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un-Reality

by Brandon Edmonds / 14.04.2010

There’s fantasy and then there’s reality. Reality is what actually happens. Fantasy is just about everything else.

Reality is this right here:

The cold blooded murder of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan is the reality of US imperialism. That sickening feeling you get watching the video is made up not only of humane disgust at mindless slaughter, but the collapse of those “obvious certainties” Western media insists we take for granted. That illegal American military intervention abroad is motivated by selfless idealism. That the “international community” means well. That instances of savagery like the video above are aberrations and “mistakes” rather than standard operating procedure. That the presence of the West abroad is positive and constructive. That the people of Iraq and Afghanistan are lucky to have democracy’s soldiers in their streets.

The video reveals a starker reality than is ordinarily presented. The fact that war inevitably dehumanizes combatants. That war makes killing rote and mandatory. Fact is the “war on terror” daily contradicts and ignores “international norms” – leading to widespread cynicism about institutions, democracy and justice. You only have to look at universally plunging voter turnout to gauge how people are feeling about the political process. Cynicism and reactionary despair plays directly into the hands of elites who prefer a passively despondent populace.

Another way to pacify the public is to keep the level of social discourse incredibly low. Celebrity, sport, gossip and so on fulfills this function perfectly.

And so, fantasy:

A real bloodbath is there to be seen in the leaked military video. It speaks for itself. It is real. The imagined bloodbath – like the one this British tabloid recently trumpeted – is pure fantasy. But why? Why would a paper, even one as drenched in scurrilous drek as the Daily Star, run with a complete fantasy on its front page?

Here’s a quick list of answers: tabloid journalism is entertaining first, accurate last / Britain used to rule South Africa – any indication of social collapse reminds Empire enthusiasts what a mistake it was to give the country back / the standard framing of African politics entails a cavalcade of ‘post-liberation government failure’ – South Africa is just falling into that pattern / the ‘negotiated’ transition to democracy set an enlightened precedent for resolving social conflict by dialogue, rather than repression and force – it is not a desirable option in the Terror era – and must be seen to have failed / Africa has long provided the British imagination with luridly violent imagery at a comfortable remove – from the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya, through Rwandan genocide, up to Zimbabwe’s hellish unraveling / and, finally, an event like the World Cup tops the calendar of the global community (the whole rat’s nest of bankers and owners, politicians and plutocrats, down to their employees, lawyers and fixers, journalists and publicity agents) and holding it in the ‘underdeveloped’ South makes the moneyed and powerful genuinely uneasy – hence the façade of Euro propriety currently being spray painted on everything from airports to public space – as if sub-Saharan Africa had won an EU make-over in a “reality show”. Fantasy, pure fantasy.

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RESPONSES (17)
  1. hannes says:

    Holding the FIFA WC in SA makes the ‘moneyed & powerful…uneasy’! That’s rubbish. The Daily Star is aimed at the man in the street. Not everything fits in your dumb leftwing fantasies mate.

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  2. googlethu says:

    That Daily Star article was pathetic. It doesnt deserve all the attention its been getting. It is a tabloid after all, such things should be expected.

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  3. doxology says:

    hannes. i fear you miss the point. again.

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  4. REAL says:

    Pathetic it is, but I like it!!! Fool Malema should have kept his fat mouth shut a long time ago. But he still carries on! Aggravating the boers with his singing, calling british journo’s bastards, colabing with bigger fool Rob Mogab! Can the idiot not just shut his mouth!? I’m so sure that once he stops, the boertjies will stop joining the awb, the poms will stop panicing and all will be well! Mexico hosts a WC after being hit by a massive earth quake! We get it fucked up with idiocricy and bad leadership! That’s the real bullshit! This is THE rainbow nation! Why can’t we look to the future!?

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  5. Luckmin says:

    The video is one of the most shocking things I have ever seen. It sickens me to the core.
    Why bicker about the small and inconsequential? This piece is about so, so much more. We consent to all of this miss truth and injustice in our passivity towards it. War is in the words, the clever justifications and the all too common sense. We will be remembered as the ones who knew, and did nothing. Our humanity is at stake.

    Great piece Brandon.
    Good work Mahala

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  6. Tom Wood says:

    The Daily Star has a reputation for being the most sensationalist, trashy tabloid in Britain. No one with two brain cells to rub together would ever believe a word of it. The newspaper is bought simply for the naked women that appear on page three (and nowadays throughout). It’s a glorified wank-mag, and is never mistaken for a serious newspaper. Shit, it makes the Sun look like the Wall Street Journal.

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  7. Nomalungelo says:

    Y must we focus on history now?lets try 2 shape da future&4get abou t malema nd joining awb.fifa wc it is here “ke nako…”

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  8. Andy says:

    Sekunjalo ke nako!

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  9. We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. (Alexander Solzhenitsyn) says:

    Anyone who is shocked by the video should pull their head out of the sand and rectify the sorry state of their ignorance. There is so much literature easily available on the subject of US terrorism that to claim to be surprised by it is actually embarassing. Noam Chomsky and John Pilger are a good place to start.

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  10. solzhenitsyn sucks says:

    Butch awareness posturing isn’t helping…so you’ve logged more hours online. BF deal!

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  11. bill botes says:

    Shoot the tour(ist)

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  12. We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. (Alexander Solzhenitsyn) says:

    The point was not beat my chest, it was to point out that there is no excuse for ignorance. Time online has nothing to do with it, it has more to do with making an effort to know the state of the world you find yourself in. By your reaction, you possibly feel threatened. Apologies if that is the case, it was not the intention.

    The point of my comment was that it is too easy to throw your hands up and say “I didn’t know”. Anyone who challenges the status quo is immediately a conspiracy theorist, and that is bullsh*t.

    I’m sick and tired of people being traumatised the world over simply because Joe Public can’t be bothered to look outside of the mainstream media and find out what’s really going down.

    Good work Brandon and Mahala. More like this please.

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  13. artofkawaii says:

    spot on there We do not Err…

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  14. Katoey says:

    Complete fantasy on the front page is the Daily Star’s calling card in much the same way that bourgeois-guilt led apologies for left wing hooey are yours..

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  15. Anonymous says:

    So wait, your argument is that sensationalist media like this, is there to distract us from the unspeakable evils being carried out by ‘the man’, if ‘the man’ is so all powerful, and the media is in his pocket, then why does trash like this only get published in trashy tabloids like the The Daily Star?

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  16. judy says:

    What ‘man’? WTF are you talking about? These were soldiers following orders. The killing was ‘legiimate’ according to standard military practice in Iraq. ‘Trash’ is published throughout the media. Every day. Just depends on your ability to notice.

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  17. Bulldog says:

    dude you really been smoking the wrong end of the pipe, how many civilians have been killed in Iraq ? 100 000 ….200 000 well ET’s murder was number 1300th farm murder in SA, and Since the ANC has come to power there has been over 200 000 murders in South Africa in the same time period of the Vietnam war which BTW only lost 80 000 something troops in the same time period. South Africa lost 1700 Soldiers in one of Africa’s longest bush wars from 1966 till 1989, 1700 of which include those killed by accidents such as road trips home, accidental discharges etc, but yet in the short time of the ANC we have lost over 200 000 dead, murdered and raped and these were not just white, but black colored and Indian as well, and this was not even a war, or should we really speak the truth and go see what the UN charter and international standards state with references as to when is a country really at war and what points have to fall in place to be called a war, and one will see that in reality, South Africa is in a very clear, highly disguised, undeclared WAR !

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