Emiliano Di Marco
Nothing_Is_UnTrue Nablus and Balata Camp, August 2003
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...But you don't have to believe blindly in everything you read in books, in fact you do not have to believe ever. The books are not read to obtain something in which to believe. And then why do we read books, you will wonder to me? I will not tell you, my lazy reader, you have to get it by yourself... (Nanni Balestrini) ...one does not have to put the flowers on the window of the cell in which he is a prisoner, because otherwise even if one day the door will be opened he will not want to leave... (Silvano Agosti) ...death makes an instantaneous montage of our lives... (Pier Paolo Pasolini)
Premise and Notice Dear reader, especially if you are a professional or skilled Photographer, this necessary premise is your due. Very far from wanting me to delve into the minefield of the aesthetics of Photography, the pictures you will find in this "digital book" should not be observed concerning their "artistic" contents, the expression of which is and will always be linked to the action of choosing and developing one or more objects of the "intractable reality" (operation itself always in-human or post-human, whether the image emerges from the action of chemical reagents, or obtained by a code, and then rendered visible in very small or sized Pixels, more or less "colored"). The pictures should be observed/watched for what them actually are and show off. In my opinion, the intention expressed by a Photography, whatever, its very intelligibility, significance or decoding, is inseparable by everything precedes and succeeds the "click", the inscription of the image in a register. Analog and digital photography are two worlds that do not comply. For many, the difference between black and white spots distributed on a sheet of paper, or on a screen, qualifies a photographic image compared to a Photography. Who wants to browse the pictures of this Ebook is supposed to know that, by the point of view of the very beginner, which I am, if the â€œspotsâ€? are rounded or squared, infinitely small or large and visible until the point of "squaring" the objects, for me the image remains and will always remains in connection with the Time, or with the indirect representation of the past as a "Present" time, like an extreme limit; and with the Event, unterstood as an "Effect of Sense" which remains on the surface of the bodies as "belonging to oneself", as a voice calling to the truth of being, as an incorporeal entity that exists independently of the "Bodily Mixtures" that produced it.
The Event is therefore understood as independent, irreducible and subtracted from the historicity and the chronological time, although situated in it, occupying an immeasurable place in time. What they have in common, the images transmitted by analog or digital photography, is the representation of the "Similar" of one or more objects, and concerns the "Similarity and the Code", which either communicate well, each other, when and because have in common to be Types: one in sensible form, the other one in intelligible structure. The electronic image is based on a code which reorganize the identity between image and object, nothing else than an emanation of the Referent, being the image a portion of Significance, which by itself does not allow us to know the Sign in relation to the Image, whether don't presuming the knowledge of the object in another "Sign", a process that occurs identically with the analog photography. If exists a Logic of the Signs, its significance is hidden under the surface of the signs. All pictures were taken in Nablus, PNA (Palestinian National Authority), during the summer of 2003, in which I took part in a Peace Aid project, an initiative funded by the City of Naples, as part of the activities organized by Association for Peace, in collaboration with UPMRC (Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committee - current PMRS, Palestinian Medical Relief Society). Following a terrorist attack on a crowded bus, at the HaNavi Shmuel in Jerusalem, on August 19th, claimed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, in which 23 people died and 130 were wounded, the army and the air force of the state of Israel launched a counteroffensive on Hebron and the rest of the West Bank. The attempt ended the Hudna, the fragile truce established after a terrorist attack took place on 11th June of the same year, although the ceasefire had not seen Israeli stopping the hostilities, neither the reactions (including terrorist attacks) by the military wings of Palestinian parties. The truce in actual fact had been declared already over by Hamas on August 8th, following a raid on a house in Nablus, considered a clandestine explosives
factory, in which were killed a militant and 3 other people. The Israeli military operations that followed the attack on 19 th August established a curfew in the main cities of PNA and a moderate leader of Hamas, Ismail Abu Shanab, who was in favor of the solution "two states", was killed in Gaza. The inability of the Palestinians to resist militarily to the force of IDF already substantiated during the operation Defensive Shield in 2002, reduced significantly losses of human life in the course of 2003, in spite of the "police" operations executed in urban centers with large deployment of soldiers and battlefield vehicols. Anyway, the Non-Military Resistance of the Palestinians did not prevent that dozens of civilians, including children, suffered serious injuries and psychological traumas. All photos were taken with a simple digital camera, which costed to me just a hundred euro, not much bigger than a mobile phone, and among other things had an imperfection on the right side of the lens, as well as capable of less resolution than any other one of the most popular smartphones today in commerce. No photo has been digitally manipulated, except for the elimination of color. All picture were published daily, for free, on several counterinformation web sites existing in 2003.
Said to me: â€œ...Don't you know? there is curfew!? You will not find anyone in the streets... they're all segregated into their homes...should do the same you too!"...After a while, however, he told me, "If you really want to go, ok!... But bring your two-sheqel camera with yourself...and shoot!...take as many pictures as you can...â€?
â€œ...I looked and...behold...a stormy wind came out of the north...a great cloud...with a fire flashing up, so that a brightness was round about it; and out of the midst thereof as the gleam of metal, out of the midst of the fire... And out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man...â€? (Ezekiel 1,4)
â€œ...Have you not ever heard before the noise of Merkava, right?...The tanks of the Israelis are so called from the name of the "chariot of fire" of the prophet Ezekiel...Are very modern war machines, full of technological equipment...Look carefully at the cannon, how it moves softly, almost virtually, it remains indifferent to the changes of the ground...But are very noisy Tanks...they have all the technology of this world, but make the same noise, like scratches on metal, of the Tanks of fifty years ago...and the crackling bursts of asphalt when they run...You know...they build them just like that...to be noisy and heavy...yet agile...When you meet one of those, give a look to the crown of steel pendants hooked behind the tower, listen well... the rattle when the gun turns and target an objective...â€?
“...As you free yourself with metaphors, think about others, those who have lost their right to express themselves. While you think about others, those far away, think to yourself, and say: if I only was a candle in the middle of the dark...” (Mahmoud Darwish)
...in the whole Arab world, there is no single square that is not the representation of the chaos, crowded and noisy, typical of the Mediterranean cities...it seemed like a plague had taken away all...as if an abrupt eruption had taken unaware the inhabitants...immortalizing the objects...
â€œ...The day the waves withdrew...and the ugliness of precipice turned its face towards the sun, the eyes were still filled of hope, and my sad city choked with torment... ...Disappeared children and songs: no more shadows, nor echoes, and sadness was naked in the middle of my home in bloody footsteps, the silence in my city groveled as high mountains, like the night...the tragic silence, burdened by the death and the defeat...â€?
â€œO you travelers between fleeting words bring your own names, and go away... withhold your instants of our time, and go. Steal what you want from the blue sea and the sand of memory. Take pictures of what you want, to understand that you never know how a stone of our land erect the ceiling of our sky.â€? (Mahmoud Darwish)
...the main entrance to the Balata refugee camp, the largest in the West Bank, is located a few dozen meters from the Jacob's Well, where according to the Gospel of John (4.7), Jesus met the Samaritan: - When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you let me drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans ) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”-
- ...How old are these baby soldiers?
- "20...18...17...some even 16 years...they are always closed among themselves in their military vehicles or barracks...often are sons of Russian immigrants, and barely speak Hebrew...It's difficult for us to understand them...their gaze looks lost and afraid, like they really don't know what to do...they rely on their chief like little automatons...Only their leaders are well aware of what they do..."
“...We are very special Displaced People because we are not of those were transferred to foreign lands, but in the extension of our home. We were upgraded to Arab land, where not only no one wants us to dissolve, but where this same idea is an aberration. However, we are the Indians of the Jewish settlers in Palestine. ” (Elias Sanbar a Gilles Deleuze, “Liberation”, 8-9 May 1982)
“A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.” (Samuel 1,17, David and Goliath)
â€œ...Do you see that? When you see an armored vehicle dark green colored...
well, those are the Druze...the Israelis use them as border police...but often send them out in the operations in the refugee camps...they are not like us... they are Ismaili Muslims...the lower rank of Israeli society...they are the worst with us...â€?
...Palestinian towns have become prisons under the sky...You can enter and go out only through the Check Points managed by the Israeli army, which sometimes are closed without notice...The farmers who live in the villages, when they come into town to find a relative, or to buy something, they are also forced to stand for hours under the sun, sometimes whole days...waiting for the permission to go home ...
...Don't forget that the time has left us a glimmer of hope, my son... ...Patience, my son, patience is beautiful ...
...The posters of the â€œMartyrsâ€? of Nablus, died in suicide attacks and figured while dressing guns and bombs in their last message to family and friends...The sun and the wind will fade them...rip them to shreds from the walls, erasing the features of their faces and the light of those gazes, which otherwise would not have even known existed for us...
â€œ...And wear the tears with a smile of dignity...Testify the injustice and the
pain...For every soul pray an elder, a child who dreams of an angel flying in the sky...the only thing they can not divide. ..â€?
...Slowly pushed his barrow of drinks singing an Arab melody...“Sing, yes... because there is always the hope...and still and radiant roads...although deepens around us the anger of the night...”
- How many are still buried there? - â€œI do not know yet...Surely three or maybe four militants, they said so. Were hidden in there, and so they knocked down the whole building...So do the Israelis....For punishing even one lonely man destroy everything that is around, to isolate the resistance even more...The evacuated people who lived in that building have lost everything he had and perhaps did not even know that there were militants hidden inside ... "
... your eyes are a thorn in the heart ...
...Lords of every country! in these times who cares of the ties at noon?...
...Say the guidebook: the old part of Nablus dates back to the Ottoman Empire and preserves the characteristics of the urban centers of the Mediterranean sea, with bustling markets full of merchandise...
...As soon as the curfew ends the people poured into the streets to buy the necessary goods after days locked in their houses, exchanging medecines for elderly and children, removing the rubble and the dirt, throwing away everything that has gone to evil...Finally They can make small talk to know what really happened...
...Palestine...the Holy Land...Land of holy wars...cultures and peoples for thousands of years have â€œcrossedâ€? themselves here...Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Lydians, Phrygians, Canaanites, Philistines, Israelites, Transgiordans, Libyans, Romans, Arabs, Turks, Armenians, Normans, Spanish, French, German, English...It happens to meet blonde Palestinians with blue eyes...or people light-skinned like that of the Scandinavians...
â€œ...There was a door for which I found no key, a veil through which I could not see; some small words between me and thee, after we were not, you and I ... ever again....â€? (Omar Khayam)
...This is not an imitation of Neapolitan pizza, and this baker never have gone out from Palestine...he swore me did not even know how the pizza in Naples is done...What he's doing is a pizza, well...actually it is called differently... Manaqish, as he learned from his father...The only difference is that he put on goats cheese Nabulsi instead of fresh mozzarella and the use of other vegetables and greens in place of the tomato...As the Neapolitan pizza, is nothing but a Pita handmade and baked with wood...It's a typical Levantine dish...The word Pizza in fact derives from the corruption of the word â€œPitaâ€?, also in Naples (which has been founded by the greeks) we use the tomato which was introduced from the Americas during the Spanish domination...On the other hand Nablus and Naples share the name....The Palestinian city, founded by the Romans, was originally named Flavia Neapolis, Nablus from which...
-The Palestinian cause is first and foremost the set of injustices that these people have suffered and continues to suffer. These injustices are acts of violence as the lack of logic, spoiled reasoning and false guarantees that claim to compensate or justify them. Arafat had only one word to say about broken promises and violated commitments at the time of the massacres of Sabra and Shatila: "Shame! Shame!." It is said that it is not genocide. And yet there is a history that carries on its back many Oradour, from the beginning. Zionist terrorism was directed not only against the British but also against Arab villages that had to disappear: the Irgun has been very active in this sense (remember Deir Yassin). Everywhere will act as if the Palestinian people, not only they no longer have to be, but as they never have been. The conquerors were part of those who had suffered the greatest genocide in history. And about this genocide the Zionists did an absolute evil. But transforming the greatest genocide in history in absolute evil is a religious and mystical, it is not a historical view. Does not stop the evil it spreads it, however, it falls on other innocents, of what the Jews have suffered (expulsion, ghettoization, the disappearance as a people) requires a repair that is subjected to another part. With â€œcolderâ€?means than the genocide want to get the same result.(Gilles Deleuze)
“I do not want, no, a child
ten years a hero, I do not want the fruit of bombs from the heart of my tree, I do not want the branches of my gardens do forks, I do not want in the flowerbeds forks of rosewood ...” (Rashid Husayn)
...near the cemetery of Nablus, in time of truce, the tailor works... - What clothes are you sewing tailor? - “Are party dresses for a wedding...” Then proudly shows me the drawing made by his grandbaby on the wall, just in front of the sewing machine where he works... - “Make a photo even at that picture on the wall...I look at that every time raise my head...”
#_Annex_The Real Square and the Virtual Square
The Arab Revolution 2.0 and the Electronic Intifada. “The Arab spring, and the riots that are shaking the Arab world, causing the falling of the regimes, are marked by the impact of social networks and the birth of the young Arab people of the web”. We are people of the land. (Egyptian Tweet quoted on Washington Post) In the beginning there was the Image and the image was with Twitter, even before getting owned by the Mainstream Media. Every revolution of the past century has been made, as well as represented, even (sometimes especially) with the images, and today digital information adapt technically to their dissemination through the world. Social Networks are like an intangible medium that invite us to live in a simulated world, where everything is built, fabled and invented according to our needs. The difference is that we can choose, customising the contents and the meanings in the flow of informations which invade us, anytime we connect to internet, as soon as we “turn on” our computers. The aesthetics digital realism of the images is the same of the pictures, more complex perhaps, whose “metaphysics” of the real is always linked to the attempt to represent the matter the dreams are “made of”. The image of the boy offering a flower to the soldiers at the funeral of Jan Palach in Praga, 1968; that of the Berlin wall pickaxed by the crowd; the student who stops the tanks in Tien An Men square; the woman who stops the SUV on which travels Ahmadinejad, showing him the middle finger; are images that mediate the real, occupying the imagination, and become social relationships, become reality.
Today, those images, may be disseminated by anyone through the web, using simply a Tablet, a laptop, an Iphone, or a Blackberry. The Arab spring began with a photo, taken by a mobile phone, of Mohammed Bouazizi, a Tunisian boy of 26 years, a bachelor’s degree in computer science, unemployed, who on December 17 (2010), set himself on fire to protest against the dramatic conditions of poverty in which he was forced by the economic crisis. The image, retweeted thousands and thousands of times, like a spark, exploded as a fractal within the circuit of the “Multiplier Media” in a few days, occupying the pages online, and then has been printed on the main newspapers, invading the imagination of young people in the Arab world thanks to the news of the main TV broadcasting the Tunisian revolt. The “Sensationalism of the Invisible” became a symbol, acquiring a “use value”, evoking the desire of a revolution, overcoming the two-dimensional flat screen logic, the division in pixels of the images. What did the digital image exceeded itself. What happened cannot find explanation only with the rebellion for the need to protect the “human values” by the barbaric (‘of the machine’?). In Tunisia and Egypt there was already a context with clearly symptoms of a imminent revolution. In 2008 were brutally sedated the riots in the worker district of Gafsa in Tunisia. In the Egyptian city of al-Mahalla al-Kubra there were a series of strikes of the textile industry, and always in the same country, in 2005, the elections (in a climate of violence caused by the police, even within the polling stations), with accusations of fraud, saw the Muslim Brotherhood obtaining the historical achievement of 88 seats in Maglis Al-Sha’ab (The People’s Assembly of Egypt). Besides, by 2004, a cartel of 300 intellectuals gave life to the movement Kifaya, in which it has been developed an important cross-party opposition to the regime of President Mubarak. All general tests of a revolution which was later extended to a large part of the Arab world. The digital revolution of social networks followed, in a few years, the coverage of Pan-Arab satellite TV Channels. It began in the early 1990s, shortly before the advent of Al Jazeera, the satellite tv that since 1996 broadcasts from Qatar, contributing to the construction of a ‘common
language’ between the Arabs, often accused of having caused popular events that have influenced the political choices of Arab governments in more than one occasion. The same satellite network has been also severely criticized in some occasions, by the movements, for not having offered them an appropriate coverage in the broadcasted news, accusations that have weakened the image of impartiality of the information offered by the Pan-Arab television. Nevertheless, Invading the news of Al Jazeera continues to be one of the main target of the ”Information Operations” waged through the Arab world, primarily with the Counter-Information carried out with social networking and blogs. How to make a revolution is a known dilemma that regards the theorists, and theories never lack, but what is certain (by 17th century onwards) is that from the invention of printing, revolutions have always gone hand in hand with techno-communicative transformations. Any narration on 2011′s Arab revolutions (year 1432 in the islamic calendar) should measure with the huge impact that the convergence between the Real Square and the Virtual Square, created by social media and web 2.0, have had on regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, by two or three years to today. The whole language of the revolt has changed. Programmers and activists of social media are participating in the construction of a language between communicating machines, whose access to secret codes opens the door to a real “Science of Chaos”, while the great classical systems of marxism, of socialism and liberalism in their post-nasserian declensions degenerate and lose their credibility.
It is quintessential that the revolution become an international movement, thus ‘globalize’ your acts of dissent. (Tweet) Tweets traveling in network often have a rhetorical-operational function more than critical-dialectic. To overcome the limit of 140 characters, “#” included, often invite to another link. The speed of the flow grant just the time to understand the displacement of the senses, in which the tactility of the keyboard, the characters which appear in pixels on the screen, even when
using an Iphone, register the momentary exile of the body, referential paradigm of the very idea of political reality. The same #OccupyWallStreet movement offers a simulacrum, a virtual representation of an unperformable nature, but however closer (more than you think) to the functioning of the financial economy of New York Stock Exchange, in which nominal value of Shares and Bonds are blowed up, multiplied, inflated, and shot in the cyberspace of value. So, even a hundred occupants in Zuccotti Park, became a powerful imagination which multiplies, detaching from the actual value, becoming nominal figure in fractal abstract reality of 2.0 social network communication, the centerpiece of a sense, a reason inflated and covered by the desire, a bit like the mantle of Merlin.
I just got teargassed. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. (Tweet from Tahrir square quoted on The Guardian) Tweeting is like sending a signal in the sidereal space, whose trajectory is unpredictable, and recalls the use of Radio shortwaves that, until the end of the 1980s, brought music and messages beyond the iron curtain, such as Radio Free Europe. The web 2.0 is a new environment, a neutral space, where an individual interact, self-organising through a social interaction that builds new forms of collective action, through the quick exchange of contents, informations and products. The impact of Information Technology in the Arab world, in societies strongly influenced by the dichotomy tradition/modernity and strongly split under the point of view of the generational profile, with percentages of young people under 25 close to 50% of the population, including (among them) an increased and impressive level of education about information technology; is producing a deep cultural transformation and destabilizes the State control of the information for internal propaganda purposes. Most young people have moved, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, toward the services such as YouTube, YouPorn, MySpace, Flickr, Skype, etc. The regime of President Mubarak was not able to exercise promptly forms of
control and censorship, while the speed of the impact of most of the contents conveyed by these Media has long-term effects. To give an idea of the impact of web 2.0 on Arab countries of the southern shore of the Mediterranean sea, it is suffice to say that on a total population of 82 million people in Egypt, the Internet Protocols activated are approximately 14 million (16% of the total population), while about 6 million people have Facebook profiles; in Tunisia, on 10.6 million inhabitants, IPs activated are 3 million and 600.000 around the 30% of the total population. In this context, where the social actors were not organised around social movements linked to political parties or trade unions; social media, blogs, are representing a fundamental vehicle of information allowing to young leaders of the movements visibility and international solidarity before unthinkable, evading censorship and filters, accelerating the process of empowerment and politicisation of the public sphere. Of course, with the expansion of internet, these instruments and their effects on Arab societies, is however by years subject of sociological and security monitoring activities by the governments.
(written and published in november 2011)