Thursday, August 27, 2009

And What Book Is President Obama Reading?

Leafing (yes, actually physically touching paper, turning over the pages and holding the newspaper up) through the International Herald Tribune Israel edition, I spotted a book review which informed me of:

Eduardo Galeano, the lifelong political and literary activist recently brought to the American public eye when Hugo Chávez gave President Obama a copy of “Open Veins of Latin America,”...His political stance is one of consistent moral horror and his idiom the plain and sometimes primitivist voice of his native Uruguay...The literary form Galeano has created in his many books is unique: little narratives and descriptive vignettes — here elegantly translated by Mark Fried — that might range from a paragraph to a dozen pages and that progress with a powerful hypnotic rhythm.

And of what does Galeano write, among other topics?


AT times the entries are simply testimonial...Elsewhere they are poetic. And sometimes they can be uncomfortably polemical: a brief history of the Holocaust (a “colossal butchery organized by Hitler”) concludes that “hunting Jews has always been a European sport. Now the Palestinians, who never played it, are paying the bill.”

Is the elision of the complex victimization of the Palestinians by Arab states a necessary consequence of this lapidary form?

Here's the original Spanish of that excerpted quotation:

La vieja Europa, tan capaz de belleza y de perversidad, derrama alguna que otra lágrima, mientras secretamente celebra esta jugada maestra. Porque la cacería de judíos fue siempre una costumbre europea, pero desde hace medio siglo esa deuda histórica está siendo cobrada a los palestinos, que también son semitas y que nunca fueron, ni son, antisemitas. Ellos están pagando, en sangre contante y sonante, una cuenta ajena.

And in translation:

Old Europe, so capable of war and malignancy, sheds a tear or so, while secretly celebrating this master move. Because hunting the Jews was always a European custom, but since half a century that historical debt is being paid for by the Palestinians who also are Semites and who never were, nor are, anti-Semites. They are paying, in blood money, the price of others.

The paragraphs before that read:

...The Israeli army, the most modern and sophisticated in the world, knows who it kills. It does not kill by error. It kills by horror. The civilian victims are called collateral damages, according to the dictionary of the other imperial wars. In Gaza, three of every ten collateral damages are children. And the maimed add up to thousands, victims of human mutilation that the war industry is successfully rehearsing in this operation of ethnic cleansing.

And as always, always the same: in Gaza, a hundred for one. For each hundred Palestinians killed, one Israeli.

Dangerous people –warning of another bombardment – in charge of the enormous manipulative media that invite us to think that each Israeli life is worth as much as a hundred Palestinian lives...

...Before the tragedy of Gaza, the worldwide hypocrisy shows up once again. As ever, the indifference, the vacuous discourses, the empty declarations, the high sounding declamations, the ambiguous postures are a tribute to sacred impunity.

Before the tragedy of Gaza, the Arab countries wash their hands off. As always. And, as ever, the European countries wring their hands...

So, if you ever wonder why Obama exhibits less-than-pro-Israel sentiments in his rhetoric and even worse, offers policies that can be inimical to Israel, you can thank...Hugo Chavez.

No comments: