fredag 28 augusti 2009
Israel also denies having nuclear weapons, that it ever used white phosphorus on civilians and that it uses Palestinians as human shields. I don’t mean to imply that all allegations toward Israel are true; rather, my point is that Israel’s knee-jerk repudiations ought to be taken with a grain of salt. The best way to find out whether an allegation has any basis is to get to the bottom of it—the sooner, the better.
But first, let me remind those who, despite what they know to be true, continue propagating otherwise:
For 42 years, Israel has ignored UN resolutions, the Geneva Convention and international law.
For 42 years, Israel’s government and Israeli media have automatically rejected any allegations against the IDF of humanitarian crimes as anti-Semitic. It is important to emphasize that the crimes referred to here are illegal settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, mass evictions, extrajudicial executions and collective punishment; not the suspicions that certain Palestinian families have of the IDF.
And now that the Israeli government and Israeli media is busy spreading false, spiteful accusations, enthusiastically cheered on by a few Swedish journalists and politicians, the same pattern emerges: The central issue is not what the article says, but how it can be used. This was the same tactic used against/on me when a former Israeli Ambassador vandalized my installation piece “Snow White and the Madness of Truth”.
The article that has Israel seeing red does state that young Palestinians who have been wanted by the IDF have been killed, and that their bodies have been returned and sewn together in a way that has raised their families’ suspicions that their organs have been removed. Perhaps the apparent connection between a few specific IDF soldiers’ alleged actions in 1992 and the recently exposed organ trade scandal is unfortunate. But we can still ask the question: What happened to those bodies?
And neither the Palestinian families nor the journalist, Donald Boström, has spoken or written about Jewish soldiers: the allegations are against the IDF soldiers, who may have been involved in certain specific incidents.
The Israeli Army is not a Jewish army. It comprises a multitude of ethnicities and religions. For example, Druze and Bedouins, to name two, are not Jewish (20 percent of Israel’s citizens are non-Jewish). Furthermore, there are more Jews living outside Israel than inside Israel. Therefore, it is obvious to most people, including Boström, that it is both inaccurate and racist to associate Jewish people with the alleged crimes of the IDF. And, for the record, Boström’s article did not make that misguided association. In addition, it is obvious that Jewish people should not be indicted for the documented crimes that have been committed by the State of Israel and the IDF over the last 42 years.
That some people still insist on making that inaccurate and distasteful association should not prevent any serious critique or investigation of wrongdoing. Such a taboo would become an unspoken restriction on our freedom of speech. Puzzlingly enough, those who automatically equate Israel with Jewish people and vice versa are two very incompatible groups: Israel’s government, cheered on by the so-called friends of Israel, is one; the other group consists of various racist and anti-Semitic factions.
But apparently, Sweden must learn, from the excellent example set by Israel, what real democracy looks like and what true freedom of speech sounds like.
In Israel, voices are being raised, calling for an infringement on free speech for all those who are considered to “defame” Israel. Among the alleged defamers is Dr. Neve Gordon, who wrote in the Los Angeles Times on August 20th that Israel fulfills all criteria for an apartheid state, since some of its laws give Jews advantages and discriminate against Palestinians.
Sweden should safeguard its freedom of speech, rather than adopt Israel’s whimsical view of freedom of the press and democracy.
But instead, Israel’s significantly more confined debate culture is seeping into our country, carried forth by opinion-makers like Gunnar Hökmark, who is more than thrilled to assist Israel in, unobstructedly, continuing to break international law. And therefore, reckless attacks and unfounded allegations of anti-Semitism are hurled at anyone, or anything, that calls Israel’s self-image into question.
It is striking that while demanding that the Swedish government condemn an article in Aftonbladet, Israel itself is busy piling roadblocks in the way of an international UN commission to investigate Israel’s potential crimes against international humanitarian law in the Occupied Territories in general, and injustices committed by the Israeli Army in Gaza in particular.
Automatically preventing any insight, and rejecting any suspicions—regardless of whether they are brought forth in a “sensationalist article” or through a sincere UN assignment—only hurts the Israeli people and casts shame upon Israel.
Dror Feiler is a musician, artist and the Chairman of European Jews for Just Peace.
He fulfilled his military obligation, serving as a paratrooper in the Israeli Army in 1969–1972.
torsdag 27 augusti 2009
Enligt Israels utrikesminister Avigdor Lieberman har Sverige ett stort problem som behöver åtgärdas: yttrandefriheten. Israel vill hjälpa till genom att kräva att Sveriges regering tar avstånd från sina tryckfrihetslagar genom att fördöma en artikel i Aftonbladet (17 augusti) som redogör för misstankar som Israels regering och Israels armé förnekar.
Israel förnekar också att de har atomvapen, att de använt vit fosfor mot civilbefolkning och att de använder palestinier som mänskliga sköldar. Med det vill jag inte säga att alla anklagelser mot Israel är sanna utan att man bör ta Israels regerings reflexmässiga förnekande med en viss nypa salt. Det bästa sättet att ta reda på om anklagelser har någon grund är att gå till botten med dem. Ju tidigare desto bättre.
Men låt mig först påminna de som mot bättre vetande förespeglar något annat:
I 42 år har Israel åsidosatt FN:s resolutioner, Genèvekonventioner och folkrätten.
I 42 år har Israels regering och israelisk media reflexmässigt stämplat anklagelser mot den israeliska armén för folkrättsbrott som antisemitiska. Jag vill understryka att de brott jag syftar på är illegala bosättningar på Västbanken och i Östra Jerusalem, folkfördrivningar, utomrättsliga avrättningar och kollektiva bestraffningar och inte de misstankar som palestinska familjer hyser mot den israeliska armén.
Men nu när den israeliska regeringen och israelisk media sprider falska och hätska beskyllningar, påhejande av vissa skribenter och politiker i Sverige, följer det samma mönster: Det viktigaste är inte vad som står i artikeln utan vad man kan använda den till. En metod jag själv blev utsatt för i samband med installationen Snövit och Sanningens Vansinne som en tidigare israelisk ambassadör handgripligen attackerade.
I den artikel som fått Israel att se rött står visserligen att unga palestinier som varit eftersökta av den israeliska armén dödats och efter några dagar lämnats tillbaka ihopsydda på ett sätt som väckt familjernas misstankar att man tagit organ ur deras döda kroppar. Det må vara att det associativa samband som uppstår mellan enskilda israeliska soldaters möjliga agerande 1992 och den nyligen uppdagade organhandelhärvan är olycklig men detta bör inte hindra oss att ställa frågan: Vad har hänt med dessa kroppar?
Men ingen har talat eller skrivit om judiska soldater, varken de palestinska familjerna eller artikelförfattaren Donald Boström. Utan misstankarna riktas mot soldater i den israeliska armén som kan ha varit inblandade i specifika incidenter.
Israels armé är inte en judisk armé. I den ingår människor med olika etnicitet och religioner: druser och beduiner är till exempel inte judar (20 procent av Israels medborgare är inte judar). Det bor dessutom fler judar utanför Israel än i Israel. Det är därför självklart för de flesta, inklusive Donald Boström, att det är felaktigt och dessutom rasistiskt att associera det judiska folket med de brott israeliska soldater misstänks vara inblandade i, vilket inte heller görs i artikeln. Eller att lägga det judiska folket till last de bevisade brott den israeliska staten och armén begått i 42 år. När endast de som utför och de som är politiskt ansvariga för dessa handlingar bär ansvaret.
Att det på sina håll ändå görs en sådan felaktig och osmaklig sammanblandning, får inte hindra seriös kritik eller misstankar om oegentligheter. Ett sådant tabu blir annars en outtalad inskränkning i yttrandefriheten. Egendomligt nog är de som automatiskt jämställer Israel med det judiska folket och vice versa två väldigt motstridiga grupper: Israels regering, påhejade av de så kallade Israelvännerna utgör den ena, olika rasistiska/antisemitiska grupper den andra.
Och nu vill man att Sverige ska lära av föredömet Israel, vad en riktig demokrati och yttrandefrihet är.
Nu när röster i Israel höjs för att inskränka yttrandefriheten för alla som anses ”smutskasta” Israel som till exempel den israeliske akademikern Dr Neve Gordon som i L A Times (20 augusti) skriver att Israel uppfyller alla kriterier för en apartheidstat eftersom vissa lagar ger judar fördelar och diskriminerar palestinier.
Sverige bör värna yttrandefriheten och inte anamma den israeliska regeringens godtyckliga synsätt på pressfrihet och demokrati.
Men det betydligt hårdare israeliska debattklimatet har sipprat in i vårt land bland opinionsbildare som Gunnar Hökmark, som gärna hjälper Israel att utan inblandning fortsätta med sina folkrättsbrott. Därför kommer varje försök som skakar om Israels självbild att bli måltavla för oseriösa påhopp och ogrundade anklagelser om antisemitism.
Det är slående att samtidigt som Israel kräver att den svenska regeringen ska fördöma en artikel i Aftonbladet staplar man hinder i vägen för en internationell undersökningskommission som på FN:s uppdrag ska undersöka Israels eventuella folkrättsbrott i de ockuperade områdena i allmänhet och den israeliska arméns övergrepp i Gaza i synnerhet.
Att reflexmässigt mörka insyn och slå ifrån sig oavsett om det gäller misstankar framförda i en så kallad ”sensationsartikel” eller ett seriöst FN-uppdrag skadar det israeliska folkets intressen och drar skam över Israel.
fredag 1 maj 2009
Mitt namn är Dror Feiler.
Jag är kulturarbetare och aktivist.
Jag är engagerad i kulturpolitiken, i kampen för ett fritt Palestina,
i kampen för mäskliga rättigheter i Colombia och i kampen mot rasismen, antisemitism och islamofobi
Vi lever i kristider, vår utrikespolitik är i kris.
Vår regering talar på ett sätt, men agerar på ett annat.
Sverige talar om fred men man bedriver vapenhandel med länder som Israel, Colombia och USA.
Sverige talar om allas lika rätt, om mänskliga rättigheter och demokrati men när det gäller att gå från ord till handling, accepterar man att 1.5 miljoner palestinier är satta under en blockad som är både moraliskt oacceptabelt och rättsvidrig.
Så låt oss påminna Sveriges regering att:
Alla som försvarar denna blockad försvarar denna blockads brott.
Att alla som försvara denna blockad och tror på att det är rätt att beröva 1,5 miljoner människor tillgång till mediciner, byggmaterial och rent vatten har ingen rätt att tala om humanitet och moral.
Att alla som nu ger sitt tysta godkännande åt de styrande politikerna i Israel och dess armé att fortsätta med denna blockad eller låter bli att se till att den upphör kommer att tvingas att bära Kains märke i pannan långt efter att blockaden har upphävts eller krossats.
Vi lever i kristider, vår kulturpolitik är i kris.
Vi har fått en kulturutredning på halsen som är ämnad att privatisera och individualisera kulturen och som undviker att tala om kvalitet och de negativa effekterna kommersialismen har på kulturen.
Vår kulturminister försöker till och med tala om för oss vad som är konst och vad som inte är konst.
Rektorer försöker med juridiska krumbukter kväva i sin linda unga konstnärers frihet och vilja att utmana samhällets gränser och normer.
Låt oss dra en parallell: Vad skulle arbetarrörelsen ha uppnått om den inte hade utmanat borgarklassens lagar, normer och gränser?
Idag – den första maj bör vi, tillåta oss att kalla saker vid sitt rätta namn.
Så låt oss säga det klart och tydligt:
HISTORIEN OM ALLA HITTILLSVARANDE SAMHÄLLEN ÄR HISTORIEN OM KLASSKAMP.
Låt oss från och med idag på första maj våga säga igen klart och tydligt ord som:
SOCIALISM, REVOLUTION, FRIHETSKAMP, DET KLASSLÖSA SAMHÄLLET, SOLIDARITET.
Låt dessa ord idag följas av handlingar: stöd kampen mot ockupationen i Palestina.
Låt våra ord idag följas av handlingar: stöd de Latinamerikanska folkrörelsernas kamp för och väg mot JÄMLIKHET, RÄTTVISA och SOCIALISM.
Låt oss säga det klart och tydligt, det som så många nu plötsligt och samstämmigt säger att KAPITALISMEN ÄR I KRIS
Låt oss säga det klart och tydligt, det som inte tillräkligt många ännu vågar inse, att den enda GLOBALA OCH LÅNGSIKTIGA LÖSNINGEN ÄR SOCIALISMEN.
Och låt oss säga det än en gång med Karl Marx ord: HISTORIEN OM ALLA HITTILLSVARANDE SAMHÄLLEN ÄR HISTORIEN OM KLASSKAMP.
Låt oss för en gång skull hålla med Wallenbergarna: och jag citerar från DN den 30 april 2009 ”Skyll inte krisen på giriga direktörer” – Ja de har rätt – KRISEN ÄR KAPITALISMENS KRIS.
Över hela världen försöker människor att i allt större utsträckning hitta nya, alternativa lösningar för problemen i samhället. De konfronterar rådande system för att bryta ner dem. De strejkar, de ockuperar mark, de vägrar lyda order, de bildar gerillagrupper, de bekämpar ockupation. De gör motstånd och ifrågasätter, ibland med sitt eget liv som insats.
Är de hjältar eller terrorister?
Är de flummiga eller naiva?
Är de moralistiska världsförbättrare eller våldsromantiker?
Eller ser de från sin så kallade lägre utkikspunkt längre och klarare än vi?
De som gör motstånd och ifrågasätter, ibland med sitt eget liv som insats.
Och vad gör vi i Sverige i den ”Bästa av alla världar” skapad av en arbetarrörelse i en mångårig kamp?
Vi är försiktiga, vi beklagar oss över situationen och de orättvisor allianspolitiken för med sig men vi vågar inte utmana den rådande ordningen, vi vågar inte kalla saker vid sitt rätta namn.
Så låt oss göra det idag på första maj, på den internationella solidaritetens dag.
Låt oss konstatera att:
kapitalismen krisar nu igen, och som vanligt är det vi som får ta smällen.
Låt oss konstatera att:
uppsägningar, lönesänkningar och prisökningar inte drabbar de rika.
Låt oss konstatera att:
Nu igen visar den politiska och ekonomiska överklassen hur girig den är: när den som nu parasitera på samhället med feta bonusar och fallskärmsavtal.
Och som vanligt är det vi som förväntas betala kalaset.
Vi kan idag ställa igen frågan med Bertolt Brechts ord från Tolvschillingsoperan
”Vad är brottet att råna en bank i jämförelse med brottet att grunda en bank”
Tyvärr är den ekonomiska krisen i världen i allmänhet och i Sverige i synnerhet och det sätt på vilken den behandlas av den svenska arbetarrörelsen ett symptom på en arbetarrörelse i kris: Ingen ideologi, svag politik, ingen strategi och väldigt lite civilkurage.
Frågorna rör vid samhällskroppens nervsystem: motsättningen mellan arbete och kapital. Och nu när klassklyftorna och den folkliga vreden växer har arbetarrörelsen ett gyllene tillfälle att flytta fram sina positioner. Men man vågar inte mobilisera för en riktig radikal förändring av samhället .
Arbetarrörelsens avradikalisering har pågått i decennier. Vi har blivit nerdrogade av den nyliberala flumideologins falska individualism och falska valfrihet.
Men detta har inte lyckats helt. Vi vet att en annan värld är möjlig, som är på en gång mera effektiv, mera demokratisk i sina verkningsformer, och samtidigt mindre destruktiv.
Vem tar ansvar för kapitalismens kris?
Regeringen skyler på den globale ekonomis härdsmälta.
Direktörerna försöker skamset försvara sina bonusar med hänvisning till att de gjort så gott de kunnat.
Ekonomerna och politikerna lägger pannan i djupa veck och undrar hur detta kunde ske?
Och de säger: det måste vara en synnerligen olycklig kombination av många var för sig svårförutsägbara händelser som vållat krisen.
Men vi bör säga till dem: SÅDAN ÄR KAPITALISMEN!
Och sedan bör vi tillägga: Marx hade rätt, återkommande kriser är något som verkligen kännetecknar det kapitalistiska systemet. Det är KAPITALISMEN DUMBOM! För att parafrasera en förre detta vise statsminister.
Idag som alla andra dagar bör vi visa solidaritet med de förtryckta i Världen.
Idag som alla andra dagar bör vi visa solidaritet med det Palestinska folket.
Det kan du och vi göra genom att stödja solidaritetsprojektet SHIP TO GAZA
Ge ditt bidrag till ett projekt som utmanar den Israeliska rättsvidriga blockaden mot Gaza.
Kamrater låt mig avsluta med en dikt som är aktuellare än någonsin,
skriven av Ingrid Sjöstrands
Elda under din vrede med maktens nyheter
Dämpa inte din smärta över livet som stjäls ifrån oss
Trösta inte din sorg över världen som våldtas inför våra ögon
Elda under din vrede
Ett spöke går runt Europa . . .
lördag 25 april 2009
Today, April 21st or on the 27th of Nisan (according to the Jewish Calendar) is the official Holocaust and Bravery Day, to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and the Warzaw Ghetto Uprising. Therefore, today I am obviously thinking of my, many family members who were murdered during the Holocaust in Poland and Germany
So it is understandable that it is completely unacceptable to me that Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is making untrue statements about the Holocaust. This must, of course, be condemned. The statement about wiping Israel off the map (if that is what he actually said) should also be condemned. On the other hand, we can, and we have the right and should, criticize the policies and actions of other states, and demand reforms or constitutional amendments from them if we find it necessary. However, the desire to wipe them out is totally unacceptable.
It was hardly surprising that Ahmadinejad succeeded in provoking the EU and the US by condemning Israel, calling it a racist state, causing the EU delegates to leave in anger. Since you shouldn’t use the conference as a forum for attacks and division, as the UN Secretary General so “correctly” put it, or since no one should attempt to kidnap the conference for political attacks, as a UN spokeswoman expressed it.
But can we all, who claim to advocate democracy and free speech, completely unconditionally accept the agreement that the EU and others made “that if anyone says this (i.e. that Israel is a racist regime), then we will leave”, as the head of Sweden’s UN delegation explained it to Svenska Dagbladet?
In other words, is using the word racist taboo when talking about a country like Israel at the UN conference on racism? Or, what does Israel need to do (that it doesn’t already do) to make it clear beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt that its policies, and its laws and applications of them, are racist? Israel was not even allowed to be mentioned in the final document. Anyone who followed the developments around the so-called ”Durban 2” knows that, following intense pressure from the EU, the draft final declaration has been revised down, from 45 pages to 17 pages in which all references to Israel or the Middle East have been deleted. And despite that, both Israel and the United States still chose to boycott the conference, along with several other nations.
It can be deduced, then, that the reactions are not only, as one might have thought, about Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s tarnished statement. He “only” violated a taboo. And that is a significantly more worrisome, provocative and intriguing topic of discussion than are Ahmadinejad’s “scandalous statements”.
Because, what else can we call a nation whose policies make crucial differences between people, based on religion and ethnicity? What should we call a state under whose laws everyone is not equal? What should we call the practice of granting exclusive land-purchasing rights to Jewish citizens (approximately 90 percent of the country’s land is not available for purchase to the country’s non-Jewish citizens, solely because they are not Jewish)? What should we call laws that allow Jewish citizens to marry foreign nationals and live together in Israel while that same thing is forbidden for Israel’s Palestinian citizens, solely based on their ethnicity?
A lot can be said about Iran’s President Mahomoud Ahmadinejad; he both exaggerates and lies. But is it really a huge scandal to describe Israel as a racist country? Is it such an immense scandal that all of Europe’s representation goes ballistic? Isn’t it a greater “scandal” that Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies are allowed to continue year in and year out? Isn’t it a greater “scandal” that, on top of that, Israel’s illegal settlement policy continues in the occupied territories, since 1967? Isn’t it a greater “scandal” that Israel is allowed to defy countless U.N. resolutions, and to violate international law and Geneva Conventions without any action from the international community? And, perhaps the worst scandal of them all right now: that Gaza’s population of 1.5 million is still boycotted, isolated, without any chance of obtaining building materials it needs for the reconstruction of what Israel demolished during its latest attack on Gaza. A “scandal” so immense that words cannot possibly describe it. Because, tell me, which words will make it through the eye of the needle when it comes to Israel? Which words are we allowed to use to describe Israeli policy, without making Israel look bad? Is it even possible?
On the other hand, talking about a tragedy is always welcome. It doesn’t require anything of us, since we use that same term when speaking of natural disasters and Greek tragedies, which no one could possibly prevent. And yet, we all commiserate deeply with the Palestinians. We are, after all, humanists.
This painful, drawn-out erosion of the principle of everyone’s equal worth, that goes on, year in and year out, is demoralizing and devastating to the entire global community. An erosion that results in the international community boycotting Gaza’s people, the oppressed, the occupied and the weak, while the most powerful leaders, at an international conference, so obviously and loyally demonstrate the consistency and power behind their words, when it comes to sparing Israel. But not when it comes to protecting the tormented people of Gaza. When will we hear such unambiguous, plain language being directed at the state that, according to our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, committed “massive war crimes” last winter? Because how else can we continue believing in our language, the words we have available to us, the words our politicians use? And what signals are we sending, in the example above, to Gaza’s continuingly isolated, injured and punished people and the rest of the third-world population?
When will Europe grow up, and realize its total responsibility for “the scandal”, the “tragedy”, yes, all of these failures that can be described in different words? And for which two peoples, the Israelis and the Palestinians are paying a price that’s far too high. Is there a limit? Not even all of the victims from this past winter have changed anything, basically. So therefore, let me confess my sins: I’m having some difficulty in sharing the West’s outrage over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statements.
onsdag 11 mars 2009
A street musicians fuge
Filmed by Dror Feiler
Edited by Dror Feiler
A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.
Walter Benjamin: Theses on the Philosophy of History IX
FARC guerillas singing their songs in their camp in the jungle.
Filmed by Dror Feiler
Edited by Dror Feiler
To be in exile to be displaced from one’s country of origin and upbringing to be an immigrant —the experience of over 185 million people in the world, on a conservative estimate—is a wrench perhaps comparable in impact to that of war, long-term hunger or imprisonment.
For me to be in exile, to be an immigrant is like being “NOISE” in musical context.
Instead of a person creatively carrying over meanings, across accepted borders of sense, a person is here bodily pushed over borders by forces beyond his or her control.
In “NOISE MUSIC” performances aural elements are sprinting toward each other from opposite far ends of the aural space and are colliding in a direct, violent impact. This sound of crashing aural elements is “NOISE MUSIC”. While sound connotes nothing more than the sense data of hearing, “NOISE MUSIC”, from the Latin nausea, suggests an unpleasant disturbance, confusion, or interference baldly lacking any musical quality and that in sociological terms for me is “EXILE”.
Creating this sense of feeling alien and out of place, a widespread unease sometimes deepening into despair, is built-in the experience of modernity. Marx, found the root of alienation in the labor process. The acute critic of the first modern mass democracy, Thoreau, postulated that most people live lives of quiet desperation, but the sentiment is most often articulated by and about intellectuals, from Nietzsche to Sartre to Said.
“NOISE MUSIC” generates straightaway auditory disturbance, panic and fear, we hear something like the squeal of a dentist's suction straw, the collision of helicopters, or the thermonuclear roar of the sun's core. It sounds as if the machines of music have begun to digest the earth, and we listen to the garbage disposal run as nature is ground in technology's gizzard. And this fear is similar to the usual reaction to the “other”, to the immigrant.
"The metaphor, ‘all modern thinkers are exiles’, might tend rather to conceal the brute fact of bodies not only psychically but physically in exile, and the new ways of feeling, thinking, and living that this brings; to elide the experience of working and downtrodden people. The metaphor is of Jewish/Christian origin, evoking the expulsion from Eden; but “what is truly horrendous: that exile is irremediably secular and unbearably historical; that it is produced by human beings for other human beings”. Edward Said, ‘Reflections on Exile’, Granta 13, 1984, p. 160; reprinted in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays, Cambridge, ma 2000.
One cannot listen to an entire composition without suffering effects: muscles twitch, nerves fray, the heart races, and cognition hits a wall. Unlike artists who pride themselves on rupturing eardrums with low frequencies at high volumes, or who induce fear and disgust through extended samples of a rape beneath viscous hardcore “NOISE MUSIC” is not attacking our physical or moral limits. Instead, it presents the simple horror of extreme complexity. Here music is sacrificed to the art of aural agitation.
"Most people are principally aware of one culture, one setting, one home; exiles are aware of at least two, and this plurality of vision gives rise to an awareness of simultaneous dimensions, an awareness that--to borrow a phrase from music--is contrapuntal. For an exile, habits of life, expression, or activity in the new environment inevitably occur against the memory of these things in another environment. Thus both the new and the old environment are vivid, actual, occurring together contrapuntally. ... There is a unique pleasure in this sort of apprehension." Edward Said, “The Mind of Winter: Reflections on Life in Exile,” Harper's Magazine (September, 1984), 269: pp. 49-55, p. 35.
How can we make sense of this situation? Why must music now risk its own identity in order to strike a critical chord with its culture? What social and aesthetic forces are at work behind the back of this seemingly anti-social and anti-aesthetic phenomenon? Does the "unlistenability" of “NOISE MUSIC” mark a kinship with the now distant and inaudible shock of the avant-garde music? Is dissonance even possible in our age, and what does dissonance, in its achievement or failure, press us to confront? Just as the music of Jimi Hendrix and the Sex Pistols that once resembled alternative forms of life now find homes in soft drink and car commercials, will these unbearable “NOISE MUSIC” also take root in the status quo? Have they already?
"The pattern that sets the course for the intellectual as outsider is best exemplified by the condition of exile, the state of never being fully adjusted, always feeling outside the chatty, familiar world inhabited by natives … Exile for the intellectual in this metaphysical sense is restlessness, movement, constantly being unsettled, and unsettling others. You cannot go back to some earlier and perhaps more stable condition of being at home; and, alas, you can never fully arrive, be at one in your new home or situation." Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual: The 1993 Reith Lectures (New York: Pantheon Books, 1994), p. 39.
“NOISE MUSIC” could only become meaningful and articulate at a time when thought and language have become somehow inarticulate. As T.W. Adorno's stipulates, that we live in an abstract and instrumental world, where each object we encounter holds meaning only as 1) a representative of the class to which it belongs and 2) a tool for our use.
Much of the veracity of Adorno's theory of art lies in its ability to explain the cultural tension played out in the conflicting responses to “NOISE MUSIC”.
“The exile knows that in a secular and contingent world, homes are always provisional. Borders and barriers, which enclose us within the safety of familiar territory, can also become prisons, and are often defended beyond reason or necessity. Exiles cross borders, break barriers of thought and experience”. Said, ‘Reflections on Exile’, p. 170.
As soon as we encounter “NOISE MUSIC”, we are engaged in a struggle to make some sense of what we hear. Unable to categorize the stimulus within any known musical genre, incapable of interpreting or recognizing sounds, and generally bereft of aesthetic orientation, the work commands our full attention. With our ear tuned and focused to hunt out some structure and reason in the work, micrologics emerge, and like Schoenberg and Berg's rigid expressionistic compositions under the twelve-tone system, the work's elaborate and exact structure is not readily apparent. Sometimes “NOISE MUSIC” breaks for a few seconds, as if the blinds to the horror were closed for a moment, to reveal the tinkling of wind chimes. Like the vertical zips in Barnett Newman's otherwise monochrome paintings that mark the very origins of the universe, such a quiet landmark amidst this otherwise undifferentiated sonic topography becomes a potential site for infinite meaning. We're intrigued: if there's some form, there must be more. Reconciliation, it would seem, must follow somewhere in the wake of structure.
The metaphor of intellectual as exile remains highly ambiguous. On the one hand, the chosen identity of outsider suggests a welcome break with conformity: ‘to stand away from “home” in order to look at it with the exile’s detachment’ is a particular instance of what Brecht calls the ‘estrangement effect’, of seeing all as strange unless sanctioned by reasoned values. This involves seeing things not simply as they are, but ‘as they have come to be that way: contingent, not inevitable . . . the result of a series of historical choices made by human beings’. And indeed Said’s insistence that by a creative use of displaced personhood the intellectual can become a well-informed critic in the borderlands between the poorer and richer sections of the world, on ‘both sides of the imperial divide’, seems to me rather Brechtian and right. In that case, forced displacement becomes ‘a model for the intellectual who is tempted, and even beset and overwhelmed, by the rewards of accommodation, yea-saying, settling in’. Said, ‘Reflections on Exile’, p. 170; ‘Intellectual Exile: Expatriates and Marginals’, Grand Street 12.3, 1993, pp. 122–4; Culture and Imperialism, New York 1993, p. xxvii.
The most disturbing aspect of “NOISE MUSIC” must be its technical perfection. Despite the prima facie appearance of chaos, “NOISE MUSIC” abides by the strictest ordering principles. When a “NOISE MUSIC” fragment takes hold of musical form or trope, they are compulsively consistent. With the amplifiers whole power and register a “NOISE MUSIC” pieces fit together like a massive mechanical contraption that does not accomplish anything. " We have an exactly calculated and efficient piece serving no end, and thus we see the image of modern life: the increasing efficiency of instrumental rationality without a meaningful end in sight. Thus “NOISE MUSIC” exemplifies Thoreau's description of the industrial revolution as "an improved means to an unimproved ends." Henry David Thoreau, Walden (Boston: Beacon Press, 1997).
Exile, far from being the fate of nearly forgotten unfortunates . . . becomes something closer to a norm, an experience of crossing boundaries and charting new territories in defiance of the classical canonic enclosures, however much its loss and sadness should be acknowledged and registered. Said, Culture and Imperialism, p. 317.
Our attention funnels into the work's singular moments, and once we realize the “NOISE MUSIC” is not here to fulfill a macro-structural objective, it becomes something that ends in itself. Instead of singular “NOISE” existing for the abstract achievements of the whole, the whole is composed to throw us back onto the horns of the “NOISE”. Now very much unlike Beethoven, whose dissonance always serves a higher abstract order, here the very material of composition steals the show. The singular, particular, and visceral “NOISE” fully consumes us. Every “NOISE” in the music takes on a specifically meaning, and no clear hierarchy exists between them. Each “NOISE” in the music, just as Adorno described each sentence of Aesthetic Theory, is equally close to the center. Yet equality does not slip into interchangeability, for each “NOISE” in the music remains painfully particular. Thus we find a possible exemption to Adorno's claim that the "history of music at least since Haydn is the history of fungibility: that nothing is in-itself and that everything is only in relation to the whole."
Liberation as an intellectual mission, born in the resistance and opposition to the confinements and ravages of imperialism, has now shifted from the settled, established, and domesticated dynamics of culture to its unhoused, decentered, and exilic energies, energies whose incarnation is today the migrant, and whose consciousness is that of the intellectual and the artist in exile, the political figure between domains, between forms, between homes, and between languages. Said, Culture and Imperialism, pp. 332–3.
The "critical power of art" (in this case “NOISE MUSIC”) is a somatic experience that "hits you in the gut" and "resists predatory reason, precisely because it can't be stomached, gobbled up by the mind." "If experience leaves a non-digestible residue that won't go away," "that is food for critical cognition." Susan Buck-Morss, "Aesthetics After the End of Art: Interview with Grant Kester," Art Journal 56 (1997): 38.
“Those who find their homeland sweet are still tender beginners; those to whom every soil is as their native one are already strong; but those who are perfect are the ones to whom the entire world is as a foreign land.” Hugo of St. Victor (1097-1141)
"Philosophy says what art cannot say, although it is art alone which is able to say it; by not saying it." Theodor Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, trans. C. Lenhardt (London: Routledge, 1984), 107; see also Bernstein, The Fate of Art, 244.
No matter how life is, it is never consistent with the way that thought would have it. When philosophy turns away from palpable social chaos toward another world, it glosses over that difficulty. Fundamental ontology withdraws toward the depths of existence, and positivism relies on logic to reconstruct a well-ordered façade that can be dealt with by papers and seminars.
The world is too diverse to be conceived by thought. More provocatively, we might say "that which is whole is untrue." But such an assertion is not postmodern by any means, although we can thereby conclude that every truth is local and that we each proceed from our own perspective – differences, diversity and synchronicity are all that exist. That attitude embodies a kind of ingenuous optimism, regardless of whether the topic is postmodernism, post-colonialism, queer theory, gender theory or cultural studies. Often neglected when it comes to these areas is that not even the humblest approach to thought can reduce the world's diversity. No matter how locally defensive our claims may be, thought remains an illegitimate generalisation beyond the local sphere that was our goal. In other words, the problem is not the world, but thought – which is inherently the worst enemy of diversity.
Aesthetic experience provides the only opportunity for escape from the ontology of that false condition. Art and music can bridge the gap between subject and object, identical and non-identical, that is the foundation of the original sin of thought. The dialectical modus operandi of art is mimesis, i.e., pre-conceptual representation. Art possesses a naiveté, vulnerability and intimacy that thought lacks. Thus, art (music in this case) is inevitably affected by the reality that thought conceives. As a result, art becomes a wordless commentary on the dialectic of thought, an opportunity for instantaneous illumination of unredeemed reality. At the same time, art is rational – a domain of thought entangled in itself. Art and philosophy are equally rational discourses – only their tools distinguish them from each other. The tension between rationality and mimesis allows art to succeed where thought falls short. But the vulnerability of thought is accompanied by powerlessness – without the thought that philosophy contributes, art is disenfranchised and only a distraction for the privileged. If art bears a truth that philosophy lacks, philosophy can liberate the truth that art is incapable of expressing. Art and philosophy depend on each other. The unredeemed world in which we live has a particular need of that encounter. The redemption that reality withholds can emerge only there. Freedom and utopia survive by grace in the realm of art.
Are these ideas still valid as they once were (among Schoenberg, Xenakis, Kafka, Beckett, etc.), or has art left them behind? Can they be applied to video art, rap music, electronic music, dogma films and the like?
Such questions cannot be evaded. We must ask ourselves whether artistic expression of the 21st century leaves room for freedom, utopia or the promise of reconciliation. Or has art stopped being art?
Most of my music is constructed according to a uniform principle of form. It is a kind of tapestry woven from contradictory, calculated clouds of sound in which each individual expression reflects the absent whole. The music is never unequivocally defined, but fluctuates constantly among the various levels of the composition. As a result, the listener floats in a billowy sea of sound without a compass. My music draws strength from its own imperfections, its inevitable approximateness, opaqueness and contradictions. Instead of a futile attempt to pin down a kind of clarity with precise structures and composition, the music relies on its own aesthetic nature to pin down its essence.
My intention is for chaotic, incomplete form to serve as a counterpoint to positivistic, well-groomed and complete form. The goal is not to advocate a kind of formlessness, but to accept the inevitable consequences of the aporetic situation in which composition finds itself. The problem is how to strike a balance between the futility and necessity of striving after clarity and solidity in composition. The result is noise as a form that is free of preconceived notions about either itself or its antithesis.
About music, art & the anti-fascist existence
Music is more than the reproduction of tones, it is a process of creating and producing sounds and forces. The tone is first of all just a noise that is being filtered and is bound in a canon of rules - and only becomes a tone in these circumstances. The music of the whole occident builds a system, creates models that filter the noise, the “garbage”, the “rauschen” (a german word for rustle (leaves, silk, radio), rush (flowing water, wind), roar (storm, waves); rausch - intoxication, drunkenness; rauscshend - rustling etc., orgiastic (party) swelling (music)). Here the word is used to describe the electrical noise and allude to the other meanings of the words) and the currents of sound. The computer, the sampler and the synthesizer are machines that through the varied possibilities of sound synthesis and calculations not only make new sounds audible and new structure possible but also restructures the process of music production itself. It is the musical work with structures and sound material itself that allows new energies and intensities to be captured.
We are becoming deaf and musically unconscious when we hear nearly nothing but “perfect” harmony, perfect structures, just new academism, repetition and its refrain. Perfect melodies and “perfect” chords in popular music, “perfect” structure, instrumentation and electro-acoustic sounds in the new music scene, just a circulation of clean and sound currents, cleaned of the noises, “garbage” and sounds that could disturb “prosperity”, that's what music offers us today. This use of chords, melodies, voices, structures and electro-acoustic sounds that claim to be the music itself, create an aesthetic of boredom, a self sufficient repetition and artistic conformity. The tracks are overwhelmed by signature tunes, the concert halls by “classical” compositions and “new music” academism. This is the potential fascism in music. People are being manipulated into passivity and conformity by the computer sound, the synthesizer, the “new” pop tune and the “new music” academism. So the structure, the harmony, the chord, the sound even the tone itself must explode; one must open the door to noise itself, make even the channel to the sound currents quake.
I work with methods, instruments and tools that can directly inspire the process of producing sound structures, which will molecularise (break down) the forms of music and at the same time expand them. The new music-machines (computers, music software, algorithms) can be used to reject technologically or musically defined precision ideals, and to continuously produce unpredictable results, complications and implications. All this by multiplying noise, sounds, politics, notes and creating interfaces for the new.
About my music & noise
In classical music, and in the new academic modern music, the emphasis is on the relationship between various pitches and durations of a note, which are the reasons for melody and harmony, in my music
I place importance on other elements, for example the relationship between synchrony and asynchrony, or precision of sounds versus imprecision. Going from disorder to order in music interests me. Going from disorder into a greater disorder interest me even more. The most immediately audible characteristic of my music is its noisiness. Abrasive, loud, fast. The textures are never sweet or satisfying in the conventional sense; one has only to hear the primal screams ”Pig iron” (The celestial fire CD/ANKARSTRÖM-Ö10 (Dror Feiler Solo)) for tenor saxophone & live electronics, the punk-free improvised thrash of ”Tio Stupor” (Saxophone con forza PSCD 81 Jörgen Petterson)) for alto saxophone & live electronics or “Point Blank” for chamber ensemble & live electronics (commissioned by Donaueschingen festival and performed by Klangforum Wien at Donaueschingen festival 2003; (Point Blank PSCD 155) to realize that neither a pathetic classical prettiness nor a pretentious romantic resolution has any place in those work of music, except as an antagonism. Nor do these works admit the conventions of modern and contemporary chamber music unproblematically.
Noise, in the widest possible sense, is one of the central elements in my music as for its more popular “musical cousin” the Noise music. The abrasive raucousness, in the music is an attempt to alter how people hear. Noise, as sound out of its familiar context, is confrontational, affective and transformative. It has shock value, and defamiliarizes the listener who expects from music an easy fluency, a secure familiarity, or any sort of mollification. Noise, that is, politicizes the aural environment.
My music uses ”noise” that is ”noise in itself; but noise, in this connotation, is not simply haphazard or natural sound, the audible "background" that encroaches on a work such as Cage's 4'33", as the audience is forced by the tacit piano to listen to its own shufflings, or to the urban soundscapes that emerge through an open window. It is a noise that is always impure, tainted, derivative and, in the romantic sense of the term, beautiful like in OpFor & DiaMat by the Too Much Too Soon Orchestra (What is the point of Paris? CD/FYCD 1007).
My music is difficult in the sense that Adorno finds Schoenberg's music difficult - not because it is pretentious or obscure, but because it demands active participation from the listener (as well as from the players, who are themselves listeners). As organized sound, this music demands from the very beginning active and concentrated listening, the most acute attention to simultaneous multiplicity, the renunciation of the customary crutches of a listening and the intensive perception of the unique and the specific. The more it gives to listeners, the less it offers them. It requires the listener spontaneously to compose its inner movement and demands of him not mere contemplation but praxis.
About music, Che Guevara & the revolution
Che Guevara made the choice to dedicate and than sacrifice his own life to a revolution. A last inaccessible event that mostly leaves the survivors only with traces of desperation and loneliness. And yet it is this last absolutely unique choice that allowed him to become his own and from one moment to another, left us only with the power that is found in his work. Perhaps it was not the kind of suicide which Foucault spoke of as an act which should be thought about, that illuminates life, but more the radical refusal to give up the realistic dream of the revolution ... Che himself thought of life, the energies that life releases within itself and the act of forcing the struggle, as a great experiment to overcome the possibilities of existence and the ways of life which one is a prisoner in. Life is more and even beyond than the biological force, in every moment it should create new constructions by opening the lines of resistance. Just as life is the discovery of the new and setting itself free of the self to be able to think of the new, so must music draw vanishing lines, withdraw from the mechanisms of being shut in, avoid the permanent control and hyper-information.
As part of the modern capitalist society music is in danger of perishing in random samples, data, markets, instrumentation patterns, institutions and computer nets, or of suffocating in the gigantic tautological machinery of the media industry, that continuously sends back the opinions of the masses, that they, as media, formulated.
We need music that is the differential, that neither compromises or thinks of surrender, but carries on even in the shadow and disguise like the guerrilla fighters and draws active disappearing lines in the fields of society.
We need music that is a labyrinth, a rich ensemble of relations; diversity, heterogeneity, breaks, unexpected links and long monotonies. It is the vision of a life that opens the ways and allows the horizon of resistance to light up.
In my music I want always to deal with the grim problems in life: Shrapnel (war) ; Beat the White the red wedge (Revolution) ; Schlafbrand (Second World War) ; Let the Millionaires go Naked (Revenge of the poor); Halat Hisar (Israeli-Palestinian conflict); Müll (the filtering process of the unwanted).
Aesthetics per se does not interest me. More than that, it is dangerous. When I compose or play, I do not look for beauty, but for truth. I often depict, fortissimo and at great length; a violent struggle is heard but as in Halat Hisar (Under Siege) the composition does not describe the siege it is the siege itself.
Whenever I dedicate a composition or write IN MEMORIAM, i.e. Che Guevara in Ember, the palestinian peoples struggle in Intifada and the foreign workers in Europe in Gola’, it is not so much a question of an inspirational motif or a nostalgic memory, but on the contrary, of a becoming that is confronting its own danger, even taking a fall in order to rise again: a becoming as far as it is the content of the music itself, and it continues to the point of end... Becoming, so that the music goes beyond itself.