No Room for the Dead, No Solution in Gaza

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Joined: 19-06-07
Jan 18 2009 16:55
No Room for the Dead, No Solution in Gaza

No Room for the Dead, No Solution in Gaza
by an insignificant communist who has never been there

Every qassam rocket and IDF shell brings neither safety nor community nor freedom. When the shells and rockets stop it will be time to go back to work or the bread line, to die a slower but less terrifying death, to live a less ghastly but no more meaningful life, leaving nothing behind but dead labor to surround those who come after. Or when the shells and rockets stop it will be because there will be no one left to shoot them. Or when the shells and rockets stop it will be because the flags and banners from the marches halted them. Or when the shells and rockets stop it will be because G-d, in his infinite wisdom, brings another great flood, leaving only cruise ships and Somali pirates to roam the sea in search of doves. Or when the shells and rockets stop it will be because humanity, in a magnificent accident, stumbles towards communism. In a world of such possibilities one does not know who to pray to.

Outside of politics, there is no need for a brief history of events or description of the carnage. Every war has the same story. The specificity of each makes broad narratives impossible. Nation demands value. Value demands nation. Value and nation do not follow the same logic, yet they are logically inseparable. They are separate categories but share the same altar. To what end do we count and compare the sacrifices?

Every question of origin for this war, like all others, bears the same reply: so it is wanted there where power lies. And where does power lie? Power is not the United States or Israel, the Zionist or the Islamist, the Jews or the Caliphate. Power does not have a face or a people. It is capital, commodity, exchange, value, state, gang – a global system of infinite complexity with no ruler but the unceasing creation and destruction of capital, the extraction of surplus value, the circulation of commodities and money, the nightmares of race, ideology, and nation. In this war, like all others, humanity loses regardless of the winner, if there is a winner this time.

It is human to seek a solution, some way out from the horrors that we witness, even if we only witness them on Al-Jazeera. What solution does a young protestor in London imagine when he calls for a Gaze ruled by Hamas? And the other protestor there, what sort of ‘peace’ does he imagine will be imposed by Israel? Such is the hell of a world driven by the law of value; we can dream of nothing else in its place. Ideas are as popular as the amount of capital behind them, so one cannot be surprised by the abundance of nationalism, anti-semitism, and Islamophobia amongst the forces lining up “for” and “against”. If we do not dream of driving the Jews into the sea or building a Greater Israel, there is nothing left to dream of besides more qassam rockets and IDF shells, more work and bread lines, more races and nations, stretching on forever. That is to say - there is no solution outside of miracles. There is no solution. Gravity does not pull the crowd towards internationalism any more than it pulls me towards heaven.

A familiar voice from the corner calls out – don’t the fires in Greece give you other dreams? Its heat has already torn holes in the shroud enveloping an era of diminished horizons and worsening social conditions; in place of resignation and fatalism, it offers other choices, putting the world in another light. Perhaps. With this dream of Greek fire we might sleep a little easier. But this world in another light is still this world, and we will see many new lights in the coming years, both terrifying and enticing. The pro-revolutionaries are always ahead of themselves, proclaiming the end of the old world too soon. Activists mobilize themselves against the latest catastrophe but only prolong it. Who can blame them?

A stranger’s smile means so much when you are lonely. When you are lonely, the stranger does not matter as much as the smile. When the smile is erased by war, contorted by fear and anger, we are reminded, as always, that there is no Virgil to lead us from this inferno.