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shock doctrine at work
September 17, 2007 12:22 AM   Subscribe

shock doctrine at work
Fisk documents the dismantling of Iraqi culture - Klein exposes the history behind the destruction.
posted by specialk420 (40 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
more at The Guardian
posted by specialk420 at 12:31 AM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


See also: Shock Doctrine, the short movie by Alfonso Cuarón and Naomi Klein, directed by Jonas Cuarón (Alfonso's son).

Also related: Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men, a dystopian masterpiece with the same worldview as Klein's Doctrine.
posted by kar at 12:33 AM on September 17, 2007


Hmm, I get a 404 on the Fisk piece.

Here's a good piece by Krugman: A Surge, and Then a Stab
posted by homunculus at 12:36 AM on September 17, 2007


of course the independent site running on wind energy... just ran out of juice. grr... well at least we can commiserate with Fisk and his years living in the again crippled Beirut.
posted by specialk420 at 12:37 AM on September 17, 2007


Well, you know it would actually be a pretty decent explanation for our actions around the world. Just keep bombing people every once in a while to keep them from rising up, especially in the middle east and Latin America.

But the simpler explanation is that our psycho-fear of communism kept us (and the Russians likewise) busy in the 20th century, and after that we were kind of running on auto-pilot until the neocons showed up with their grand ideas.
posted by delmoi at 12:41 AM on September 17, 2007


Clearly these archaeological treasures need to be safeguarded in the British Museum.
posted by srboisvert at 1:08 AM on September 17, 2007


Also related: Zeitgeist: The Movie. Although it goes a few steps too far in its' assumptions for my taste.

The question is not if authorities are using human catastrophes to their advantage, framing the fallout to fit their own agendas. That is clearly the case. The question is, are they simply reacting to events, as with hurricane Katrina, or are they also creating them, as in 9/11-conspiracy theories?
posted by kar at 1:13 AM on September 17, 2007


Humankind is losing its past for a cuneiform tablet or a sculpture or piece of jewellery that the dealer buys and pays for in cash in a country devastated by war. Humankind is losing its history for the pleasure of private collectors living safely in their luxurious houses and ordering specific objects for their collection.
That's caused by an habit of having overruling an habit of knowing. While one could understand the prevalence of the stomach over intellect for an hungry man, it's harder to understand why one person would want to own a shiny metal object from the past, but for showing very few people that he have a forbidden object or a nice one. Wouldn't some well written plaque showing "object donated by Mr/Ms X" cause a lot more titillation for vanity, when seen by the hundred thousands visiting fantastic museums such as Louvre ?

Yet by not allowing archeologist to do they dirty and quite boring work, they prevent their object from obtaining even more value and visibility, cause it remains just another misunderstood old piece of junk. But God forbid I shall ever let others have a butterfly collection, I wanna show I lack charm, wit and intelligence but I OWN and I want to project the insecurity about my beauty by wearing priceless bracelets that could easily be replaced by inexpensive bijoux.

I don't even blame the actual looters, they probably are dirt poor and looking for a quick way to feeding and to the riches, as damn I want me some of them 'mericans riches !
posted by elpapacito at 1:39 AM on September 17, 2007


srboisvert writes "Clearly these archaeological treasures need to be safeguarded in the British Museum."

No shit ! While they rebuild a new one for themselves. The same argument for the Louvre ; I still prefer seeing all the italian masterpieces in a very well (imho) runned musesum then in a museum runned by my fellow italians, which just don't get the concept of systematic reliability (xcept some excellence points)...and it's not that we couldn't ask for most of the stuff back, considering how much Napoleon looted.
posted by elpapacito at 1:42 AM on September 17, 2007


Previously, previously. Does anyone else get the impression Naomi Klein doesn't like contemporary capitalism? Maybe we could have a few more posts to make sure?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:54 AM on September 17, 2007


We could have a Klein post here every day and it wouldn't bother me. Hers tends to be a lone voice of sanity in a wilderness of apathy, ignorance, isolationism and greed.

See also: The Ground Truth

"What happened to your hand, dude?"

"Oh, I was in the war."

"What war?"

"The war in Iraq..."

"Oh, is that still going on? I thought it was over..."
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:26 AM on September 17, 2007


Clearly these archaeological treasures need to be safeguarded in the British Museum.

Was that sarcasm? So hard to tell on the internet.

If it was, it was misplaced. The British Museum has had long-standing ties with Iraq - it helped establish the Baghdad museum back in the 1920s. They've maintained these ties even through the worst periods in the relationship between Iraq and Britain, with the result that when the looting began after the 2003 invasion, the curators in Iraq turned to the British Museum for help.

That help has gone both ways - the BM sending experts and restorers over to Iraq, and bringing restorers from Iraq to Britain to train here. Unfortunately, as the situation worsened, this exchange has been less and less viable - too dangerous for all parties.

Before the war, the BM was among many museums who tried to warn the governments of Britain and America what would happen, because exactly the same had happened ten years earlier. Since it, they've been leaders in trying to draw attention to what's been happening to Iraq's antiquities.

You can read a summary of the BM's work in Iraq here.
posted by flashboy at 3:39 AM on September 17, 2007


Was that sarcasm? So hard to tell on the internet.

If it was, it was misplaced.


Well, they might be doing good things now, when theft is recognized as theft, but that museum is filled with the spoils of colonial looting that is justified in the name of safeguarding.

It is so nice, convenient and lovely to see these things safely tucked away in London for the enjoyment of Londoners and tourists but if the BM had any sense of decency they would be actively returning the looted cultural treasures to the countries they lifted them from.

To read an editorial in an English paper complaining about the looting of history is just too rich a curry for this boy from the colonies. You can enjoy the BM flashboy because you are in London and it is free. If a Greek wants to see parts of their heritage they have to go to London. That's wrong.
posted by srboisvert at 4:27 AM on September 17, 2007


but if the BM had any sense of decency they would be actively returning the looted cultural treasures to the countries they lifted them from.

Indeed, and then all Van Goghs should return to the Netherlands, every mummy to Egypt, every Roman statue to Italy, and all those German WW2 looted weaponry should be returned to their home. Then every culture can have exclusive rights over their property and not share it with anyone!
posted by boubelium at 5:37 AM on September 17, 2007


It makes me very, very sad to realize that Bush will still be remembered in a thousand years as the man who destroyed Babylon and Ur.

Hanging's too good for them -- slow waterboarding to death.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:57 AM on September 17, 2007


Then every culture can have exclusive rights over their property and not share it with anyone!

Huh? Who said anything about not sharing? srboisvert's point is that the stuff that we *know* was stolen during a time when might made right should at least be somewhere in the process of being returned to the country it was taken from. I think that's a very fair point.
posted by mediareport at 7:19 AM on September 17, 2007


looks like the Iraqis finally getting wind of who some of the shock troops are - and sending them home.
posted by specialk420 at 7:21 AM on September 17, 2007


I thought Jehovah destroyed Babylon.
posted by Mister_A at 7:21 AM on September 17, 2007


Fisk documents the dismantling of Iraqi culture - Klein exposes the history behind the destruction.

{derail}

What is with this habit of referring to people -- particularly icons of one's ideological "side" -- only by their last names, as if they are so authoritative that everybody already knows who they are, and identification of the author him/herself is as important as the content of their writing?

I think if a conservative MeFite posted something along the lines of: "Steyn documents the illegal alien problem; Goldberg exposes the history behind the influx," he or she would be roundly derided on the form of the post alone, and rightly so.

{/derail}
posted by pardonyou? at 7:27 AM on September 17, 2007


rboisvert's point is that the stuff that we *know* was stolen

Careful, Elgin did not steal the marbles. Listen, at the end of the day, everybody knows Elgin was kind of a sissy dipshit, the action itself was a sort of imperialistic looting, even as the marbles were purchased from people in power then - ok, the sultan - but for whatever reason, his actions undoubtedly led to the better preservation of those marbles. Had they stayed in Athens the past 200 years, God only knows what would have happened to them. Do the British deserve a pat on the back? Of course they do. Do their arguments extend beyond simple monetary concerns? I'm not so sure. But at the same, Greece's aggressive foreign policy dictated by intense patriotism is totally ineffective. See their attacks on FYROM, their support of the Serbs, and of course, the constant demand that the Elgin marbles be reinstated. This, of course, is part of Greece's effort to regain its national identity, and establish itself once again as the cradle of civilization, after 400 years of Ottoman oppression. When in fact, Greece is a country barely qualified to stay in the EU. It's like, don't you have better things to worry about? The political reality of Greece, as viewed by other dominant countries, and the political idealism of its people, are inherently at odds. And this will probably never change.

[puts on flak jacket]
posted by phaedon at 7:41 AM on September 17, 2007


Double(ish)
posted by mkultra at 7:42 AM on September 17, 2007


What is with this habit of referring to people -- particularly icons of one's ideological "side" -- only by their last names, as if they are so authoritative that everybody already knows who they are, and identification of the author him/herself is as important as the content of their writing?

Hey, even Osama bin Laden himself has commended Fisk as "a fellow [Westerner] and a co-religionist of yours, but one whom I consider unbiased".

Now if even Osama considers him a noteworthy source, who are we to criticize...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:58 AM on September 17, 2007


Had they stayed in Athens the past 200 years, God only knows what would have happened to them.

I'm gonna steal your car and put fresh tires on it. Then it's mine.
posted by romanb at 8:10 AM on September 17, 2007


this one has been around for a while - but touches on the subject matter and i wonder if it wasn't a reference for Cuaron's piece. A masterpiece of motion graphics and political artwork.
posted by specialk420 at 8:13 AM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


the constant demand that the Elgin marbles be reinstated.

Oh, the gall and temerity. How dare they?
posted by blucevalo at 9:55 AM on September 17, 2007


What is with this habit of referring to people -- particularly icons of one's ideological "side" -- only by their last names, as if they are so authoritative that everybody already knows who they are, and identification of the author him/herself is as important as the content of their writing?

It's because, by referring to people using only their last names, you identify yourself as part of the "in" crowd. And obviously, if you don't get who's being referred to, it's just because you're too uncool, square, or conservative to be here.

Cliques: not just for highschool anymore.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:04 AM on September 17, 2007


from the [Paul] Krugman piece:
Some commentators have expressed surprise at the fact that a businessman with very close ties to the White House is undermining U.S. policy. But that isn't all that surprising, given this administration's history. Remember, Halliburton was still signing business deals with Iran years after Mr. Bush declared Iran a member of the "axis of evil."

No, what's interesting about this deal is the fact that Mr. [Ray L.] Hunt, thanks to his policy position, is presumably as well-informed about the actual state of affairs in Iraq as anyone in the business world can be. By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds, despite Baghdad's disapproval, he's essentially betting that the Iraqi government - which hasn't met a single one of the major benchmarks Mr. Bush laid out in January - won't get its act together. Indeed, he's effectively betting against the survival of Iraq as a nation in any meaningful sense of the term.
It sounds like somebody's already playing Teapot Dome in Iraq...
posted by vhsiv at 10:19 AM on September 17, 2007


Careful, Elgin did not steal the marbles. Listen, at the end of the day, everybody knows Elgin was kind of a sissy dipshit, the action itself was a sort of imperialistic looting, even as the marbles were purchased from people in power then - ok, the sultan - but for whatever reason, his actions undoubtedly led to the better preservation of those marbles. Had they stayed in Athens the past 200 years, God only knows what would have happened to them.

Right on phaedon. The legacy of imperial collecting is a complex one and I think one must be careful in simply thinking imperialism = bad, therefore we must undo anything imperialism touched.

I would also argue that by now the British Museum is in itself an historical landmark worth preserving. It is one of the great collections of the world and I would hate to give it up so that we can have a variety of mediocre collections around the world.

I also wonder, and this is just sort of speculative, how great the rights of the Greeks are to claim their treasures back. Obviously, the ancients aren't the same as today's Greeks. Just because your modern nation-state contains part of what thousands of years ago a separate people and culture built, doesn't mean you have some sort of inherited right to it. I might even go as far as to say that it transcends Greece to become part of our collective Western heritage and therefore there must be some collective right to it.
posted by boubelium at 11:14 AM on September 17, 2007


Naomi Klein on democracy now today - excellent - some wheat germ for your iPod
posted by specialk420 at 12:26 PM on September 17, 2007


I'm gonna steal your car and put fresh tires on it. Then it's mine.

Given that the people in charge were kilning the marble for lime to make concrete, a more apt analogy might be, I'm gonna snatch that old computer you put on the curb with your trash and then it's mine.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:28 PM on September 17, 2007


Interview with Klein.
posted by homunculus at 12:29 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Er, what specialk420 said.
posted by homunculus at 12:30 PM on September 17, 2007


TheophileEscargot : "Does anyone else get the impression Naomi Klein doesn't like contemporary capitalism?"

Well there is capitalism and then there is Completely Unfettered Capitalism and anything less that that leads to Communism.

I've often wondered how low-income fundamentalist Christians have been convinced that their interests coincide with those of the very-rich and giant corporations. I believe one long standing method was that any restraint on Capitalism will lead to Communism which would without doubt make practicing religion a criminal act.

A more recent drive is the notion that a small government should not use taxes to pay for services such as public education - education should be entirely part of the "free market". The FMers have pushed this on the religious right mainly with many scare-tactics essentially saying that public education is run by immoral people. One example is schools pushing the non-theory of Godless Evolution while failing to mention equally valid alternatives. Another example is "news outlets" such as WorldNetDaily who gleefully emphasize every story of teacher-student sex (while ignoring all the pastor-child sex stories).

By definition FMers do not personally care about morals, but they do find them useful scares for pushing their agenda.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 12:39 PM on September 17, 2007


Yeah, don't want to prolong the Parthenon derail any longer than is necessary, but what boubelium said - the legacy of scholarly imperialism is a complex one without any simple answers, and reducing it to a simplistic "you stole that, give it back" is neither helpful nor wise. The BM's director, Neil McGregor, sums up the pro-keeping them argument well:

...We’re talking about where these objects can best be useful now. And I think I feel the argument even more strongly now, after the Persian exhibition, because to see the material from the Persian Empire, the reliefs from Persepolis, and then to be able to look at the reliefs from the Parthenon – to be able to go from Egypt to Assyria to Persia, to Greece, and then on to Rome and to India, is to see that actually this is all part of one huge story. And it’s a story than can only be told, actually, in this building. If the world wants to understand how that narrative unfolded, this is the only place where it can.

It's also worth pointing out that the British Museum does a huge amount of work taking its collections overseas, and helping museums across the world with establishing collections of their local history in their historical context.
posted by flashboy at 1:00 PM on September 17, 2007


I think if a conservative MeFite posted something along the lines of: "Steyn documents the illegal alien problem; Goldberg exposes the history behind the influx," he or she would be roundly derided on the form of the post alone,...

So are you saying that nobody says 'Bush', 'Dershowitz', 'Limbaugh', 'Coulter', 'Malkin', ....?

I don't know what your gut tells you, but mine tells me that's way off the mark.
posted by lodurr at 1:05 PM on September 17, 2007


I thought it had been established to MeFi's satisfaction that Klein's work was shallow and unoriginal, and didn't merit serious discussion.*

Either that, or she's a crank conspiracy theorist.**

Anyway, none of this is anything new. Private industry will move in to fill voids created by government*** -- it's just the way Capitalism works.

--
*Unlike the hundreds of other much more meritorious things that get FPP'd every week, of course.
**Ignoring for the moment that conspiracy is quite un-necessary when a group of people share the same interestes -- e.g., making lots of money off defense contracts.
***That is to say, by influential ex-corporate officers inside the government who believe fervently, nigh religiously, in the importance of Free Markets and Small/No Government.

posted by lodurr at 1:38 PM on September 17, 2007


Pardonyou, even if you don't agree with Robert Fisk, his reporting on the Middle East is invaluable. I can't think of anyone who is as immersed as he is in the region, who has lived somewhere like Beirut for 25 years. During a time when reporters rarely venture from their hotel, if they are even in the region they are covering, he is a rarity. He actually goes and sees things first hand. Of course, unlike most of his peers, he speaks fluent Arabic, which helps. If you want to know how Arabs, or people elsewhere in the Muslim world really feel, he's one of the first people you should listen to.

He has been savaged in the past by the "serious" pundits of American foreign policy, but those were the same people mindlessly parroting the very authority they should have been questioning, the same people who so shamefully allowed themselves to become tools in drumming up support for the war. Meanwhile, people who were right in the past, are ignored again today.

The main reason Fisk should be a household name is because we are obsessed with the Middle East, yet completely fail to understand not only the region, but we fail to remember our past failures. Perhaps it's time to listen to someone who predicted pretty much exactly where we would be today a mere five days after 9/11.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:47 PM on September 17, 2007


Good choice, [expletive_deleted]:
America's name is literally stamped on to the missiles fired by Israel into Palestinian buildings in Gaza and the West Bank. Only four weeks ago, I identified one of them as an AGM 114-D air-to-ground rocket made by Boeing and Lockheed-Martin at their factory in – of all places – Florida, the state where some of the suiciders trained to fly.

....

The same type of missile – this time an AGM 114-C made in Georgia– was fired by the Israelis into the back of an ambulance near the Lebanese village of Mansori, killing two women and four children. I collected the pieces of the missile, including its computer coding plate, flew to Georgia and presented them to the manufacturers at the Boeing factory. And what did the developer of the missile say to me when I showed him photographs of the children his missile had killed? "Whatever you do," he told me, "don't quote me as saying anything critical of the policies of Israel."
[emph added]
posted by lodurr at 2:05 PM on September 17, 2007


to see that actually this is all part of one huge story. And it’s a story than can only be told, actually, in this building. If the world wants to understand how that narrative unfolded, this is the only place where it can.

I'm not sure that the British Museum director's totalizing view of human history as "that narrative" - as "one huge story" that can "only" be told in one building (his) - counts very much in favor of his sensitivities.

I mean, I've been to the British Museum, I love the British Museum, I understand the British Museum is one of the better institutions working with countries of origin. But I don't think the quote above speaks to the point about the right of those countries to discussions about eventual return of their cultural heritage. Or, rather, it speaks to the point, but badly for the British Museum.
posted by mediareport at 7:05 AM on September 18, 2007


Alan Greenspan vs. Naomi Klein on the Iraq War, Bush's Tax Cuts, Economic Populism, Crony Capitalism and More
posted by homunculus at 1:07 PM on September 24, 2007


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