lll on Tue, 7 Mar 2000 20:02:26 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] a great weight of evil

like thousands of other uk residents, 1 have just watched 
john pilger's 'to pay the price' programme exposing the 'co-
lateral' effects of us and british sanctions against iraq. crushingly 
heavy, slower effects like those of residual nuclear contamination. 
quickfire explosive effects like those of the 24,000 us and british 
aerial bombing runs. 

this is of course what one fully expects from a john pilger 
documentary, but such a powerfully delivered, well researched
presentation lacks no impact in its reminding us of global pain.

it is difficult to react satisfactorily to such a presentation of
massive injustice. the profound sadness 1 feel at this great
weight of evil is compounded by the sense of powerlessness.

powerlessness in the face of a singularity in the fabric of our 
mediatized world of ethical relativity [read "forgotten values"].

john pilger is a force. a force that has the power to speak,
through the transformer of broadcast network apparatus,
to many people at once. many people will be feeling right
now, just like 1 do. the apparatus has connected us together. 

but this same apparatus also transforms the voices of government 
spokespeople in their verbal 'defenses' of the reported status quo
[which includes - it must not be hidden behind terms like 'status
quo' - burnt children, total drought of basic drugs in critical care 
wards, pulverised towns and a crushed people doing their 
damndest to bear it all]. this same apparatus spends the vast 
majority [perhaps all] of its time transforming the rather harsh
voices of the global marketplace.

this is the question: is pilgers' foundation-rocking 
message spin? if so, who's spin, with what agenda [or what's
spin with who's agenda]?

the french writer paul virilio denotes this dilemma with his 
reference to 'the pollution of the near by the far' and to the 
prevalence of the far over the near, due most lately to the 
emergence of a third dimension of information from a critically 
accelerated technosphere. it is telecommunications technology that 
allows both the remote military operation and the broadcast of
its humanist response. it is thus that we find ourselves staring 
down the sights of missiles as they fall on equally powerless 

technology's great promise of deliverance via the law of least 
action has this ironic result: passive awareness of the 
far [with its associated and well tested emotional responses]
leading to disregard for the near [including the belief that 
demonstrating in the street isn't going to lift the sanctions]
and appeal again to the far [including email].

we might think occasionally that we are godlike, able to 
look and act beyond the horizon. but what horizon are we 
talking about? is it really possible to relate to the far? 


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