Anthropologists on the war on Gaza (updated)
(See also part II David Graeber: Boycott Israel! - More anthropologists on Gaza) After two weeks war in Gaza, it’s time to round up: How have anthropologists contributed to a better understanding of the conflict? According to my overview, they have been quite silent. And they have been more active on blogs than in traditional media. Neither Google or Yahoo news search give any relevant results.
Gabriele Marranci has written one of the first blog posts: Gaza: bad politics needs blood. He criticizes both Hamas and the Israeli government:
And here lies the main issue: both parties, the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, share at least something in common: an immoral and unethical view for which political gain are more important than innocent lives, including those of women and children.
Hamas has no problem to sacrifice Palestinian lives in the name of an impossible mission (to remove Israel from the Middle East), and the Israeli government has no issue with endangering the lives of innocent Israelis with the inevitable retaliation of suicide bombing and killings.
Palestinians and Muslims have to accept one simple fact: Israel is here to stay. Israel and its supporters have likewise to accept that sophisticated forms of ethnic cleansing will not be sustainable nor sucessful. Palestinians are, generation after generation, there to stay, and if a solution not found, to fight.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, of course, has some clear historical reasons. Yet the fact that it is still one of the most deadly conflicts affecting civilians is due to extremely bad politics, and bad politics, akin to a kind of cancer, requires innocent blood in order to perpetuate itself.
The conflict between Israel and Hamas is not a proxy war between Israel and Iran. This is a myth that has grown up during the Bush administration, and is now widely promulgated with little or no support. (…) Hamas has been effectively sealed off from the world by Israel, and by Egypt.
tabsir - one of the best resources regarding the Middle East - collects continuisly news stories and analysis on Gaza. Daniel Martin Varisco wrote two posts: Rizpah and the Politics of Vengeance and David vs Goliath, the IDF vs Hamas
John Hutnyk posted two eyewitness reports by Ewa Jasiewicz, a former student from Goldsmiths.
Maximilian Forte has collected lots of links in his post Currently Covering and Commenting on the Gaza Massacre and reflected on using twitter in Tweets of Conflict in the New Online War Zone.
That’s it so far. Not much. In Gaza: A Frightening Anthropological Analogy, Pamthropologist criticizes her colleagues:
Is presenting a discussion of these issues not, exactly, what we should be doing as Anthropologists? And yet, our blogs rarely cover these issues–the notable exception being Open Anthropology, wait he is a Canadian. You know, as a discipline, we have no functioning voice in the American dialogue.
But anthropologists have raised their voices about this conflict before. Last year, among others, Adam S. Kucharski published his thesis about The Politics of Water in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.. Linda Teigland Helgesen was eight months of fieldwork among Palestinian students at Birzeit University. The result is her thesis The construction of resistance. A case study among “Il-majaneen” students in the occupied West Bank
Earlier this year, Jeff Halper published his new book An Israeli in Palestine. Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel. It was reviewed by Electronic Intifada. See also interview with Halper ‘As Israelis, We Also Fight for Palestinians’ (Oh My News).
For general news see The Guardian and the impressive round-up of blogposts from Gaza by Global Voices: Palestine: “In Gaza our future is almost destroyed”
UPDATE 5: Metronews in Halifax writes about Israelian anthropologist Jeff Halper (mentioned above): “It’s unusual to have an Israeli who’s critical of Israel and supports Palestinian rights, especially with the war in Gaza going on,” he told Metro yesterday. Something needs to be done, he said, because the current situation isn’t just affecting Gaza, it’s “messing up the whole world.”
UPDATE 4: New posts by Gabriele Marranci: Gaza and the ethos of death and Maximilian Forte at Open anthropology Campus Gaza: Academic Boycotts and Complicit Silence
UPDATE 3: Palestinian anthropologist Yara El-Ghadban has collected lots of information on her bilingual (French / English) blog Tropismes
UPDATE 2: New post by Maximilian Forte: Accepting the Might to Exist: Some Israeli Lessons for Anthropology:
Anthropology teaches us not to naturalize any human construction, and to recognize the arbitrariness of culture, not to mention the arbitrariness of power. Political Anthropology invites us to recognize that the state is the most violent of all arbitrary institutions in human history, that all states on earth owe their existence to massive and bloody assaults, and continue to preserve and promote themselves through violence against the peoples governed by other states.
UPDATE 1: Today, here in Norway, Thomas Hylland Eriksen wrote an article in the newspaper Aftenposten where he proposed a possible solution - to put Israel-Palestine under (UN-) administration (in Norwegian only). Yesterday, the Norwegian Psychological Association demanded the end of the war. The psychologists are among other things concerned for possible consequences for children’s mental health (Norwegian only)
SEE ALSO PART TWO OF THIS POST
SEE ALSO EARLIER POSTS: