Internalising Colonolization … A Pedagogy of the Occupied

I tend not to write in English in the last year, thinking of the importance of what I have to say for the Arab reader, specifically, the Palestinian. Somehow, as my writing turned from a blogging style to more of a journalistic- public opinion reflections and analysis, I found the need to address local, and internal topics, of great importance, not to mention, need.

I also needed to be courageous, since it is easy to address important local topics to a nonlocal audience. You become the only bearer of the truth, and the effect of what you say is more balanced in its views. However, the challenge has been in addressing what I discuss in English to the locals. Those whom the topic of my discussions concerns them and affect them directly.

I admit it was fulfilling, and of course very challenging. In no ways, you cannot take a stand of an observer anymore. You become part of the discussion. Part of the problem, and part of the solution. In many ways, you become part of the mess…. if not the mess itself.

As I was digging in the issues of graves inside Jerusalem, later to seeing a friend’s post whose family grave was stolen, more and more stories were emerging, into what seemed to be a frightening level of destruction we are living in, as a nation.

In a society, that cannot move much, living under occupation from all sides, and on all levels, suffering from social and cultural fabric destruction, becomes more painful and harder to bear.

You realize soon, that what we practice as self-censorship becomes a holistic approach that everyone on all levels practice. Censorship becomes who you are and what you present.

Each time I stirred in a topic that arouses public opinion, I swear to myself that I did not mean it. Each time, however, I think, this might be the article that brings me to my end.

Each time anyone warns me that I should be careful and take more cautious of myself, I smile and a spot of fear drops inside my soul. I collect my strength and remind myself that fear cannot be what rules me. It is fear that I need to conquer first and all the time. I remind myself that it is not a matter of what I am afraid of, but it should be a matter of my having nothing to be afraid of. Between the two lines of fear lies my life that is in no one’s hand but with whom created it, God.

The first thing I felt when I received warning on my articles on the graves in Jerusalem, after raising the question of “Where is the role of whoever is in charge of the matter from the different levels in the Palestinian authorities”. I did not know that the issue could be as deep as the graves go. A series of the corrupt mindset that ends up in a mafiose style of behaviour that is practiced on all levels.

It was not the first article on Jerusalem related “properties” owned by Waqf. It was on a softer matter that concerned the involvement of the University in one of the properties with the Israeli Municipality and authorities that stirred a wave of anger and resulted in the removal of the article from the news outlet. It felt frightening to think of who could be behind the removal of an article that addresses such a “needy” topic, in times, we Palestinians are in a serious state of panic as our city – Jerusalem- is systematically Juadiased and Israelis. It felt like a knot tightening its edging on my neck, but I pretended I did not see where the pressure was coming from… after all, I did not touch the “president” in such articles!

As the nex articles “passed” censorship, I knew something would go bad. After all, I am raising a very serious issue. Silence or not responding did not necessarily mean that the articles passed unnoticed. It meant a different level of pressure.

It was not the threat or the warning that bothered me. It was the media censorship on the issue that scared me. I got used to my articles being blocked or removed for security reasons on the Palestinian side. All these rules of not having to mention anything wrong regarding the president, his sons, etc…  a censorship that can gradually reach to a level where you become the topic of censorship if you disturb the interest of the editorial people themselves. As I was knocking my head in all directions trying to knock on doors of those who can really save the situation, I felt trapped more and more. I still trusted the media to do something. I was compelled when an international media outlet said clearly: we don’t write about what palestinains do to themselves when it comes to harm. We only write about topics that show Israeli violations. I was thinking, so what do we do since Palestinians themselves are violating our basic rights in such a matter, and when the international country in this sense is a major supporter to the Palestinians and specifically to those who violate the graves. the guy I spoke to not only said it was not their editorial line but also started mobilizing against my approach by contacting or warning others about my intention to stir the issue.

Whom can the Palestinians go to in such matters, when they are not supposed to go the israeli side because this will show our “bad” sides to the enemy. We cannot go to the Palestinian MEdia because when things are not censored they are violating personal interests.

I felt like living inside a mob. A gang. Among gangsters. Something my uncle’s call reminded me of bluntly: “where do you think you are living. we are in a stateless affair of everything where all is a mess. There are no rules. No laws. There are only gangsters. this is the reality of all. Wake up!”

It was kind of sarcastic, as my uncle was calling me from the phone of the official whom I disturbed with my article. He was reminding me of course, of something similar that occured to my cousin some years ago when she interacted with a post on facebook regarding a road she was working on, with an instruction company in Silwan. Those who were distrubed – I would say furious- , brought the family into months of tribal sittings and asked them to pay a hundred thousand dollars in compensation to their loss!!! Apparently, those people prospered from confirming violations that Israelis do and the assurance of my cousin that the road was just a road disturbed their advocacy plan in soliciting Gulf and Muslim money!!

In the case of the graveyard in Jerusalem, where apparent gangsters are functioning with the protection fo the Waqf  – or despite-  them is another similar case. A place that is se

riously threatened with land grabbing and orchestrated change in the identity of the city by the Israeli occupation. These people are actually unintended-ly or maybe intending-ly helping the Israeli occupation in their master plan of control.

In a time when we race with the Israeli Occupation propaganda in controlling our lives and land under religious justifications of the claim. Some people are voluntarily helping the Israelis to announce such claims. When graves that date to five hundred or some even to seven hundred years of history are ruined and replaced to be sold for new graves to people who pay to bury in Jerusalem is nothing but an internalized form of colonolization.

Somewhere it is terrifying to see that we got this far… a pedagogy of colonolization is what these people are implementing on their own people.

Israel to demolish 237 homes in Jerusalem

PNN/ Jerusalem

Israeli occupation authorities from the Jerusalem municipality and heavily armed police stormed the neighborhood of Wadi al-Hummus in Sur Baher town, south of Jerusalem, on Sunday evening, taking measurements of homes threatened with demolition.

The head of Wadi al-Hummus Committee, Hamada Hamada, told the Palestinian Information Centre that the planned demolition campaign will include 237 apartments that are homes for about 500 people. He added that the Jerusalem municipality asked the residents to demolish their own homes or it would do the demolition and force them to pay steep fines.

Hamada also said that an Israeli court has given the families until 18 July to evacuate and demolish their homes. The demolition campaign comes under the pretext that the targeted homes are too close to the separation wall and pose a security threat. Israeli laws stipulate that Palestinian homes must be at least 250 meters away from the wall.

Wadi al-Hummus is inhabited by over 6,000 Palestinians, 500 of whom will be forced to leave after the demolition.

The End of an Era: MAD Magazine Will Publish Its Last Issue With Original Content This Fall

As a cultural reference, MAD magazine may have died decades ago. This is a not a disparagement, but a statement of fact. The kind of satire the august, anarchic comic first unleashed on the world of 1952 debuted in a cultural milieu that is no more, and a form—the illustrated, satirical periodical—that is increasingly niche. MAD left an indelible impression on American publishing’s past, but as the magazine’s legendary cartoonist Al Jaffee tells The Washington Post, “it’s mostly nostalgia now.”

Responding to the market’s cues, MAD will more or less disappear from newsstands, publishing legacy content on a subscription-only basis and on the direct market, “a.k.a. specialty and comic book stores,” writes Gizmodo, “like the vast majority of DC’s comics output is already.” MAD shaped itself in opposition to Cold War paranoia and never seemed to find a new edge after favorite targets like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan left the scene. The magazine turned almost exclusively to pop culture parody in the 90s. As ABC News reports, MAD “peaked at 2.8 million subscribers in 1973,” then began its decline, with only “140,000 left as of 2017.”

The magazine’s founding editor, cartoonist Harvey Kurtzman, passed away in 1993. His successor Al Feldstein, who brought the magazine to international prominence, died in 2014. MAD‘s longtime, tight-knit staff of writers and cartoonists are mostly retired, and most are sanguine about the winding down. “It’s been a logical development,” comments another MAD cartooning legend, Sergio Aragonés. To wit, after Issue 10 (MAD re-numbered last June) comes out this fall, there will be no new content, “except for the end-of-year specials,” notes The Post. “All issues after that will be republished content culled from 67 years of publication.”

This still represents a great way for newcomers to MAD to catch up on its wildly skewed view of the last half of the 20th century, though some imagination is required to appreciate how subversive their humor was for much of its run. MAD inspired countless offshoots in the decade after its founding, setting the tone for radical campus publications, countercultural cartoonists, and comic writers, some of whom went on to become Stephen Colbert and Judd Apatow, who both wrote in the pages of MAD about how much the magazine meant to them during their apprentice years.

The list of MAD devotees, both famous and not (I count myself among the latter), runs into the millions, but it runs along some obvious demographic divides. As the magazine is poised to become a gift-shop version of itself, tributes have poured in for its editors, writers, and cartoonists—all of them, to a man, well, men. And most of those tributes—those from prominent cartoonists and writers claiming MAD as a formative influence, at least—are also from men of a certain generation, most of them straight and white.

Such market segmentation, one might say, speaks to the way MAD‘s brand of political satire remained embedded in its heyday. As laid-back cartoonists Jaffee and Aragonés recognize, you can’t stay young and relevant forever—though MAD had a remarkably good run. The Post offers a notable example of Mad’s passage into history. When the current president “mockingly referred to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg as Alfred E. Neuman”—the once-ubiquitous, gap-toothed symbol of take-no-prisoners irreverence—the 37-year-old Buttigieg replied, “I’ll be honest. I had to Google that.”

Related Content:

A Gallery of Mad Magazine’s Rollicking Fake Advertisements from the 1960s

Al Jaffee, the Longest Working Cartoonist in History, Shows How He Invented the Iconic “Folds-Ins” for Mad Magazine

Mad Magazine’s Al Jaffee & Other Cartoonists Create Animations to End Distracted Driving

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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