The awarding of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union in a Dutch newspaper cartoon was mocked by depicting the Nobel committee at the end of its deliberations, realising it forgot to select the peace laureate. One member shouts, ‘Quick, a name! A short one please!’
The true misjudgement of course is that the EU, rewarded for its supposed role in preventing war in post-1945 Europe, began as a sideshow to preparation for war with the Soviet bloc and today terrorises southern Europe, whilst lining up for war with Syria and Iran.
In the 1950s, the first initiatives towards Western European integration were taken by France to prevent a straightforward resurrection of West German economic and military power as favoured by the Atlantic ruling class. There was real compromise involved but early European integration still was part of the West’s Cold War line-up.
The sovereign language usually manages to subdue the inner syntax of civil language so that it is interpreted mainly as a series of goal-oriented actions whose meaning is construed to lie within the hegemonic political language. By restricting our understanding of revolution to national contexts, by associating it directly with well-defined goals and particular results, history, and political discourse since the end of the 18th century has delayed the emergence of a civil language according to which revolutionary history could appear as a single, albeit interrupted, campaign.
Jerusalem, Mamila Street, November 1947
The UN's newly unveiled partition plan is contrary to the wishes of most of the country's inhabitants. Palestinians took to the streets in protest. This was the last time Palestinian protest was perceived as a civil movement. Since then they have been doomed to expulsion and have been viewed as mere assailants from without. Unknown photographer, Central Zionist Archive.
The time has come for Palestinians to return to Palestine. It is time for Israeli Jews to cease the reproduction of violence, maintaining the consequences of the constitutive violence of 1948 that made Israeli Jews citizens, and Palestinians - non-citizens of their homeland. The time has come for Israeli Jews to recognize the constitutive disaster – the Nakba – not only as a Palestinian catastrophe but as a catastrophe in the production of which they are implicated on a daily basis.
The time has come for the second generation of perpetrators – descendants of those who expelled Palestinians from their homeland – to claim our right, our fundamental and inalienable human right: the right not to be perpetrators. Without this fundamental right one can never be a citizen governed equally with others.
An extract from 'It's Palestinians who have the right to defend themselves' by Seumas Milne for the Guardian on Tuesday 20 November.
The way western politicians and media have pontificated about Israel's onslaught on Gaza, you'd think it was facing an unprovoked attack from a well-armed foreign power. Israel had every "right to defend itself",Barack Obama declared. "No country on earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders."
He was echoed by Britain's foreign secretary, William Hague, who declared that the Palestinian Islamists of Hamas bore "principal responsibility" for Israel's bombardment of the open-air prison that is the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, most western media have echoed Israel's claim that its assault is in retaliation for Hamas rocket attacks; the BBC speaks wearisomely of a conflict of "ancient hatreds".