Thursday, April 29, 2010

Violence and the Other

Mildly NSFW, M.I.A.'s new video graphically depicts the violence of state power unleashed against the Other. The clip was directed by Romain Gavras, son of Costa-Gavras. (Clearly a chip off the old block. Bravo!) Contrary to some reports, YouTube didn't yank it--they simply buried it.

"Kick a Ginger Day" was an obvious influence; there are more than a few echoes of Punishment Park in the clip as well. And the new racist legislation in Arizona makes it timely.

How fundamentally easy--and arbitrary--genocide is, really. It's just the last step in a series of steps--the logical consequence of defining whole groups of people as at once inferior and threatening. Skin colour, language, religion: some easily-recognized marker will always be found, and the mobs unleashed under the benign gaze of the state, or with active state involvement.

Even a South Park satirical cartoon had disastrous real-life consequences. In Arizona, the sadistic thug Joe Arpaio is salivating as he plans yet another round-up of Hispanics. Illegal immigrants or not, it never matters to that ageing fascist. He may run for governor of the state, and some observers give him a good shot at winning.

In Canada
our values are already being sorely tested. Today it's Muslim-baiting under the guise of "free speech," no-niqab legislation, singling out citizens for grotesque government mistreatment. Tomorrow...?

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