Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Short Film Clips at a Checkpoint

I had seen it before, a few days earlier. I had seen it on my way into one of the many homelands of the 21st century. I saw the woman who wasn’t let into the city Nablus, to go to the hospital with her sick child. I saw the woman who wasn’t allowed home to her village after giving birth to a little girl; saw the man on crutches being sent back to the city by frightened young boys and terror-struck young girls with automatic weapons and security equipment.

It was when the pianist on the cinema screen started playing to save himself from what he didn’t know. When I saw the wall being built, how thousands and thousands of families were pushed together in cramped houses, when I heard the voices from the past in the big cinema speakers and, at the same time, the screams of despair from today, from the present that I am now a part of. That’s when I left, and then I had to go outside and cry.

The things I saw on the screen and heard through the speakers, the things that weren’t real, that were acted out by the best and most expensive actors suddenly came close. I understood that it had happened, but that it’s in some small way also happening right now, and that I’m a part of it through my silence and my dissociation.

I watch, write, take photographs, mediate and try to understand. Day after day, I go through something that I have partly seen before. Everything is mingled. I try to think back and remember when I have seen it before, but it is just glimpses from my own past, from films, conversations and theatre productions.

At the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, soldiers tread on the stage in high boots, smash doors to pieces and destroy houses. A bleeding woman is giving birth on the stage floor. The husband is taken away; there are screams, beatings, collaborators getting burning tires around their necks, humiliation. Then I stayed. Then it was a part of history, a history that I was trying to understand and that I wasn’t a part of. Then it had happened a long time ago, then it was easy to watch to understand, then I didn’t have to leave.

Now the film sequences are coming back, they are shown on BBC and CNN. In Chile, the black glasses have been thrown away and he failed to get immunity. In southern Africa, two former enemies sit around the negotiating table and plan a common future. The tall man, who is not yet out of prison, speaks to those in power and that leads to a shift of power. They understood that ‘the other’ couldn’t be defeated. And I dream about new films, films describing how the lost country is reestablished, how walls are taken down and sold as souvenirs.

And I see the woman going into “sniper alley” at Eretz, a mother visiting her son who is in prison on the Israeli side. When she comes back she tells me about cold speaker voices, soldiers in concrete bunkers, dogs to close, automatic weapons pointed at her body, soldiers laughing, and humiliation.

I never saw the end of the film, The Pianist. I don’t know what happened, if there was a happy ending for the pianist or if he died together with the other millions murdered people. I also don’t know what happened to the woman giving birth, the woman who wanted to go home to her husband, the man on crutches. I don’t know what will happen to the soldiers; the girl and boy who stopped them.

But the soldier at Eretz, who I have never written about before, said that he had been there seven months and that he was going to stay a long time. ”I will stay if I can stay sane, look around,” he said,”it’s all crazy.” I think he will make it. He will hand over to his successor in a few years’ time; he will have personal experiences that will make him a complete human being. I believe he will be somebody who never will be silenced. I am meeting him in a couple of weeks, when he’s on leave. He has promised to tell me a story.

MATS SVENSSON, a former Swedish diplomat working on the staff of SIDA, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, is presently following the ongoing occupation of Palestine.  He can be reached at isbjorn2001@hotmail.com.

Your Ad Here
 

 

 

 

More articles by:
October 22, 2018
Henry Giroux
Neoliberalism in the Age of Pedagogical Terrorism
Melvin Goodman
Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF
David Mattson
Basket of Deplorables Revisited: Grizzly Bears at the Mercy of Wyoming
Michelle Renee Matisons
Hurricane War Zone Further Immiserates Florida Panhandle, Panama City
Tom Gill
A Storm is Brewing in Europe: Italy and Its Public Finances Are at the Center of It
Suyapa Portillo Villeda
An Illegitimate, US-Backed Regime is Fueling the Honduran Refugee Crisis
Christopher Brauchli
The Liars’ Bench
Gary Leupp
Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?
Michael Howard
The New York Times’ Animal Cruelty Fetish
Alice Slater
Time Out for Nukes!
Geoff Dutton
Yes, Virginia, There are Conspiracies—I Think
Daniel Warner
Davos in the Desert: To Attend or Not, That is Not the Question
Priti Gulati Cox – Stan Cox
Mothers of Exiles: For Many, the Child-Separation Ordeal May Never End
Manuel E. Yepe
Pence v. China: Cold War 2.0 May Have Just Begun
Raouf Halaby
Of Pith Helmets and Sartorial Colonialism
Dan Carey
Aspirational Goals  
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail