How can architects help the Gaza strip people?


In a free-for-all, yeah, Denmark would totally take their shots at the US.  Everybody would be in on that shit...Iran, Australia, Eritrea, Monaco, etc.  Hell, probably even neutral countries like Antarctica & Switzerland.  The USA literally has no friends.  It only has allies because it holds guns to their heads.  Someday it will boil over and the blowback will be severe.


Nov 30, 12 3:20 pm

This thread has gotten unimaginably dumb. 


"i fear that the most feasible 'solution' (after all, in history, violence is as much a 'solution' as peace is) is for increasing violence and an increasing expression of the hatred felt by billions of people in the region and beyond for Israel."


Good god man. You're seriously advocating for mutual genocide. How are we supposed to take this seriously? Thank god for the world this will never happen. 

I want nothing more than for everyone living in the middle east to have the chance to live in peace and prosperity, and what you're advocating for is literally the worst conceivable thing to happen.

Dec 1, 12 6:04 pm

And if you are not implying the "solution" is all out war and military defeat of Israel, (which, beyond being ethical hypocrisy of the worst kind, is also clearly never going to happen), I have no earthly idea what you hope to achieve. When I say worst conceivable outcome, I mean for everyone involved, but for Israel least of all. The more violent Hamas and Hezbollah become, the worse their people will suffer, and the farther they will drive themselves from actually gaining any of the rights their people so deserve. And no matter how democratic Egypt and Turkey become, they will also continue to do nothing. They will pay the palestinians exactly what they have paid them for decades: lip service. Because they have no incentive whatsoever to do otherwise. 


If you really want the occupation to end, there is exactly one option: to render it politically indefensible. Strip the Israeli government of all of its excuses and let it stand before the world for what it is. It's only after you've made US support politically impossible that the situation will change. Thats what Nelson Mandela did, thats what Gandhi did, and unlike flailing pointless violence, that's what actually works.

Dec 1, 12 9:18 pm

Did you listen Turkish Foreign Minister Mr. Davutoglu's speech in UN? He was the last speaker before the voting took a place. It was much more than a lip service but announcement of solidarity and comradeship with Palestinian State.

Whether or not Israeli regime realizes this but, days of oppress, invade and settle triptych is over and they have to come up with honest desire to make a lasting peace. The whole global platform is watching now and nothing will be as usual, ie: 3000 new units of settlements in East Jerusalem as a counter reaction to statehood..!? Are they kidding? Even US will not support that!

Dec 1, 12 10:28 pm

No the vote for statehood was an important step and Im all about it. Political pressure is exactly what they need and the US deserves the embarrassment. Nobody can stand Netanyahu. Everybody wants a settlement, and If Hamas was smart they'd eliminate his excuses and take advantage. 

Dec 2, 12 12:33 am
chatter of clouds

by saying that. you're calling me dumb now. you are a hypocrite;  you can't even maintain a respectful disposition yourself and yet you assume  high prescriptive moral ground.

i have given enough information above to show that it is not about my personal liking but  about a potent feeling in the area, about the way israel operates in the region and about how powerful the military grassroot resistance movements have become and ho. it is also blatant that violence dictates history and is therefore a viable 'solution' - sometimes to conquer and sometimes to defend. no need to cite examples, countless they are. the likes of palestine and lebanon were/are not able to liberate their lands, people or halt israel's intrusions by way of normal diplomatic routes. these keep on being blocked or perverted by the influence of zionist lobbies on the US and co. they, the people, have found that the only solution to them was and is armed resistance and what we call a people's right is right. how can one condone that, whatever ones preference is (and however irrelevant that preference is).

 this is not about my liking. i have also suggested my preference for a just peace not a condenscending one (like the one you were rooting for in your posts above). in fact, my preference is for something even more idealistic:  for a greater, open and liberal levant, a true expression of the multicultural communities that transcends narrow nationalism.

but if its war, then, bluntly, i root for the resistance movements (with reason and with caution) in their capacity to resist and liberate and , yes, not in a capacity to oppress their own people by turning into megalomaniacs  (but to be honest, the region is rife with megalomaniacs...) and to exert the utmost effort - wthin their means- to abide by the geneva conventions with regards to the conduct of war  (something that israel, de facto, does not observe in any of its wars).

Dec 2, 12 1:20 am
chatter of clouds

sorry, how can one not condone that...or at least desist from condemning

Dec 2, 12 1:35 am

Sorry. I wasnt actually calling you dumb. There were a series of posts after yours delivered from a fantasy land so dopey I didnt feel necessary to comment on.


The emotions are entirely justifiable. Palestinians, all of us, are entirely right to feel that way. I just wish that feeling was being directed in a more productive fashion. When you direct your fire on civilians, no matter who you are, you relinquish any and all moral credibility. It just serves no military or political end whatsoever.


"i have also suggested my preference for a just peace not a condenscending one (like the one you were rooting for in your posts above). in fact, my preference is for something even more idealistic:  for a greater, open and liberal levant, a true expression of the multicultural communities that transcends narrow nationalism."

I would love this.

Dec 2, 12 2:48 am

And, what I said above is already happening.

"For first time, Britain, France may recall ambassadors in protest at Israel's settlement construction".

So far Israeli government acting out so predictably, so out of touch, so anti peace. 

By the way, I have a hunch that people who are pro occupation, Gaza operations of IDF etc.., now ran out of reason and calling this thread useless. Typical. Condemn and deny if can't accept what it is going on.

Finally, to tie it back to OP's question,  How can architects help the Gaza strip people? Those who teach and those who are looking for a project for their thesis in architecture schools, give Palestine and Israel as a site. For example, as one of my friends called it out this morning:

"So, here's a studio idea for all my fearless friends who teach at schools of architecture and/or design: BUILDING AS PUNISHMENT. Any takers.....?" 

Dec 2, 12 8:19 pm

There isn't much you can do really. That's a conflict going on for such a long time and it will continue for a long time. An architect is powerless, unlike a doctor or something like that.

Dec 3, 12 2:51 am
ka em

Orhan, that is an AMAZING idea!

I'll make a recommendation to my university.

Dec 3, 12 7:09 am


Have you been to the USA in the last 20 years?  Ninety percent of whats been built could qualify as punishment.


Dec 3, 12 9:17 am

Orhan: "people who are pro occupation, Gaza operations of IDF etc.., now ran out of reason and calling this thread useless. Typical."

Unfair. I have not participated in this debate and have not expressed any position one way or the other on the dispute. However, I have followed the thread closely and have labeled this thread useless because neither side makes one iota of progress in convincing the other side. It's just a lot of heated debate, with each side doing its utmost to characterize the other side as ignorant and intolerant while characterizing its own position as righteous and pure.

From where I sit, this thread mirrors almost exactly the situation on the ground in Gaza/Israel. When all you want to do is throw darts (or artillery shells or rockets) it's no wonder that little progress is made.

Dec 3, 12 9:54 am

i just reread a good chunk of this from the beginning.  i don't think anyone at any point in this thread suggested they support the occupation of israel in the west bank or the blockade on gaza.  i don't think it was even subtley hinted at.  the conversation as i can see it is basically these 2 sides:

"palestinian people are suffering due to israel's actions" and

"it's more complicated than that."

we all agree on the first part.  it's the second part that seems to be creating your division.

now, i didn't read everything so please help me by quoting the actual statement that leads you to believe there are people involved in this discussion that are "pro-occupation."  or are you operating under the assumption that anyone who thinks palestinians are not completely blameless must support the occupation?  it's like you're trying to create an enemy (in the forum, not in the real-world region) that doesn't exist.

Dec 3, 12 11:13 am

Saying this situation has always been there and will be there forever is saying "everything is okay because it can't get any better." It is so disgustingly detached.. Basically it is a sneaky way of saying "the hell with ideas of peace and justice, let's stay with status quo, occupation and oppression." It is really dishonest, insincere and does not want peace. In fact it stinks of meanness and double speak..

No matter, it will be more and more visible who is the aggressor and the oppressor. At this rate, we will see Israel in the International Criminal Court where the atrocities will be broadcasted.

There is a growing Israeli dissent against the inhuman treatment of Palestinians. Go read Haaretz and follow Israeli peace movement activity. The leading intellectuals of Israel and the urban populations are mostly for justice and peace. It is mostly conservative and misinformed American Jews who maintain the most fanatic and out of touch views and ultimately they represent the biggest danger to Israel's survival.

In fact that people have been diligently reading this thread and condemning in the same time without forwarding any ideas are the ones perhaps should keep their silence. Because you don't even offer point of view and basically supporting status quo wholeheartedly. Best thing happened to your argument is that Hamas rockets killed 3 Israeli civilians, You don't even mention thousands of Palestinian civilians including large number of women, children, elderly died by IDF high tech fire power over the years. Why don't you say so? State the facts. Say you are okay with the treatment of Palestinians and against any idea of they are receiving justice. 

It is very simple and I will say it again, stop the injustice and occupation and achieve lasting peace...

Dec 3, 12 11:55 am

Orhan: "people have been diligently reading this thread and condemning in the same time without forwarding any ideas are the ones perhaps should keep their silence."

I find that to be a somewhat outrageous statement. I accept, and respect, your passion on this topic. I recognize as well that others hold different -- and equally passionate -- views.

I follow this thread with the desire to learn. I follow this thread with the hope some insight will emerge that will lead to some sort of resolution of this horrible problem.  What I find, as a consistent pattern, is people talking past each other.

 I -- and others -- have made this observation earlier in the thread. It seems a relevant way to signal to the active participants that perhaps the arguments being put forward with such energy and passion are not producing any meaningful movement among the very people they are trying to influence.

Dec 3, 12 12:53 pm
chatter of clouds

hopefully, at some point in the not too distant future, we will look back with disbelief at how many view israel and palestine at this time as being on par morally or who even demonize the palestinians. we will view them with as much disbelief as we view Thatcher's description of Mandela's ANC as terrorists. and the de facto normalized and friendly relationship the likes of usa, uk and other european countries had with the racist apartheid regime( and  therefore implicitly supported its sustenance)

we will look back at it and see it as it is: a case of a racist and exremely nationalistic entity bred, ironically, from the same inhuman origins as nazism and fascism that was given other people's turf firstly through deceipt, through a colonial handing over irrespective of the desires of its true residents. an entity that even turned deceiptfully on its benefactors (the White Papers), grew like a cancer in the region, arranged gangs and bandits (later on became the IDF) who pillaged and killed families to spread terror amongst the palestinians and drive them out.

we will hopefully look back at how the poweful amongst us remained paralysed, ethically stunted, as this entity killed so many regular children, men and women in palestine and the UN condenms israel again and again - in fact, it is one of the most UN-condemned countries in the world if not the most.... and yet...the governments around the world remained composed, paralyzed, stupidly confused or slyly complicit.

Dec 3, 12 1:38 pm

Here is a fresh New Yorker piece illustrating intertwined political love fest and Israeli dictate of American politics. They own and shape our policy against Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims in general. They directly dominate and manipulate both political parties here in the USA. In a way, we are occupied too.

Hillary is Running: A Dispatch from the Saban Forum

Dec 3, 12 1:45 pm

for those who do hold a strong opinion, this is an excellent opportunity to try to explain some of the details the rest of us may not have been exposed to or may not understand.  asking and answering questions is a good way to do that.  i don't have a solution because to me this is a difficult and complicated problem that isn't going to be solved with a 30 second sound byte.  to say us simpletons should just shut up is, in my opinion, dishonest and insincere. 

also, i would like to reiterate, as in my previous comment, noone here is questioning who the aggressor and oppressor is.  i don't understand how you think that's part of the discussion.  i don't understand who you think is saying "everything is okay because it can't get any better."  i haven't seen anyone on this forum suggest the israeli settlements should be continued or expanded.  i fully admit there is a possibility that that comment is being made and i somehow missed it, so i'm looking forward to your clarification that whoever you're upset with is a real internet-person and not just a phantom.

are you guys really talking about peace?  or are you talking about justice?  do you think they are the same thing?  i do not think they are the same thing.  peace and justice can certainly coexist, and that is what i think all of us would like to see.  if you're paying attention, that's our common ground in this forum discussion.  however, i think your comments have been focused solely on justice and the people you are telling to shut up are also concerned with establishing a lasting peace.

Dec 3, 12 2:08 pm

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is clearly an example of US domestic political dominance games being fought out in a foreign venue as a sort of proxy civil war: just like the Cold War, except the sides are now the Cathedral vs. Arlington rather than US vs USSR. The major elite competing factions in the US each support their side in the conflict against the other, doing so with money, guns, soft power, and every other means at their disposal. The State Department, Harvard-University Complex, and Big Media keep the Palestinians going, while the Neocons, Pentagon Brass, and Big Business back Israel. This is why I say that if the US got out of it entirely, the whole thing would be resolved quickly.

Dec 3, 12 2:10 pm

i'm going to phrase what i was trying to get across as a different question.  theoretically, as a thought exercise, if you could only have justice or peace?  which would you chose?  would you sacrifice peace for justice?

Dec 3, 12 2:11 pm

Peace without justice is a post without a content.

Dec 3, 12 2:20 pm

an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will make us all blind and toothless.  that's the status quo you choose to perpetuate.

Dec 3, 12 2:24 pm

I said "justice" not "revenge or punishment". Is it too much to ask?

Dec 3, 12 2:31 pm

i do not know the answer to that question orhan.  we haven't seen much of justice or peace in the region since long before i was born, so maybe it is too much to ask for.  hopefully some day i will find wise counsel that can help me understand the answer to that.  hopefully all of our leaders will search for a better answer too.

Dec 3, 12 2:44 pm

You're all probably familiar with Maswell's Hierarchy of Needs, right? Well, there's a political hierarchy of needs as well. It looks something like this: Peace > Order > Law > Freedom. With dependencies in that order. To have freedom, you must have law. To have law, you must have order. To have order, you must have peace. Promote freedom all you like, but without peace, order, and law it will amount to nothing.

Where does justice fit into that hierarchy? That depends on what you mean by justice. At its most fundamental, justice is simply an axiological property of the universe: consequences follow from actions and effects follow from causes. That's basic justice in an existential sense.

A second meaning of justice is that which properly follows from the law. In this sense, justice is nearly synonymous with Rule of Law, the third-tier component of the political hierarchy of needs.

A third meaning of justice is equated more or less with a notion peculiar to Western Christian cultures: fairness. That which is fair is presumed to be just. The difficulty with this formulation is that "fairness" is an extremely subjective and slippery concept. What exactly is "fair?" Sometimes we mean it to describe the distribution of consequences according to what has been earned by action or merit, and this is mostly consistent with the primary meaning of justice so long as we don't play favorites. However, in its most simplistic sense "fair" simply means "equally apportioned," because we must presume that barring some special circumstances it is not appropriate to differentiate between people as a moral principle. That's a difficult problem, because equality doesn't really exist. Is it "fair" that some people are smarter or stronger than others? Absolutely not. That, however, does not mean that unequal distribution is in any way unjust. Life isn't fair, after all, no matter how much we desire it to be.

Finally, justice can be taken to mean that which is morally right. This sense of the term gets us into the most trouble, because it easily leads to the moralistic fallacy when we are really considering justice in the first, most fundamental sense, using the terms of the third sense of "fairness": substituting "should" for "is" and reaching the inverted presumption that unfair consequences in reality are somehow "unjust". This leads to all sorts of silly and problematic ideas. Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" is amusing if somewhat chilling play on the implications of going down this path.

So, would I sacrifice peace for justice? Generally, I wouldn't sacrifice peace for any higher political goal simply because the vast majority of those political goals are dependent on peace in the first place. Would you sacrifice your brain to save your life? Would that even be possible? No. The question is not really intelligible.

Dec 3, 12 4:00 pm

How about giving the occupied land back to Palestinians for starters in the justice department you armchair philosophers? Oh.., it would also be nice to stop settlements too while you are at it.

Dec 3, 12 5:24 pm

As de Vattel pointed out: "A NATION or a state is, as has been said at the beginning of this work, a body politic, or a society of men united together for the purpose of promoting their mutual safety and advantage by their combined strength...Every nation that governs itself, under what form soever, without dependence on any foreign power, is a Sovereign State, Its rights are naturally the same as those of any other state. Such are the moral persons who live together in a natural society, subject to the law of nations. To give a nation a right to make an immediate figure in this grand society, it is sufficient that it be really sovereign and independent, that is, that it govern itself by its own authority and laws." (from The Law of Nations, Book 1)

If the Palestinians, or anyone for that matter, possess their territory by the generosity or forebearance of someone else (e.g. as something "given," whether for just purposes or not), they are not a sovereign nation. You're a sovereign nation if you can make the independent claim of sovereignty and make it stick, either by fighting off anyone who disputes your sovereignty or getting them to recognize it through some other means on your own. The Palestinian territories fail this basic test, and fail it completely. The Palestinians are, at best, subjects of their sovereign patrons, and possibly a full-blown satrapy of Foggy Bottom.

The same goes for the Israelis, incidentally. If Israel can't maintain its claim to sovereignty without outside assistance, then it's somebody else's protectorate, not a sovereign nation. While the Israeli military is disproportionately strong and they possess a nuclear deterrent, without the support of the US they would be over-run relatively quickly by the hostile powers that surround them. Without US protection, Israel would have to be a LOT more accommodating and friendly toward their neighbors if they wanted to survive.

As it turns out, there aren't many sovereign nations left in the world these days. The vast majority of them exist as quasi- or crypto-protectorates of the United States. Russia and China are sovereign, and that's why you see the State Department, UN, and Defense Department get so exasperated by them and treat them so delicately. Possibly France, Germany, India, and the UK. Not many others. North Korea is (just barely) sovereign, but at huge cost. Iran is trying to become sovereign. Pakistan is semi-sovereign (they're nuclear, but they have to more or less do what the US tells them if we use our Darth Vader voice).

Dec 3, 12 6:13 pm

well, i've gone from racist despicable fuck to armchair philosopher.  i'm going to go ahead and step out of this conversation while i'm ahead.  good luck solving the crisis, and i hope you guys can ease some of the suffering in the world.

Dec 3, 12 7:47 pm

I couldn't care less about easing anybody's suffering. I just want to stop paying for it.

Dec 3, 12 8:25 pm

Next week on Homeland :
Russia and China control middle eastern resources.

Dec 3, 12 11:42 pm

curtcram, hmm.., maybe you are not even an armchair philosopher. I take it back. I am not sure, I have a lot more sympathy for you than you think but if you wish, you can be a "despicable fuck" whoever called you that, I still like you.

Gwhrton, [you take somebody's home, demolish it, kill their family, punish them en masse, burn their agriculture, treat them as third class subjects and keep expanding into their livelihoods while keeping them confined to separated enclaves,] defying and bulldozing all the "domestic laws" of that society, tribe, village etc... I am interested the way you refer de Vattel's Swiss gold "winner wins" Law of Nations and the concept of sovereignty. It has a strange scale and place in these times, globally and across the borders of dime sized Israel. It will be a necessary discussion in 21st century with re-emerging ideas of networked city states replacing the nation states bringing entirely new sets of flexible terrain politics and citizenry  Vattel's work needs a new radical counter work, like Marxism needs one to overcome and revise. Wars are going to be pointless as soon as property laws and their ownership is reformed and there is no need for nations because there is no need for sovereignty.

At the moment though, It is more like Law of the Jungle out there that I am trying to respond. Outright thug like behavior in the court of hundreds of nations and local cultures. It can be stopped locally. There are other ways than closing the valve which won't happen in a foreseeable future of American politics and its foreign policies.

We will leave that area when there is no oil to mine.  

I stated early on I was and am for a one state solution with equal representation of all in Israel. I predict given the chance, majority of Palestinians would accept that and move forward. It is also the smell of that eastern Mediterranean Sea makes me yearn for peace and dream it. It is a hard to explain that entity in my DNA... It is different than not having any connections to that region. I connect to that sea. I feel a lot of sorrow when I see my distant cousins from both sides suffering, especially the oppressed ones. I want my Israeli brothers to live peacefully and I want my Palestinian sisters to be happy again. That is what lies in my heart in a poetic sense.

You don't have those dilemmas. Your detachment is Swiss or overseas, my attachment is local wind that moves the olive leaves and sun that makes our grapes sweet. Mine is emotional yours is better business. Our understanding of scale makes us sovereign in our tents. We can only be killed locally.

Dec 4, 12 12:23 am
chatter of clouds

"I couldn't care less about easing anybody's suffering. I just want to stop paying for it."

i do not know whether you are lucky enough not to have passed through really tough dangerous times that you are not able to imagine the pain of others..or that you are unlucky in your dearth of empathy and in that all you care about is your money. but perhaps i also have to empathize with people living in a pathetic state of a community where  person's worth is measured by the quantity they are able to generate. perhaps then not an armchair philosopher but an armchair sociopath.

but i do agree with you on this: "This is why I say that if the US got out of it entirely, the whole thing would be resolved quickly" and i would add, in the favour of the oppressed

Dec 4, 12 12:30 am

US military bases around the world:

(Image via

Sadly, the US will not be getting out of anyplace, anytime soon on their own.  They've got too much invested in their empire.

The good news is that it is an empire that is so sick, corrupted, twisted & generally fucked up that it may collapse on itself sooner rather than later.


Dec 4, 12 9:54 am

If you take a look at a map of israel you will see that there is much open land.  there is not a scarcity of space, and no reason to keep encroaching upon the palestinians.  Plenty of room for everyone to live in peace.  archiects cannot do anything to help because no one is looking for a solution, but rather for continuous conflict..... building settlements up and within....integrated into the mountains, the "terrain vauge" ect.....can provide enough settlement space for the next 1000 years.....They encroach because they want to not because they have to.  We must ask why they want to do this?  What is the point?  What is the goal?  The "leaders" of israel must have a sinister agenda to contain, oppress, and control the palestinians.  There is not other logical explaination for this new settlement that they are pushing for.  Solutions can be designed, but if there is no desire for a solution, and rather a desire to continue conflict inorder to maintain power and control then there is nothing that a creative person can contribute because the goal is destructive.  We need to change this paradigm among all nations....military industrial complex, prison indutrial complex, exploitation........Nations find it easier to gain superiority and power through destructive means rather than creative means.  This is the problem.  Creativity is hard.  Destruction is easy.  The animal usually takes the easiest route to get ahead.  The lion goes after the wounded water buffalo.......A more creative world will be a more peaceful world. 

Dec 4, 12 10:31 am

JLAX: As Quondam is so fond of reminding us, creativity is inherently metabolic: it builds and destroys, consumes and remakes. Creativity generates value and extropy, but at a cost. Sometimes great. To lower entropy in one place, you increase it elsewhere. This is a fundamental law of the universe: to create, you must destroy. So, your supposition that "a more creative world would be a more peaceful world" is debatable at best, but almost certainly wrong.

Orhan: From your name, I assume you are Turkish and not Palestinian. I seriously doubt your own family has been directly harmed by anything going on between Israel and the Palestinians, though I could certainly be wrong about that. You look in from outside just as much as I do. It is not either of our business, pro or con.

I reference de Vattel because his work was a seminal articulation of the centuries-long common understanding what nations are: their prerogatives, essential characteristics, and interactions. These things are what make up "international law" in the old, original, and more truthful sense, right down to the making of war and the "last argument of kings." If we had any sense at all, we'd apply his understanding to the Middle East conflicts and they'd be all sorted out. But we won't. He's worth studying now, not only because he wrote about sovereignty and international relations in such a realist manner, but because the modern Universalist order has so thoroughly inverted and polluted nearly all the principles he described in its Orwellian conquest of the world. The modern concept of "international law" is something de Vattel would not recognize as anything beyond the imperial will of the regnant United States: an evil empire of moralistic chaos.

My detachment is a recognition of reality and a desire not be an active part of that same evil empire's endless machinations and perversions of truth. It is despicable that the ruling cliques of my country are using the Israeli-Arab conflict as an endless dominance game to score points on each other here at home, and have been doing so for most of the 20th century. It is no wonder the Arabs hate us for it. I do too. If any of these nations are really, truly sovereign (in the sense of true sovereignty which de Vattel describes), then what they do between themselves and in their own borders is none of our business and any interference on our part is completely unjustified, no matter how good about ourselves we might feel about it afterwards. The arrogance and hubris on display with respect to our moralistic, patronizing attitudes and actions here and elsewhere is absolutely shameful, and I will have no part of it.

tammuz: Near my office, there are paid fund-raisers on every street corner soliciting donations for various social action groups (Seattle liberals being a fertile field for harvest by such people). One of the most numerous type are hired by an NGO cynically calling itself "Save the Children" to make us feel bad about ourselves because children are suffering in various third-world hell-holes, much as they have been for most of human history. Their pitch is to let us engage in a brief, narcissistic gesture of giving a few dollars to make ourselves feel morally superior because we "care" and "did something" about it, and too assuage the guilt we supposedly feel for not living in a third-world hell-hole ourselves (not put that way, of course, but that's the essense - they call it "making a difference"). Normally I ignore them, but occasionally they become so aggressive and confrontational that I can't. A couple of months ago, one of them got up in my face as I tried to pass him by for the Nth time that week and accused me, as you have, of being an uncaring sociopath who "doesn't care about children."

I responded to him, "I care very deeply about children. I am especially fond of MY OWN. When I "save the children," as I do every single day, I start with them. And my nieces and nephews. And my friends' children. And my cousins. Perhaps if people did a bit more looking after the children who are close to them, the world would be a better place and you wouldn't have to stand here begging in the rain for the salaries of NGO bureaucrats who make a healthy living off of the miseries of the world. So get the f*ck out of my face and go look after your own house and family."

So I put to you that in your zeal to have us all "care" so deeply and conspicuously advertise the depth of our boundless empathy while we spare nothing to rescue all the poor, misfortunate wretches of the world, you have let your own house fall into to ruin. Your moralism is a potlatch. With all this talk of "doing something" and "caring" and "empathy" for the world, you are part of the problem, not the solution.

Dec 4, 12 1:59 pm
chatter of clouds

i dont want you to care, i dont have a zeal to have you care. the phrase quoted above is yours. it speaks for itself.

i am not zealous, in fact...i am tired off this nonsense, we all are, this hypocricy...of people crying over movies about rwanada when they have a chance to change things in palestine. but i will voice my opinion along with orhan along with the people who stand up for whats right even in a really inconsequential forum such as this.

 what you directed at me here above is an expression of your own cynicism and otherwise contains very little substance that matters. i am not part of an NGO, nor  have i even been part of any demonstration nor have i signed petitions, never politics nor an ideology, never asked anyone to give. not because i'm cynical but im not much of a people's person. its not my thing. i do other things and not necessariily for people who know me, and this is because i would fel wreched by not doing so... not because it makes me feel good by doing so. you dont understand empathy then. to be honest, it makes me feel genuinely sad and depressed to give because i get to feel the sorry state of people who feel the need to be taken care off because they have been neglected or subhumanized, or because they come from very poor i feel tarnished, i feel i am them, burdened, it is not cathartic. the same when i hear about people who i know personally who have had their families killed or locked up by the israelis. i see the consequence of the israeli occupation less than one mile away from my home in the form of a palestinian refuge camp.

  so empathy is not an abstraction. it is, for me, something to do with one's imagination and sensitivity. if you think that empathy is the same as condescending or insiduous/ pretend altruism then the fault is in the poverty of either your vocabulary or your emotional l vocabulary (hence, sociopathically tipped), . maybe it sounds like im lecturing from above, that would be a cynical misinterpretation. i am saying this as your complete equal: your points above are petty, intellectually uninteresting, pointless and devoid of any emotional pull. you neither bring brains nor heart to this discussion.

 . no one is asking you to give anything. you're being judged by what you are already giving voluntarily here: cynicsim and flippant sociopathy,  joining in a discussin about people who suffer and stating that "you don't care". well, "don't care" away...but why would you care enough to point that out? it is your learned sense of self that you treasure above any one else here who might have a different insight, who might represent to you what is really happening beyond your depleting pocket and abstract meaningless and really intellectually trivial posturing. please accept it from me, a reader. 

no, please don't give. remain as you are. but i will also point out what you, here, are.

Dec 4, 12 3:05 pm

JLAX: As Quondam is so fond of reminding us, creativity is inherently metabolic: it builds and destroys, consumes and remakes. Creativity generates value and extropy, but at a cost. Sometimes great. To lower entropy in one place, you increase it elsewhere. This is a fundamental law of the universe: to create, you must destroy. So, your supposition that "a more creative world would be a more peaceful world" is debatable at best, but almost certainly wrong.

No it's not.  War is almost always manufactured,  Most conflict is caused by a desire for conflict.  They love war.    They desire entropy like a weatherman desires the next big storm.  It makes them feel needed.  Talk about broken windows...

This is not physics...If you lower entropy in one place you most likely will lower it in other places too because these conflicts are all connected.  one war creates another and another....before you know it we are all dead....Wow humans are fucking stupid. 

Dec 4, 12 3:24 pm
chatter of clouds

"Orhan: From your name, I assume you are Turkish and not Palestinian"


yes Orhan...fro that other standpoint somewhere stated are from the region...therefore you are biased and your views are disqualified


you are not palestinian but turkish...therefore you can't say anything that someone else from somewhere else can...there your views are disqualified


Dec 4, 12 3:29 pm


A lot of assumptions.. May I ask your ethnicity since you made a whole record of mine and why I should not involve with any of this based on the proxy you so assumed for others? Also.., what is your full name so I can arrive a genealogical tree and safely analyse from my cabby hole about meaning of your life?

Re; whose business is what? Is it not possible of a writer to write about places he does not necessarily live? An artist's work to tell his or her honest opinions? An architect not to built in a place on the other side of the world? Or.., etc.. I find my participation is necessary. 

Do you realize how absurd your whole position is? You are going this rationalizations to qualify this highly structured evil world, you have live in regardless. You have even built a shield of resignation. 

There are so many gaping holes in your self centered and privileged assumptions of the world that I should deem difficult to further comment because you have hardened so much that would be a futile attempt for me. Good luck. I hope "your own family" is not directly harmed and live safe lives in the "truth" you have figured out for them, however evil its sovereign umbrella might be. 

Dec 4, 12 3:53 pm

Orhan, since you ask, I am of English/Scots-Irish American settler/colonist ethnicity. My ancestors have, for the most part, been in North America since the 17th century and are responsible for building the United States into a powerful and prosperous nation from next to nothing. Ethnically, that makes me a WASP (if I may appropriate the judaic epithet for my own purposes even though I'm not particularly religious), and I am unapologetic about that. For that reason and others, I'm rather attached to the place, and don't like to see it destroying itself through the misguided and arrogant foolishness of the people who now run the place. As Adam Smith pointed out, there's a lot of ruin in a nation. That apparently applies doubly to the USA, which in its own ruination is ruining the rest of the world in the bargain. Tragic indeed.

You deride me for being a cold, cynical outsider turning a clinical, detached eye on a far-away tragedy while you, so close, feel their wind of their pain rustling your olive trees. You mock me for writing about places I do not live, while you do the same. It's not your people being burned out any more than it is mine, though we may be connected to them in many ways.

As it turns out, I personally know and am friends with Syrians, Jordanians, Egyptians, Saudis, Yemenis, and a few Israelis. I work in the middle east a fair bit, and go there periodically. I worry for my friends, and don't want to see them hurt. I do indeed feel their pain, to the extent that it's possible for anyone to really do so, and would minimize it if I could. That's why I emphasize that my own people should butt out and let the locals settle it on their own.

I also had two friends die at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, so I know what it's like to feel insane violence arbitrarily rip away people you care about.

And I know that if my nation, my people who so arrogantly stand astride the world and meddle in so many things they know so little about, filling the world full of moralistic chaos in their monomaniacal do-gooder crusades and revolutionary destruction, were not there feeding the fires at every turn and from every side that the suffering would diminish. So before we add any further misery to an already tragic situation far from our own shores, we had better look to getting our own house in order and quit shitting up the rest of the world.

That, in fact, is the only truly humanitarian course of action available to us at the moment.

Dec 4, 12 4:55 pm

I have never maintained that "creativity is inherently metabolic." What I am fond of reminding you is that the metabolic process is a creative/destructive duality. [gwharton, if you don't see the distinction there, then perhaps you are not as smart as you think you are.]

Regarding Israel and (the) metabolic (process), here are two things I've already written:

A future chronosomatic note may concern itself with the Jewish psyche and it's relationship with reenactment, e.g., the contemporary state of Israel. With the Holocaust corresponding to the transverse colon, as do all contemporary genosidal purges, and the forthcoming end of assimilation in 2194, is today's Israel the ur-metabolic state?

...the metabolic urbanism of contemporary Israel.

Dec 4, 12 5:35 pm

U r penis thief !


Dec 4, 12 5:41 pm

No.  I m penis thief !


Dec 4, 12 5:41 pm

Quondam, perhaps I'm misremembering, but I recall you writing extensively on the metabolic nature of creativity on Design-L many moons ago. Hence the reference.

Misremembered or not, creativity is about the creation of value, and that is inherently extropic. Localized extropies are possible (even encouraged! without them we wouldn't exist), but at the expense of entropy elsewhere. That really is a fundamental law of existence, no matter how much jla-x wishes it wasn't so. Whether it's "metabolic" or not is debatable.

Dec 4, 12 5:58 pm

Creativity is not inherently metabolic because creativity can just as well operate assimilatingly (or osmoticly, or conceptionally, or with omni-frequency).


Imagine how different Israel would be if it operated assimilatingly rather than metabolically.

Imagine how different Israel would be if it operated ocmotically rather than metabolically.

Imagine how different Israel would be if it operated conceptionally rather than metabolically.

Imagine how different Israel would be if it operated with omni-frequency rather than metabolically.

Dec 4, 12 6:07 pm

Again, I never wrote about the metabolic nature of creativity (as if all creativity were somehow metabolic). I wrote about the dual, creative/destructive operation of the metabolic process, and, hence, the dual, creative/destructive operation of the metabolic imagination. But never did I infer that then all creativity stems from the metabolic imagination.

Dec 4, 12 6:17 pm

For those who are interested in the sordid history of US involvement in the middle east, here's a very illuminating book:

The book has some flaws (Oren is dismissive of the USS Liberty incident and Israeli espionage activity against the USA, for instance, and does not cover the post-1948 Israeli era in the same depth as the rest of the book...the omissions are quite telling), but generally well-researched and very interesting. We've been making a nuisance out of ourselves in the Arab world since Jeffereson's quixotic sorties against the Barbary Pirates.

Dec 4, 12 6:58 pm
chatter of clouds

(i will borrow quondam's terminologies here if i may...)

Quondam, metabolic as in the catabolic destruction of the preexisting inhabitation of lands by arabs (and others) in tandem with the anabolic reification of a jewish identity on the same terrain?

i am thinking of french colonialism in mount lebanon and indeed there was more of an osmotic process mostly with the indigineous catholics...tradewise. although culturally, it was more of a one-way plasmolysis. actually, the french were far superior to the anglosaxons in terms of colonialism, culturally speaking. the british took far more than they gave;  the french diffused their culture and their language. on the other hand, the turks spread their adminstrative and geopolitical model moreso than their language. one can still read the inherited discernment between different areas based on sancaks, vilayets and so on within the levant.

the truly greatest empires , with all their faults and based on at least partial if not full blast violence or threat thereof, are highly and multi-osmotic; the roman empire during periods of rule by emperors who were of an 'other' origin (phonecian, arab..), the anadalucian islamic empire, the hellenic one, the mongolian and the macedonian ones (as bloody as their origins are, they were deliberately and culturally extremely osmotic).

the US model is torn between two supplementary forms of colonialism that feed off of each other. one which is based on extreme micro-osmosis (capitalism), an extreme form of post-mega-osmosis  and the other having roots in the anglosaxon model, territorial, parasitically monarchical  and centric, 'take the loots back to our country". they do not spread and/or transfer religion, literature or culture, they spread hanes tshirts and baseball caps and of course warplanes and missiles.

Dec 5, 12 1:22 am

tammuz, yes (to your initial question), and nicely done regarding the osmotic.

Dec 5, 12 10:40 am

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