

But you know why I really take the time to give a damn and cracks my heart wide open? Beyond it being the right thing to do and being in an ethically sound position.

I want to be safe.

I want my body and mind to flourish, and the body I currently inhabit may have a lot of privileges associated with it, but its history is also bloody, by virtue of it being cis female, queer and Jewish.

My Jewish body is very weird thing. On the one hand it is Israeli Jewish, meaning it is the default body of superiority where I live, on the other, it comes from generations of bloodshed, exile, pogroms and genocide.

The history of this genocide, like most genocides oddly enough, is well documented. The violence was recorded, photographed, duplicated and triplicates by well meaning bureaucrats who kept the train tracks clear.

The genocide of my people even has a special name, The Holocaust1, and like all historical events which linger in the collective memory of a people, a nation, a community, we tend to treat it with a deference of some kind. Even as I make Holocaust jokes, and sing "Springtime For Hitler" and make cracks about Germany blitzing its way though the Mundial and yeah, I'm waiting for Germany to serve up Spain's ass in the upcoming Semi-Final...


The Holocaust is an event that continues to shape my life and inform me of who I am, as a Jewish person in Israel and Palestine, as a queer person and as a feminist woman.

It does not, however, as a historical event, exist to be a backdrop to an AU Fanfic about American Soldiers and their love affair. What? The Battle of the Bulge was too tame?!

Yes, someone wrote a story, which has since been locked, but luckly there exists a Screencap (H/T to [personal profile] allchildren). I have not read it. I do not intend to.
I did read the Author's notes though; the warnings read thus:
Beating, abuse, non main character death, scientific experimentation, starvation, physical and emotional damage
Oh and the added disclaimer (after "nasty comments" began to appear) the gist of which is that this piece of work is NOT meant to be historically accurate. Accompanied to this Author's Note is a picture of the gates of Auschwitz, you all know the one, the one that was stolen and returned and reads Arbeit Macht Frei - "Work Makes One Free".
The... writer... of this AU fic stated that they added the picture, not for itself, but for the slogan, the meaning of the words upon the gate.

I've said it before. I'll say it again. I will probably say it for the rest of my life.

Context matters. Context, much like money, makes the world go around. That slogan cannot be removed from the gates it is attached to. Those words do not mean what you think they mean. The work they are talking about is not craft and the liberation they symbolise is not freedom.

A story, does not need to prettify history in order to make palatable for the readers. On the contrary, history should be shown in its grittiest form, it should be shown to be true and it should be portrayed with verisimilitude.

So, when you use a historical backdrop, in which you, dear author, feel the need to excuse yourself that by writing this you are no different from anyone who writes about rape, incest and domestic abuse, then you do not understand what fetishisation means.
You do not understand what treating subjects (people and events) with respect means.
You do not understand what this writing about history means.

You do not understand what context means and beyond that making you a disrespectful, blinkered and privileged fool, it also makes you, no matter your style, no matter how well written the characters are, a really really bad writer.

Personally. I blame Hollywood. And you know, bad education, entitlement and plain good ole' dehumnasation and antisemitism.

Also. No. Just. No.

This Nice Jewish Grrl needs to lie down now as she can't believe fandom sucks so hard right now.

ETA - 09/07/10: The story that is screen capped above is "1945" by [livejournal.com profile] slashxyouxup and is now unlocked. I'm not holding my breath though.

1) Even though we were not the only targeted people. The Roma people and other Gypsy groups were targeted and experimented in the same manner, homosexual men were castrated and murdered and many others. Still though, when you've got an entire country (Poland) set up to be an extermination station, while special Commando forces, Einsatzgruppen, are sweeping though Europe targeting Jewish Communities, you're going to feel that this is the Pogrom to end all Pogroms... in a way... it did...
eumelia: (diese religione)
It's ironic like rain on your wedding day to wake up on Israel's national Holocaust Remembrance Day and read this:
A retired Italian bishop has sparked a furious row after quotes attributed to him suggested claims of sexual abuse in the Catholic church are a Jewish conspiracy, a British newspaper reported on Monday.

A website quoted Giacomo Babini, emeritus bishop of Grosseto, as saying he believed a "Zionist attack" was behind the criticism, considering how "powerful and refined" the criticism is, the Guardian daily reported.

There aren't enough hours in the day I swear.

Expect more posts about Antisemitisim, the callous use of History and Saturday's Doctor Who episode before this day is done.
eumelia: (Default)
I come from a family of history nuts.

We all adore history, we have different ideas of what history means, but we all love it, learn it and think memory is one of the more important things in life.

I recall the one time I looked my history in the face, when I was 17 and went on the class trip to Poland. I don't think I would have gone without my mother, who insisted, because I seriously hated my peers.
It was an odd time, of false camaraderie and a whole lot of national zeal. I still feel weird thinking about those ten days in Poland, in which the only time we saw something "fun" was in Krakow - where we went shopping in the square and travelled down the salt mines (which is used as a wedding hall, these days... or at least back in 2002).

In Majdanek, which is the concentration-death camp next to Lublin and has a fucking huge ash mound - yeah, seriously, there are reconstructions of the housing blocks, which have been converted into museums. There is a block that has nothing but shoes in it, there's a red high heeled shoe there that I'll never forget.

One of the blocks is an information archive, it has documents, SS uniforms, prisoner uniforms (those stripy "pyjama" things), ID cards for the well known Nazi commanders who did their duty there and a wall with badges.

Badges explaining what each one meant and who wore them.

I had only ever heard of the yellow star of David. When I saw the pink triangle I was shocked. What was a symbol I associated with Gay Pride doing here!?
I read the info and discovered what it meant and why it was reclaimed by gay people.
(I was 17, in a relationship with a boy and was only beginning to understand my own queerness).
I saw the black triangle and saw that it was given to Anti-Socials - which included gypsies, anarchists, the mentally ill and Lesbians.

This confused me.

Surely the Lesbians should be with the pink triangle.

Lesbian women were "Anti-Social", not because they had sex with women, but because they refused to marry and "breed" for the Reich. This I discovered not long afterwards when I realised that my country only counts the 6 million as victims and the rest as incidental - never mind that there are, you know, Jewish queers. So I read up on the other victims of the Holocaust.

Why am I writing this?

Because history continued to rely on the fact that men are more important than women.

As many of you know, Berlin has Holocaust Memorial instillations. A huge Jewish one and across the road from it, a Gay one. It was installed in 2008 to commemorate the gay victims of the Nazi regime. It includes a continued video of two men embracing and kissing. Very sweet.
I remember back when it was installed how happy I was that this piece of history, general and gay, was being recognised and promised myself that when I was in Berlin I'd go (as though I wouldn't any way). It was also stated that every two years the image would be replaced and this year it would be two women embracing and kissing.


This, some say, is not historically accurate:
[..]Alexander Zinn, a board member of the foundation that maintains the former Nazi concentration camps near Berlin, said such a move would distort history as there were no known Holocaust victims targeted for being lesbian.

"Historical truth must remain the focus," Zinn told AFP.

He has banded together with other Holocaust experts and fired off a letter of protest to Culture Minister Michael Neumann and Berlin's openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit.

Neumann defended the plans as true to the original concept of the memorial in addressing present-day discrimination against lesbians and gays as well as the plight of homosexuals at the hands of the Nazis.

"The option of using a lesbian film motif in the memorial is in no way meant to put on the same level the persecution of homosexual men and women under the Nazi regime," he said in a statement.

Yeah, gay women didn't suffer enough under the Reich.
That's basically what's being said.

I'm not saying that Lesbian women were persecuted in the same way. Obviously, they were not. Mainly because, women's sexuality doesn't exist without the presence of a penis. That's the crux, these "anti-social" women refused to marry, continued to wreak havoc on the ultra-masculine, misogynistic and fetishistic society that had managed to infect Germany during Weimar.

Regardless, Lesbian women were persecuted for being gay, just, as mentioned, not in the same way. To deny this, is to erase an important part of War World 2 history, the history of the Holocaust and the history of queer women, who are erased from history with fervour any way!

Lesbians Locking Lips on the memorial for the persecution of gay people during the Nazi Regime is just as important as gay men doing so. It is different. The outcome may have also been different, but the motivation was not.
How could it be historically inaccurate?

This is what happens when I read the news on Peach eve.
eumelia: (Default)
It's the eve of the National Day of Remembrance and Heroism of the Holocaust.

Personally, ever since I was a teenager I've disliked the municipal and school ceremonies. More specifically, ever since I returned from a school trip to Poland in which we travelled through Warsaw Ghetto, Treblinka, Bialystock, Lublin Ghetto, Majdanek, Kradow Ghetto, Plashow, Chelmno, Auschwitz-Birekenau and various forests in which bodies are buried in mass graves.

On teevee there is an Israeli made documentary about the Bielsky Brothers, the new Hollywood War-Action film Defiance is based on their story.

I'd really like to see the movie, as I can't recall a WWII movie in which the Jewish Partisans were the heroes and not a side anecdote that existed along side the Jewish victims.

I find the Israeli narrative of the Holocaust problematic.
During the travelling with my school mates and my mother in Poland, we had memorial ceremonies at each of the sites that were the concentration and death camps.
At the time, I remember being overwhelmed by everything.
I remember joking around with the other kids (we were 16-17) and I don't know if everyone was actually aware of what we were doing there.
I remember thinking "why haven't I cried yet?".
Because I didn't.
Cry, that is.
Biggest cry baby in the world, walking around the place I was told my people had been massacred and I just felt numb.
It was only when we got to Birekenau (about two days before we were set to go home) and we walked around through the (in)famous gate "Arbeit Macht Frei" - "Work Shall Set You Free".
The Nazis sure had a twisted funny bone.

I walked around the Blocks (the big red brick houses that were used for different uses) and I decided to explore the very famous Block 10 - that would be Josef Mengele's facility.
It was most likely the heat (we travelled in July) and the smallness of the hallways and the fact that throughout my childhood Josef Mengele was a bit of a Monster Under The Bed kind of figure, but with quite a bit of force I was struck by the enormity of what had actually happened in that place. And in all the other places I had been to that week.
I ran out of the Block and cried like the baby I am to Mummy who went on to tell me that her father's family (he died when she was young and I never got to know my maternal grandfather) were all exterminated - he had immigrated to South Africa in the early 30's, saving his life.

I did not travel to Poland in a vacuum, obviously. In my mind I had the annual ceremonies I sat through as a child and teen, I had Schindler's List, Escape from Sobibor, War and Remembrance (the scene in which they bring the people to the gas chambers, just thinking about it, makes me weepy) and all those other "clean" images.
As I mentioned, throughout the trip we had various memorial services at the sites of the and the Zionist connection was very much emphasised.
The various Zionist youth groups were part of the Jewish resistance and we were always hearing that today, because of Israel, this will never happen again.
Never again.
Never again.
Never again.
That's what we hear all the time.
Remember, remember and never forget.

We talk about the fact that a culture was lost, was destroyed.
We don't talk about the culture itself.
There is a Yiddish revival of a kind in Israel. As the Survivors are now very quietly disappearing and there will truly be no one to tell us what happened to them, perhaps us Israeli Jews are realising that we didn't actually come from nothing, that we had a home somewhere else once.

The Holocaust is very callously used to deflect any criticism of Israel. All our enemies are a "New-Hitler". Holocaust denial is a problem no doubt, but we are not the only people to have been persecuted and had genocide committed upon us.
The Holocaust, while being a part of Jewish history, doesn't actually belong to us... it belongs to the world.
To claim it as solely ours denied the history of other people.
I think the world in general has become callous to the Holocaust when movies like Valkyrie are produced along with Defiance.

Regardless, the way Israel uses the Holocaust is post-traumatic in the extreme and we nurture this post-trauma constantly by the split conciousness we have as both victims and no-longer-victims.
I feel that the lesson learned from the Holocaust is that humanity reached a point of creative destruction that should be examined - because I really think it was the scope and industrialism of the deaths that were committed - after all the Holocaust is hardly the first (or the last) genocide to have been perpetrated.

I can't help but finish this post with my own brand of funny:
eumelia: (Default)
Who isn't talking about the fact that Kate Winslet finally got the Oscar she deserved five nominations ago.
Life imitates art as she won it for playing the role in the Holocaust film The Reader... well, post-Holocaust film really. I haven't seen it, so I really cannot comment on her acting in it.
But throughout award season there have been references to her performance on Ricky Gervais' show "Extras" in which she satirises herself - saying that she's doing a Holocaust movie in order to finally get the Oscar the whole world says she should have.

For your viewing pleasure:

Schindler's bloody List indeed.

In any event, good on Winslet, I don't know if this is the movie in which she should have won, but she should have won long ago.
Her craft as an actress has always been beyond superb.

That's what the Oscars are about you know.
The craft of the film - that's why I'm never surprised when the most conventional and conformist movies get nominated and win.
It's kind of why I haven't seen most of the Oscar nominated movies - they're all so conventional and conformist.

The only categories in which truly artistic films - that is, films whose craft are not of the "classical" British or Hollywood made - have a chance at winning an academy award are the Animation features (both long and short) and the foreign language film.
Probably the most arbitrary category in existence!
Because a "foreign language" is a genre.
It's not.

As most of you know, Waltz with Bashir didn't win the foreign language film category.
I was rooting for it.
But I didn't think it would win.
My own theory is that it didn't win because it was too avant-garde. And the old men and women of the academy, recalling the bygone days of the 50's, 60's and yes, maybe even 70's, could probably not let themselves give an academy award to a cartoon.

Unlike some paranoiacs the Academy did not deny Israel an Oscar because they're anti-Zionst. *snort* not bloody likely.
Bradely Burston, the Ha'aretz English Edition columnist who writes about Israel from the Jewish-American perspective (I can only assume) wrote a very negative column about the Oscars and Jewish portrayal titled Winslet, "Waltz", and how Hollywood likes its Jews:
Hollywood knows exactly how it likes its Jews: Victims. Civilian victims. Targets of genocide. None of this Goliath stuff. None of these pre-emptive, disproportionate, morally amorphous behaviours.

I suppose one shouldn't mention the latest "Holocaust" movie Defiance?
Never mind.
Burston's point is that the Israeli narrative doesn't sit well with the Hollywood ilk.
Because Israelis are and I quote:
Israelis are complicated, angry, unhappy, family-oriented, insular, often flawed human-beings.
Perhaps, in the Hollywood context, the problem with these Israelis, is that they are not identifiable as Jews at all

That's the point.
Israelis, in the classical and historical sense are not really Jews.
We are not wanderers, we are parochial, we are not rootless, we are a cohesive nation (as much as a "nation" of that kind exists) and we are no longer persecuted.
Merely surrounded by enemies.
No, Israelis are not classically identifiable as Jews - that is probably why the Jewish Diaspora is in two minds about Israel - Look at what the Jewish people have become out of the ashes of the Holocaust.
What indeed.

Let's ignore the fact that a bunch of Israelis come from places not even touched or affected by the Holocaust - wouldn't want to disrupt the meta-narrative of Israel's existence.

So because Bashir was about a wholly Israeli experience, with it's avant-garde package of docu-drama quasi-psychological dream-hallucinations and real life footage flashbacks... it didn't win.

As far as I can recall, there is nothing specifically "Jewish" about Waltz with Bashir except that snippet in which the Holocaust is used in an attempt to colour the actions and reactions of the protagonist.
Unsuccessfully I might add.
The only thing the mentioning of the Holocaust does in the movie is bring to mind that Israel commits war crimes and crimes against humanity and that the Holocaust cannot be removed from Israeli conciousness by virtue of it being the worst and last time, Jews were victimised.

But Israeli Jews consider themselves the "real" Jews. And with it comes the double-think.
We are no longer the weak effeminate victims, we are macho land workers etc.
At the same time we are surrounded by enemies who only want to shove us into the sea and we must not allow this - we have the biggest weapons and the biggest allies - *smash-smash-smash*.
Not to mention the over-all disdain a lot of Israeli Jews have towards Diaspora Jews: the Jews who support Israel but don't come to live here are cowards and those who don't support Israel are self-hating Jews who when the going gets tough will probably flock here in droves.

I've been accused of being naive, you know, because I'm "enamoured" of the Palestinians.
I'm not enamoured with anyone.
Is it too much to ask that everyone be allowed to live in dignity and self-determination?
That the recognition of wrongs be made official?

Waltz with Bashir isn't about those things.
It's about the cognitive dissonance of Israeli soldiers raised in a culture of overt masculinity that relies on reliving and relearning the victims that we are.

In the words of Kate Winslet "We get it. It was grim. Move on".
Moving on doesn't mean forgetting or putting aside - anyone who has been through a traumatic event knows this - it does mean that it doesn't overshadow and colour your entire life all the time.
It also means that we will be able to empathise with those are currently being victimised without believing that we suffered more and are thus always oppressed.

It's something to look forward to.
eumelia: (Default)
Did the title make you double-take?

Before I return to my studies I wanted to write about the fact that January has been a crappy month for my part of the world.
And for the world in general.
More precisely, the people.

I don't think I need to recount the War Frenzy that took over Israel.

I think it's important to emphasise the Antisemitic backlash that went on during that month around the world.
Demonstrating in front of Israel embassies and consulates is legitimate, necessary and if I weren't already in Israel protesting against the policies of my government, I'd be in front of an embassy myself were I not here.

Spray painting Synagogues and cemeteries with anti-Zionist messages is not legitimate. Attacking and harassing Jews and Israelis and excusing it because of a military operation that is happening, with these people not actually being a part of any of it, is not legitimate.

It's fucking racist!

This is not anti-Zionist critique. This is flat out Antisemitism. Using Israel's actions to promote an Antisemitic agenda is low, base and sickening.
And I won't have my critical agenda of my country co-opted, silenced and de-legitimised because racist assholes are using it in in order to promote hatred of me, my family, culture and history.

Fuck. That.

This is even without mentioning that the Catholic Church is not winning any friends by not at the very least admonishing the words of a Holocaust denying priest: Priest: Gas chambers were for disinfection - yes, indeed the gas chambers were indeed used for disinfection... to disinfect the Aryan race from the disease carrying, filthy, human shaped microbes... am I right?

The assault on Gaza has been used to excuse actual Antisemitic rhetoric.
To trivialise the Holocaust AND deny the unique position of the Palestinians by comparing the assault and the Occupation as being perpetrated "Jewish Nazis".
An insult to both our Houses.
This silences actual and real critique on Israel's policies.

Way back when in 2007, former Member of Knesset and former speaker of the Knesset Avrum Burg published a book under the Hebrew title Defeating Hitler, he was interviewed about it in Ha'aretz.
The book has been translated into English under the title The Holocaust is Over, We Must Rise From its Ashes.
You can read a fantastic review and analysis by Julia Glassman over at Feministe called “What is bad for the Jews is better for Zionism”.

Antisemitism is as real as any other from of racism, only Jews of certain heritage can "pass" and maybe not be directly affected by it their entire lives. It still doesn't mean that there is no "Othering" going on and that history doesn't affect how the rest of the world treats Israel as a nation of Jews.
Because we're still Jewish and there's something just not right about us.

I was going to end this with something light hearted, but I think I'll leave that for another day when I'm feeling less pissed off!


Jan. 27th, 2009 11:44 pm
eumelia: (Default)
I had lots of links open up to share with you but in the end figured they weren't actually all that interesting (except for me).

Tense times friends, tense times.
Not that there are any other kinds of times, but the pressure and tension I'm feeling around because of the up coming elections are not kind.

I envy you actual democracies.
You know for how long your heads of government are in for and you know when they're going to be replaced.

So... today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and Antisemitism raises it's multi-faceted head.
Summit on Holocaust: Gaza war legitimized equating Jews with Nazis

The problem comes from two places I think;
First, that much of Anti-Zionist critique is brought upon by an Antisemitic agenda cannot be denied. It is unfortunate because it disables pretty much any kind of discourse that comes to criticize Israel and the policies it enacts.
And second, that Israel itself (and other Diaspora/Non-Israeli Jewish leaders and groups) encourages this conflation. Israel is the homeland of all Jews wherever they are. An attack on Israel is an attack on Body Judaic - to borrow a phrase.
The fact that an Israel under attack is an attack on certain Jewish people is important, it's also important to acknowledge that 20% of the citizens in Israel are non-Jewish.

The connection between Israel and Antisemitism can't nor should it be denied.

I think a narrative of paranoia fuels the fire of perceived (and not so perceived) persecution even more in Israel - not to mention the disproportional coverage that the Occupation and the Conflict get in the News compared to other humanitarian disasters elsewhere in the world - though the disproportional aid that Israel receives from the Uncle Sam may also be a factor.
Just sayin'.

Fact is.
Israel is used as a Scapegoat by much of the world so that Their problems don't need to be dealt with, or at least denied.
Fact is.
Israel does a whole lot of Scapegoating itself by telling itself stories of persecution, victimisation and "lack of choices" and then bombs the hell out of a population that is effectively in a cage.

Antisemitism is an Issue.
The fact that the categories of Jew and Zionist are conflated both in Right and Left wing discourse is disturbing.
The fact that Anti-Zionist graffiti is sprayed on Synagogue walls, that Jewish businesses are burned down through cases of arson and that Jews and Israelis are harassed, simply because they are Jewish and/or Israeli, due to enactment of policies and acts of military aggression they very likely have little to do with, is a problem.

But fuck it right?
eumelia: (Default)
The Israeli papers are rife with Holocaust related News and most of it is very boring, but this, this takes the cake and I just have to share.
I'm really interested to know what you all think of it.

The authors of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion would have gotten a kick out of this.

Hamas TV claims 'Satanic Jews' planned, perpetrated Holocaust
By Anat Rosenberg

Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV aired a documentary on April 18 claiming that Jews planned and perpetrated the Holocaust in order to rid the nation of the "burden" of the weak and disabled.

Palestinian Media Watch, a group that monitors Palestinian Arabic language media and schoolbooks, uploaded part of the program onto YouTube in a segment called "Hamas Holocaust Perversion: Jews Planned Holocaust to Kill Handicapped Jews."

The Al-Aqsa TV clip edits together footage from the World War II Nazi Genocide, showing Jews being rounded up and taken to a train as well as emaciated corpses lying in a pile, alongside images of Israeli leaders David Ben Gurion and Golda Meir.

The accompanying commentary claims that Ben Gurion said "the disabled and handicapped are a heavy burden on the state." To rid them of that scourge, the video claims, Ben Gurion and "the Satanic Jews thought up an evil plot to be rid of the burden of disable and handicapped in twisted criminal ways."

The video also claims that Jews made up the Holocaust and blamed the Nazis for it in order to "benefit from international sympathy."

The Holocaust "was a joke, and part of the perfect show that Ben Gurion put on," said Amin Dabur, head of the Palestinian Center for Strategic Research organization, in the video.

Dabur added that the "Jewish plan" focused on developing "strong and energetic youth [for Israel]," and that the figure of six million Jewish victims is mere propaganda.
eumelia: (Default)
Sometimes I think about the Holocaust, and especially today I do because it is Holocaust Remembrance Day; the public television networks are showing documentaries, the radio is playing dirges and at ten AM a siren, the siren used for air raids and times of emergency and war, was heard, stopping everything – traffic, exams, fights, classes, shopping – creating an ear piercing moment of silence that continued to ring in my ears for a few more moments.
It is surreal, to see the stillness while your brain is screaming that the noise is painful. It forces you to remember what today means and why we must never forget it.

In Israel, we use the word "Shoah" (שואה, eng. Holocaust) lightly, at least in my circle of cynical friends; "This exam is going to be a holocaust" – "המבחן הזה הולך להיות שואתי". We make jokes about German Sheppard's (Alsatian dogs, ya know) in Jewish ghettos and ask how many Jews you can get into one car – one in the boot, two in the front, three in the back and the rest in the ashtray.
Morbid, which is putting it lightly.
I don't know how other nations that have gone through genocide handle the memory.
Do they also make jokes?
Do they go on school trips to Poland to see where our families were murdered, where their hair was shorn and used to make water proof socks and their fat was used to make soap (everything you saw/read in "Fight Club" is true).

I don't think it's the magnitude of death that makes the Holocaust unique as genocides go.
I think it was the industrial-ness of it, the careful methodical planning of it all. The loss not only of life but of an entire culture that had been cultivated over centuries. The pornographically photographed naked women, children and men; dying, dead and piled up in heaps, each body indistinguishable from the next.
Nudity takes away individuality.
The numbering of the people, which took away a little bit more of their humanity in the eyes of the perpetrators; the lies that hid the material reality: "You'll be getting your luggage back soon" a smiling Nazi clerk would say and everything was catalogued in that meticulous bureaucracy the Germans would pride themselves in.

My own opinion on the genocide that massacred the branches of my family on both sides has changed over the years - Those that went on to create what is now my quite large family, who live around the world, left Latvia and Lithuania before Operation Barbarossa, indeed before WWII even began.

It's easy to succumb to the idea that Jews are eternal victims and that the Holocaust was the largest and latest of Pogroms. At the same time, there is the fact that from this incident of violence a new kind of Jew arose, one that is strong, stronger than ever before, with a country of his own and an army that is the strongest in the Middle East. It is with this new strength and army, the Jews will never fear for our existence again.

I'm pretty sure Israeli Jews are the only majority population in the world that fears for its continued existence, not "way of life", but actual life. It is for good reason; Jews are surrounded by nations who don't want us here (when are we ever "wanted" any where).
I always think it's ironic that we went from one ghetto to another, only this time we built the walls, the snipers are ours and we pushed those we didn't want out.
The Holocaust brought about the existence of Israel, it probably would have happened at some point, but the genocide of the Jews made the process that much more urgent, that much faster.

Israel was built to be a home for those who became homeless.

The conclusion Jews and Israelis in particular, must take from our tragedy, is that we must strive to be better than we were.
Than we are.
We must strive to create a country, a world, in which persecution, racism, antisemitism, orientalism, genocide, auto-genocide are History and not reality.

That's my conclusion as an Israeli Jewish girl and that's what I derive from the Holocaust and that's why I make sure to remember, remember and never ever forget.

.לזכור, לזכור ולא לשכוח לעולם

Remember - יזכור:
The Jews
The Palestinians
The Bosnians
The Darfurians
The Rwandans
The Aborigines of Australia and Tasmania
The Cambodians
The Tibetans
The Armenians
The West African Slaves
The Original/First/Native Nations of the Americas
The "Witches"
The Inquisition
There are more, many more, too many. Who else must we remember?
eumelia: (Default)
כתוב בעפרון בקרון החתום/ דן פגיס
כאן במשלוח הזה
אני חוה
עם הבל בני
אם תראו את בני הגדול
קין בן אדם
תגידו לו שאני

Written in Pencil in the Sealed Railway-Car/ Dan Pagis
here in this carload
i am eve
with abel my son
if you see my other son
cain son of man
tell him that i

Another year goes by and one of the two most solemn days have arrived again.
Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day - יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה
The date chosen to mark this day is the date of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which all things considered is a good thing to commemorate.
The Hebrew date is 27th of Nissan (unless it falls on Shabbat) and so it turns around throughout April and May over the 19 year cycle of lunar and solar calendars.

I keep thinking that something profound and important should be said about this incident in History, but there really isn't.
One thing I keep hearing and thinking is that the Holocaust, the Shoah, the Calamity, was unique.
In its magnitude (though that was surpassed by others), in its industrial method, in its ideology.
The reason my home exists was because the world felt sorry for those who were homeless.

One of the things I always felt was a kind mission of Jews as a people who has historically been persecuted is to commemorate the persecution and genocides of other people.
In Israel we could do a better job at (which it putting it lightly).
I could go on and give a list of genocides committed in the 20th century alone, but anyone who is interested can just Google genocide and holocaust, you'll get more information than you know what to do with.
Read with a critical eye and reach the conclusions you see fit about human beings and humanity as a whole.

*In Hebrew the Forget-Me-Not is called Remember-Me - זיכריני
eumelia: (Default)
A few days ago former Knesset Speaker and former Jewish Agency chief Avraham "Avrum" Burg gave a speech and interview about Israel, Palestine, the Jewish nature of the state, the state of Judaism in Israel and lots of other things in this close to 90 minute session - yeah, it's long. But if you get some spare time (like I had yesterday) listen to what he has to say.

Avrum Burg Speech MP3, via Jewschool

Perhaps a little background information is needed on the man, in order to appreciate the speech. I unfortunately am not that good at summarizing a man's life, so I'll refer you to his wiki page - Avraham Burg, which is as good a starting point as any I suppose.

What one really needs to know about Mr. Burg is how he is now perceived in mainstream Israeli society. He is viewed on the negative side, due to his criticisms of Israel's policies, nature and over-all screwed upness. This is especially hackling to most Israelis because, as before mentioned, he's a former MK Speaker and former Jewish Agency chief (pretty much as Zionist as can be) and he's now been flagged, and if I'm not mistaken (though don't take my word for it) has said about himself, that he is a post-Zionist, his stronger critiques have called him an anti-Zionist.
His politics and opinions became very public after the publishing of his (semi-biographical/semi-autobiographical) book about the Holocaust and Israel and his own family's history on the subject. The book is called לנצח את היטלר (english: Defeating Hitler) and I recommend it heartily, I found it moving and correct in it's assessment of the trauma that Israel has incorporated into its national identity.
Over the book's publishing in the summer of 2007, he was interviewed in the Ha'aretz magazine - which you can conveniently read here in Hebrew and in English - and it was the kiss of death to his mainstream image.
I liked what he had and still has to say.
Suffice to say, I'm in the minority here.
eumelia: (Default)
I suppose it's a good thing I'm so self absorbed in feeling, well, basically content that I feel I have nothing to write about.

Though reading and watching the News makes me want to pull my hairs out by the roots!

I don't get it, really I don't.

My government is just stupid. Plain and simple. Sending off Darfurian refugees back to Egypt who are much more likely to send them back to Sudan, right into the hands of the leadership that supplies the Janjaweed with the weapons and legitimacy to massacre them.

Israel is obsessed with the Holocaust, and while the Holocaust has to be remembered and recognized for what it was, it should also inculcate a regard for humanity and all that very nice Yoko-and-Lennon-y things.

Yeah, well, we know it hasn't.

We're so obsessed in feeling "secure" we forget to see the people that suffer at the hand of our security. It's not black and white, obviously, but to chuck out people out a country who sought refuge from killers who regard them as sub-human, or not human at all, well shouldn't that trigger some kind of reaction?
Add to that the basic disregard the majority of Israeli society to the fact that the Darfurinas refugees were tossed out on their ears.
As though the majority of Israeli society regards anyone other than a Jewish Israeli a human being.


And I was really trying to be optimistic this week.

eumelia: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] hagar_972 wrote a beautiful post about Holocaust Memorial Day

Here's an excerpt of what she wrote:

How do I paint to you a world without great-grandparents, without the brothers and sisters and cousins of your grandparents, without even cemeteries? How do I let you understand this wish of two generations before me, to have been born from the sea, to lose in its waves the past, because the past is murder and hatred, your neighbours turning in your parents and you hiding in the attic for three years eating potato peels, the past is death marches and public tombs?

She also trasnlated this post of mine.

Here's the body of the text:

"Memorial Day songs on the radio are simultanously beautiful and depressing.
Fun, as they say.

I thought i'd be writing some post about the meaning of humanity, about mercy, history and history repeating itself and how people never learn from history or from the mistakes with which we have to live, but I don't need a Holocaust Day for that, so perhaps on another day, when I don't feel so optimistic.
Yes, optimistic. Surprising, isn't it?

Today at work - I am taking care of a six-months-old baby - I heated up her bottle and then I realized it was almost ten, and I didn't know what to do. I figured it's only a couple of minutes, she can wait while I stand at the siren.
Only bummer, just then she started to cry.
So I picked her up - just as the siren started - and as she calmed down once I held her, I just stood in place holding her, rocking gently from side to side to keep her calm.

I have to say it was something, so whisper a lullyby for a baby during the memorial siren for those who were murdered in the Holocaust.
I am very glad to have held all this potential in my arms as we all grieved for all that was lost.

So yeah, I am optimistic."
eumelia: (Default)

אני לא מרבה לקרוא את מקס הזועם, אמנם יש לי ספקות וחוסר כבוד כלפי הרבה "פרות קדושות" בארץ, יש לי עכבות בנוגע לצורה שמקס מעביר את הדברים.

אבל היום הוא כתב שני פוסטים נכונים ואמיתיים:
יום השואה - תמונת מצב
ניצולים, נמאסתם
eumelia: (Default)

שירי זיכרון ברדיו זה יפייפה ומדכא בו זמנית.
כיף, כמו שאומרים.

אני חשבתי שאכתוב איזשהו רישום על אנושיות, רחמים, היסטוריה שחוזרת על עצמה ואיך אנשים לא לומדים דבר מההיסטוריה שלהם או מהטעויות שאיתם אנחנו נאלצים לחיות, אבל אני לא צריכה יום שואה בשביל זה, אז יום אחר, בו אני לא מרגישה כל כך אופטימית.
כן אופטימית, מפתיע לא?

היום בעבודה, אני הרי מטפלת בתינוקת בת חצי שנה, אני חיממתי לה את בקבוק החלב וכשראיתי שהשעה כבר חמישה לעשר, לא ידעתי מה לעשות. הרי זה רק שתי דקות והתינוקת יכולה לחכות שתי דקות בזמן שאני עומדת בצפירה.
הבעיה היא שהיא התחילה לבכות, באסה.
את הרמתי אותה בדיוק כשהתחילה הצפירה וכשראיתי שבידיים היא רגועה, עמדתי במקומי ורק זזתי מצד לצד על מנת שלא תתחיל לבכות שוב.

אני חייבת לציין שזו הייתה חוויה, לשיר שיר ערש חרישי לתינוקת בזמן צפירה לזכר הנספים ביום השואה.
אני מאד שמחה שיצא לי להחזיק את כל הפוטנציאל בידיים בזמן שאנחנו אבלים על מי שאבד.

אז כן אופטימית.

רק חכו ליום הזיכרון לחללי צה"ל.

ורק כדי להראות שאני כן מרגישה את היום הסוריאליסטי הזה - הנה שיר:

אלי, אלי
שלא יגמר לעולם
החול והים,
רשרוש של המים,
ברק השמיים,
תפילת האדם.

החול והים,
רשרוש של המים,
ברק השמיים,
תפילת האדם.

"הליכה לקיסריה" מאת חנה סנש


eumelia: (Default)

June 2015

 12345 6

V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.


-"V for Vendetta"


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