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Chestnuts, Monkeys and Another Reason Ahed Tamini Matters

 

Paul Street on JFK, MLK, and the triple evils.

Mel Gurtov on the prospects of war with Iran.
Susan Babbitt on chestnuts, monkeys and another reason Ahed Tamini matters.
Colin Todhunter on mass deception and the prelude to World War.

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The Hudson Report on the economic impact of the bipartisan bank deregulation bill.
Courtney Myers on Trump, Amazon and the Washington Post.

Chestnuts, Monkeys and Another Reason Ahed Tamini Matters

 

Photo by Romerito Pontes | CC BY 2.0

Ahed Tamimi, 16, slapped an Israeli soldier, in her own yard, after her cousin was shot in the head. She’s detained for eight more months after a closed-door trial.[i]The soldier who shot her cousin, putting him in a coma, was not reprimanded.

As I write, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is again covering Malala Yousefsai. She was shot in the head in 2012 and made a hero. She was demanding her right to education.

Palestinian kids are shot every day for the same thing: demanding their rights. But Palestinian kids don’t exist. They don’t count. Most remarkable about Ahed Tamimi’s story is that we’ve heard it. [ii]

Colonization, Frantz Fanon argued, has logic. If you participate, even mentally, certain people don’t exist. You can kill them, or see them killed, without being bothered. You’re human. They’re not.

It raises a question, mostly ignored: How do you know the non-persons, the ones you’ve erased, so it doesn’t matter when they’re shot in the head? How do you know you don’t even see them: unarmed children, demanding human rights?

Ancient Chinese philosopher, Chuang Tzu, tells a story: The keeper tells the monkeys they’ll get three chestnuts in the morning and four at night. The monkeys are furious. So, the keeper offers four chestnuts in the morning and three at night. The monkeys are happy.[iii]

The end is the same: seven chestnuts. But the monkeys are on board: a better result. “Three in the morning” is famous. It is key to Taoist philosophy. Some say it is about thinking at two levels, or about equality, and balance: The monkeys’ perspective is included. The result is the same.

The story is supposedly about “two roads”. But it is not easy. Chuang Tzu’s anecdote is deeper than it seems to those who’ve been duped by a moribund liberal worldview. Chuang Tzu cared about what is lived. He valued simplicity and humility, but not for moral reasons. It was for truth.

We think better about the world, and live better in it, when we can feel our connection to it and to others. “Three in the morning” is not about thinking. It is about creation and loss.

The keeper recognizes the monkeys. He thinks they matter. Herein lies the challenge. Chuang Tzu, like the Buddha, and Marx and Lenin, knew knowing is a challenge, worth investigating. Chuang Tzu wasn’t an anti-imperialist, like Fanon. He was just smart. Realistic.

His focus is the existential, not just intellectual, grasp of reality. It’s a lost art, thanks to centuries of European intellectualist, individualist liberalism, more damaging than Trump.

When Ahed Tamimi is asked what would improve the lives of Palestinian kids, she says human solidarity, from across the world.[iv]She is a child who knows what many political scientists do not: A question about truth matters more than a future vision: How do you envision a future when you can’t even see the people that future is supposedly for?

Some say Ahed Tamimi inspires hope for the Palestinian cause. Jean Paul Sartre, following Fanon, calls resistance an act of self-creation. It is more urgent, and interesting, than hope.

Hope is belief: something to look forward to. It can be understood differently, and is in some traditions, but in happiness-obsessed “developed” societies, it is an opioid. It denies evidence. You hopebecause you don’t, and won’t, see what is there, in front of you. Antonio Gramsci called it lazy.

You sacrifice truth at an “alter of enthusiasm”. When cancer patients are urged to hope, it means: Believe in your own survival no matter what. Don’t see those who are dying around you. You’re not like them. Or so you should believe.

It ignores an important point. Marx knew it. His dialectical view is scientific. We getto truth through connection, with the world and its inhabitants. Felt connection. It is not always comfortable. Marx did not provide a model of the future society, but he showed how to discover truths.

It’s not through hope. I had a student come to me once in despair. She was in first year and had heard university authorities going on about success. She said, “I don’t know how to distinguish myself from 7 billion people on the planet”. It is how she’d understood “success”.

I tried to explain that it is more interesting to know how she is the same as all those people. Shared humanity. It is not what we teach. We hardly believe in it. Ahed Tamimi knows the power of connection, more sustainable and motivating than abstract hope. We can learn from her.

The Peruvian philosopher José Carlos Mariátequi, understanding imperialism, said “deliberation and votes” could not bring justice to Latin America. He admired enlightenment philosophers but knew they didn’t understand dehumanization. They want to count votes without admitting they don’t even see the people who might vote, let alone understand what they’d vote for if they existed.

It is not for nothing that Chuang Tzu is still seen by some as China’s greatest philosopher. Anyone who sees what he writes as simple misses the questions. But we can learn them from Ahed Tamimi, if we dare.

Or, we can learn from Ana Belén Montes, who has been silenced, in the US, for just this reason.[v]Please sign the petition here.

Notes.

[i] https://www.thedailybeast.com/exclusive-interrogation-video-surfaces-of-palestinian-teen-activist-ahed-tamimi

[ii]“One story, two narratives” The Listening PostAljazeera March 3 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWEGUHpafsY

[iii]https://www.scribd.com/document/331816897/The-Way-of-Chuang-Tzu-by-Thomas-Merton-pdf

[iv]The Empire Files with Abby Martin (Telesur)Jan 10 2018

[v] http://www.prolibertad.org/ana-belen-montes. For more information, write to sarahnes@cubarte.cult.cu or cincoheroes@listas.cujae.edu.cu

 

 

More articles by:

Susan Babbitt is author of Humanism and Embodiment (Bloomsbury 2014).

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nkeys and Another Reason Ahed Tamini Matters

 

Photo by Romerito Pontes | CC BY 2.0

Ahed Tamimi, 16, slapped an Israeli soldier, in her own yard, after her cousin was shot in the head. She’s detained for eight more months after a closed-door trial.[i]The soldier who shot her cousin, putting him in a coma, was not reprimanded.

As I write, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is again covering Malala Yousefsai. She was shot in the head in 2012 and made a hero. She was demanding her right to education.

Palestinian kids are shot every day for the same thing: demanding their rights. But Palestinian kids don’t exist. They don’t count. Most remarkable about Ahed Tamimi’s story is that we’ve heard it. [ii]

Colonization, Frantz Fanon argued, has logic. If you participate, even mentally, certain people don’t exist. You can kill them, or see them killed, without being bothered. You’re human. They’re not.

It raises a question, mostly ignored: How do you know the non-persons, the ones you’ve erased, so it doesn’t matter when they’re shot in the head? How do you know you don’t even see them: unarmed children, demanding human rights?

Ancient Chinese philosopher, Chuang Tzu, tells a story: The keeper tells the monkeys they’ll get three chestnuts in the morning and four at night. The monkeys are furious. So, the keeper offers four chestnuts in the morning and three at night. The monkeys are happy.[iii]

The end is the same: seven chestnuts. But the monkeys are on board: a better result. “Three in the morning” is famous. It is key to Taoist philosophy. Some say it is about thinking at two levels, or about equality, and balance: The monkeys’ perspective is included. The result is the same.

The story is supposedly about “two roads”. But it is not easy. Chuang Tzu’s anecdote is deeper than it seems to those who’ve been duped by a moribund liberal worldview. Chuang Tzu cared about what is lived. He valued simplicity and humility, but not for moral reasons. It was for truth.

We think better about the world, and live better in it, when we can feel our connection to it and to others. “Three in the morning” is not about thinking. It is about creation and loss.

The keeper recognizes the monkeys. He thinks they matter. Herein lies the challenge. Chuang Tzu, like the Buddha, and Marx and Lenin, knew knowing is a challenge, worth investigating. Chuang Tzu wasn’t an anti-imperialist, like Fanon. He was just smart. Realistic.

His focus is the existential, not just intellectual, grasp of reality. It’s a lost art, thanks to centuries of European intellectualist, individualist liberalism, more damaging than Trump.

When Ahed Tamimi is asked what would improve the lives of Palestinian kids, she says human solidarity, from across the world.[iv]She is a child who knows what many political scientists do not: A question about truth matters more than a future vision: How do you envision a future when you can’t even see the people that future is supposedly for?

Some say Ahed Tamimi inspires hope for the Palestinian cause. Jean Paul Sartre, following Fanon, calls resistance an act of self-creation. It is more urgent, and interesting, than hope.

Hope is belief: something to look forward to. It can be understood differently, and is in some traditions, but in happiness-obsessed “developed” societies, it is an opioid. It denies evidence. You hopebecause you don’t, and won’t, see what is there, in front of you. Antonio Gramsci called it lazy.

You sacrifice truth at an “alter of enthusiasm”. When cancer patients are urged to hope, it means: Believe in your own survival no matter what. Don’t see those who are dying around you. You’re not like them. Or so you should believe.

It ignores an important point. Marx knew it. His dialectical view is scientific. We getto truth through connection, with the world and its inhabitants. Felt connection. It is not always comfortable. Marx did not provide a model of the future society, but he showed how to discover truths.

It’s not through hope. I had a student come to me once in despair. She was in first year and had heard university authorities going on about success. She said, “I don’t know how to distinguish myself from 7 billion people on the planet”. It is how she’d understood “success”.

I tried to explain that it is more interesting to know how she is the same as all those people. Shared humanity. It is not what we teach. We hardly believe in it. Ahed Tamimi knows the power of connection, more sustainable and motivating than abstract hope. We can learn from her.

The Peruvian philosopher José Carlos Mariátequi, understanding imperialism, said “deliberation and votes” could not bring justice to Latin America. He admired enlightenment philosophers but knew they didn’t understand dehumanization. They want to count votes without admitting they don’t even see the people who might vote, let alone understand what they’d vote for if they existed.

It is not for nothing that Chuang Tzu is still seen by some as China’s greatest philosopher. Anyone who sees what he writes as simple misses the questions. But we can learn them from Ahed Tamimi, if we dare.

Or, we can learn from Ana Belén Montes, who has been silenced, in the US, for just this reason.[v]Please sign the petition here.

Notes.

[i] https://www.thedailybeast.com/exclusive-interrogation-video-surfaces-of-palestinian-teen-activist-ahed-tamimi

[ii]“One story, two narratives” The Listening PostAljazeera March 3 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWEGUHpafsY

[iii]https://www.scribd.com/document/331816897/The-Way-of-Chuang-Tzu-by-Thomas-Merton-pdf

[iv]The Empire Files with Abby Martin (Telesur)Jan 10 2018

[v] http://www.prolibertad.org/ana-belen-montes. For more information, write to sarahnes@cubarte.cult.cu or cincoheroes@listas.cujae.edu.cu

 

 

More articles by:

Susan Babbitt is author of Humanism and Embodiment (Bloomsbury 2014).

April 05, 2018
W. T. WHITNEY

Taking a Long Look Backward to Explain a Police Killing in Sacramento:
FRANK STRICKER

Is the U.S. at Full Employment? Should They Put the Brakes on Job Growth to Avoid Inflation Down the Road?
JAMES BOVARD

FBI Lies and Cover-Up Derail Biggest Terrorism Case Since 9/11
JOE EMERSBERGER

Ecuadorean Villagers May Still Triumph Over Chevron
ROBERT FISK

Shelter From the Storm: the Tunnels of Eastern Ghouta
DAVE LINDORFF

Spending a Night in the Concord Jail When Martin Luther King, Jr. was Assassinated
ROY MORRISON

Climate Truth: a Plan for Sustainability 
ALBERT GUSTAFSON

America’s Gun Problem is a Police Problem
NICKY REID

Enter John Bolton: Bringer of Doom
JESSE JACKSON

How Dr. King Lived is Why He Died
DEAN BAKER

An Economic Lesson for Tom Friedman: Putin Brought Russia Out of Poverty
April 04, 2018
PAUL STREET

Against False Conflation: JFK, MLK, and the Triple Evils
MEL GURTOV

The Coming Crisis with Iran
SUSAN BABBITT

Chestnuts, Monkeys and Another Reason Ahed Tamini Matters
THE HUDSON REPORT

The Economic Impact of the Bipartisan Bank Deregulation Bill
MICHAEL T. KLARE

Could the Cold War Return With a Vengeance?
PAUL EDWARDS

Sick Temper Tyrannis
COLIN TODHUNTER

Mass Deception and the Prelude to World War
KEVIN ZEESE – MARGARET FLOWERS

Role of Youth in the Coming Transformation
BINOY KAMPMARK

Atmospheric Burnings: The Re-entry of China’s Tiangong-1
THOMAS KNAPP

Uncertainty is the Root of the Current Market Craziness
RAMZY BAROUD

Rim Banna and the Cultural War that Palestinians Must Win
MEREDITH ANTON

Most Likely to Succeed
COURTNEY MYERS

Trump, Amazon and the Washington Post: A Love(less) Triangle
LOUIS PROYECT

The New German Cinema
NORMAN BALL

Has Mueller Already Been Subpoenaed in a Re-Impaneled Uranium One Investigation?
April 03, 2018
GARY LEUPP

“Let Other People Take Care of It”
VIJAY PRASHAD

Trump and His Tariffs
MICHAEL WELTON

Pedagogical Advice for Perilous Times
GEORGE WUERTHNER

Foresters vs. Ecologists
STEVE EARLY

Purple Bullying, Ten Years Later: SEIU Trustees Trample Member Rights On Eve of Janus Decision
SERGE HALIMI

License to Kill
MARTIN BILLHEIMER

The Devil in the Plow, Clock & Book
CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM

The Misanthropy of Wild Wild Country
KIM C. DOMENICO

Fight White Bourgeois Supremacy: Join the Invisibles
DEAN BAKER

Roger Lowenstein: F**k Your Stock Portfolio
ROBERT J. BURROWES

Nonviolence or Nonexistence? The Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
ANDRÉS CASTRO

A Modest Neoliberal Proposal
April 02, 2018
NOAM CHOMSKY, CHRIS HEDGES, JOHN PILGER, ET AL

The Isolation of Julian Assange Must Stop
ROB URIE

Facebook and the Rise of Anti-Social Media
JIM KAVANAGH

The Warm War: Russiamania at the Boiling Point
PATRICK COCKBURN

The Ignorant and the Arrogant: How Pompeo and Bolton Bring Us Closer to War in the Middle East
WILLIAM HARTUNG

Weapons for Anyone: Donald Trump and the Art of the Arms Deal
ROBERT HUNZIKER

Fukushima Jitters
JOHN LAFORGE

“Uncontroversial” Mass Destruction

Source: Chestnuts, Monkeys and Another Reason Ahed Tamini Matters

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