Million dollar militia

Nixon already tried this in Vietnam. ‘Asian boys to fight Asian boys.’ It failed. In Iraq the Sahwa militias succeeded only as a result of particular circumstances. In Afghanistan, where blood feuds last generations, it can only sow the seeds of permanent civil war.

People & Power examines dangerous conflicts between the US and NATO strategies in the fight against the Taliban.

A Prism; Wet With Wars

by Sinan Antoon

this is the chapter of
devastation
this is our oasis
an angle where wars intersect
tyrants accumulate around our eyes
in the shackle’s verandah
there is enough space for applause
let us applaud

another evening climbs
the city’s candles
technological hoofs crush the night
a people is being slaughtered across short waves
but the radio vomits raw statements
and urges us to
applaud

with a skeleton of a burning umbrella
we receive this rain
a god sleeps on our flag
but the horizon is prophetless
maybe they will come if we
applaud
let us applaud

we will baptize our infants with smoke
plough their tongues
with flagrant war songs
or UN resolutions
teach them the bray of slogans
and leave them beside burning nipples
in an imminent wreckage
and applaud

before we weave an autumn for tyrants
we must cross this galaxy of barbed wires
and keep on repeating
HAPPY NEW WAR!

Baghdad, March 1991

Sinan Antoon is a poet, novelist and translator.

Not Playing Anymore – Israeli Theatre Actors Rise Up

“Ariel’s Center for the Performing Arts – Ariel’s residents have always benefited from a rich variety of local facilities and services. These services have traditionally rendered Ariel the focal point of life in the region, and earned it the title of Capital of the Shomron. The city’s Center for the Performing Arts is yet another addition to life, culture and excellence in the heart of Israel.” (from the Ariel website)

It’s no news by now that Israel is constructing a culture center in the illegal Ariel settlement. It’s not surprising that Habima, Israel’s national theater company, was scheduled to preform there. It is, however, refreshing that actresses and actors from Habima and other leading theater companies, the likes of the Cameri, signed a letter to Culture Minister, Limor Livnat, refusing to preform in the Occupied Territories.

Of Boycotts and Green Bans

Sixty/Thirty-six is a big number for any one sector in Israel, not to mention for any dissent in Israel, at all. I can’t say the actor’s letter doesn’t spark hope in me as to a growth in dissent in Israel (they’ve been joined by non-theatre people of the arts), but one mustn’t get carried away. The Guardian reported:

“Dozens of Israeli actors, playwrights and directors have signed a letter refusing to take part in productions by leading theater companies at a new cultural center in a West Bank settlement, prompting renewed debate over the legitimacy of artistic boycott.”

Continue reading “Not Playing Anymore – Israeli Theatre Actors Rise Up”