How can we get a less hyperbolic assessment of the state of the world? Certainly not from daily journalism. News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. We never see a reporter saying to the camera, “Here we are, live from a country where a war has not broken out”—or a city that has not been bombed, or a school that has not been shot up. As long as violence has not vanished from the world, there will always be enough incidents to fill the evening news. And since the human mind estimates probability by the ease with which it can recall examples, newsreaders will always perceive that they live in dangerous times.
In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
"The Ideology of Hatred": An interview with Niza Yanay - "Once we understand how hatred operates as an apparatus of power relations, and particularly how the discourse of hatred is motivated and mobilised in national conflicts, serious questions about misrecognition, veiled desires and symptomatic expressions arise. These questions have, to a large extent, been left unaddressed in studies of hatred between groups in conflict." [more inside]
The Checkpoint. An essay which looks inside the conflicted mind of an Israeli soldier, stationed at a West Bank checkpoint. By Oded Na'aman, currently a student in the Philosophy PhD program at Harvard University, who served in the Israeli Defense Forces from November 2000 to October 2003. Mr. Na'aman is also a member of Breaking the Silence, a website that gathers and publishes anonymous testimonials from IDF soldiers -- combat veterans -- about their experiences and the realities of life in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
The Atlantic is in the middle of a four-part special report on the Israel / Palestinian peace process, called "Is Peace Possible?" which features multimedia presentations on and analyses of what they believe are the four core issues of the conflict: Borders, Security, Refugees, and Jerusalem. (The latter two will be released on Monday, November 7 and 14th, respectively) The report was put together in collaboration with the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. [more inside]
Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war.
The Face2face project. JR, an "undercover photographer", and Marco, a technology consultant, had 41 people - israelis and palestinians - mugging for the camera and plastered the huge, unavoidable pictures on both sides of the Israeli West Bank barrier, pair by pair : one israeli, one palestinian, both having similar jobs and posing in a similar fashion (+an imam, a rabbi and a christian priest). See also the trailer (YT, other videos available on the main site).
Israeli Border Police use Palestinian kid as human shield. According to Rabbi Arik Ascherman: “The boy, crying, shaking from fear and eventually cold, was sat on the hood of a jeep and tied to the bars protecting the glass. The other three arrestees were bound and placed in front of a second jeep as human shields, to deter protestors from throwing stones at the jeep”.
Battle for the Holyland : A very interesting Frontline episode that outlines the tactics used by both the Israelis and the Palestinians in fighting their war. (Most PBS affiliates will rebroadcast the special soon.) Does anyone who saw the special have a reaction?
From David Remnick's analysis in The New Yorker. Faisal Husseini, a decided moderate among Yasir Arafat's leadership ranks, gave an interview not long before he died in which he compared Oslo to a Trojan horse, an intermediate, tactical step leading to the elimination of Israel. He said, "If you are asking me as a Pan-Arab nationalist what are the Palestinian borders according to the higher strategy, I will immediately reply: 'From the river to the sea' "—that is, from the Jordan to the Mediterranean.
So long as you are Jewish you will have nowhere to run You will be hunted down everywhere you go just because you are Jewish. I can't blame them for thinking that but is it really true anymore?