[-empyre-] the Ituri among elsewhere
sondheim at panix.com
Fri Nov 21 19:33:23 EST 2014
I've heard this as well from other sources,
"Reports of genocide
The BBC in 2004 reported that
In 2003, Sinafasi Makelo, a representative of Mbuti pygmies, told the
UN's Indigenous People's Forum that during the Congo Civil War, his people
were hunted down and eaten as though they were game animals. In
neighbouring North Kivu province there has been cannibalism by a group
known as Les Effaceurs ("the erasers") who wanted to clear the land of
people to open it up for mineral exploitation. Both sides of the war
regarded them as "subhuman" and some say their flesh can confer magical
powers. Makelo asked the UN Security Council to recognise cannibalism
as a crime against humanity and an act of genocide.
According to Minority Rights Group International there is extensive
evidence of mass killings, cannibalism and rape of Pygmies and they have
urged the International Criminal Court to investigate a campaign of
extermination against pygmies. Although they have been targeted by
virtually all the armed groups, much of the violence against Pygmies is
attributed to the rebel group, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo,
which is part of the transitional government and still controls much of
the north, and their allies.
The Pygmy population was also a target of the Interahamwe during the 1994
Rwandan Genocide. Of the 30,000 Pygmies in Rwanda, an estimated 10,000
were killed and another 10,000 were displaced. They have been described as
"forgotten victims" of the genocide. The current Rwandan Pygmy
population is about 33,000, and is reportedly declining.
By one estimate, the total number of Pygmies killed in the civil wars in
Congo and Rwanda is 70,000.
In the Republic of Congo, where Pygmies make up 2% of the population, many
Pygmies live as slaves to Bantu masters. The nation is deeply stratified
between these two major ethnic groups. The Pygmy slaves belong from birth
to their Bantu masters in a relationship that the Bantus call a
time-honored tradition. Even though the Pygmies are responsible for much
of the hunting, fishing and manual labor in jungle villages, Pygmies and
Bantus alike say Pygmies are often paid at the master's whim; in
cigarettes, used clothing, or even nothing at all. As a result of pressure
from UNICEF and human-rights activists, a law that would grant special
protections to the Pygmy people is awaiting a vote by the Congo
- And I do not see where art comes into play, I am sorry to keep hammering
on this, like a broken record (ruined mp3 file).
Except that the music of this area is something I have listened to, at
times polyphonic, amazing, and I am reminded of music at Auschwitz for
example, or the work of Valeska Gert, which has always haunted me.
I tend towards a nihilism rooted in an earth blood-soaked without memory.
I have just given, at Pratt here in Brooklyn, a three-hour talk on my
work, on empyre, on the state of the world; I've shown my videos from
virtual worlds, read texts, and unlike the Hebrew song, not only is it
never enough, it seems meaningless, erased of meaning, in the face of
disaster; it's as if I were reading through broken glass. What if words
were holy, if the substitution of one word for enough, a right word for a
wrong, could turn these events around, cauterize the source of genocide
itself? We all describe our work here, and darkness closes everything
down; one cannot read without light, and the force of chanting recedes.
I found, when I was thinking of the topic for empyre this month, I had
If we face evil, comprehend it, examine it, watch those videos, does that
reduce us to catatonia? Does that empower us to act? Does it reduce us to
fear and trembling, to terror?
It's not enough to say, this is the way the world has always been; the
world, now, is not as it has always been.
Or is it enough to insist on the long lens, reach, of history, to insist
that the past itself will teach us, that we can learn from it's - our -
Another approach - this has nothing to do with us; this is the work of a
miniscule number of people; this is the work of the made, the depraved,
criminals; this is the work of the lost; of the disenfranchised; of this
or that group. But is this not also our group, isn't there, yet, the shade
of Adolf Eichmann, the normalcy of evil? Then what is this?
Or this is for or against or the result of, neoliberalism - but this has
always been with us, this resides within us, this defines us, at least a
part of us.
Or that this is the result of social media, of technologies that spread
everything everywhere, this is the result of the disseminated messenger.
But social media, oral histories, ballads, newspapers, tablets, rumor,
gossip, languagings, have also always been with us.
Or that ethology plays a role, sociobiology, that this is part of our
primate heritage, that we may or may not overcome. Yes, and then what?
At the heart of all of this - absolute violence and anguish, textual and
oral inerrancies, symbolic acts and always totalization, the violence
inherent in language and its recoding of histories.
At the heart of _all_ of this, death, and the erasure of death."
I'm no closer to an answer than before, I work against explanation of any
sort in my own work, and I come up, as I believe we all come up, at a
loss, still, in the face of catastrophe.
"The seven-minute film, released on Wednesday by Al Hayat Media Center, an
affiliate of the Islamic State, also shows what appear to be French
jihadist fighters burning their French passports. The video appears to be
part of an intensifying propaganda effort by the Islamic State, also known
as ISIS or ISIL, to use foreign fighters to recruit members and to
encourage the spread of violence." "CNN) -- A vehicle explodes. Two trucks
full of armed men race closer to the resulting crater at the Karm
el-Kawadees army camp in North Sinai. The black-clad militants chase the
survivors, killing all the soldiers. All of it is captured on video. At
least 31 Egyptian soldiers were killed in the October attack, the
deadliest to date committed by the Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit
al-Maqdis (Champions of Jerusalem). ABM militants released video of the
ambush in mid-November -- just days after pledging allegiance to ISIS, the
Islamic terror group that now controls large parts of Syria and Iraq." "
The US Military Just Released New Videos Of Its Airstrikes Against ISIS.
The US military released new footage on Thursday of its airstrikes against
the jihadist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL). The US
Military Central Command published five videos in total and described the
strikes, which took place Wednesday, as against a building, two tunnels,
and two bunkers in Iraq. 'The strikes were conducted as part of Inherent
Resolve, the operation to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the
threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international
community," CENTCOM said in a statement. "The destruction of ISIL targets
in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group's ability to project
power and conduct operations.'"
More part, more performance, more video, this is just ISIS, we await
Ferguson. I have been thinking recently of the idea of background
performance, that of violence and hatred in the world, always on the rim
of consciousness, and now a second background performance, that of the
_internet of things_ as dull sentience creeps across parts of the world,
always the possibility of reporting. The two backgrounds come together of
course in social media, they're always on, always performing, and now
cyberwar and its consequences come to the foreground in a stunning graphic
- http://map.ipviking.com/ (the majority of attacks now on St Louis).
All these performances, what of them? Who are we among them? Who am I?
And what of Ferguson?
More information about the empyre