“The clash of civilizations”. This was the prognosis for the post-Cold War era, and some would argue that this prognosis came true. Since the end of the Cold War, we have certainly seen more and more people from different cultures and religions fighting each other. Others, however, might consider this a self-fulfilling prophecy. PROPAGANDA takes a different approach: We ask the question, “What is Civilization?” A lot of words get thrown around, and we don’t say clearly what they mean. Often this is inevitable: A phenomenon can be experienced and described by different people in different ways. The phenomenon of life, after all, is that of our various, individual, lived experiences, and it’s not as if experiences can be wrong or right. “Civilization” is one such ambiguously defined word, and to us it is very telling that its meaning often goes unchallenged. “It’s so obvious what civilization is! We’re living in it!” But what is this “it”, exactly? In this week’s #CIA “What is Cilivilization” Nawaz asks the question and leads us through the arguments that have been made to his own involving plurality and modernity. But first, Andrew and Chell take over this week’s #GPS “Standing Rock and Castro” (in a violent revolution??) with a bit of #Castro and a lot of #StandingRock. Tune in!
// Audio (download)
The Nobodies (Eduardo Galeano)
Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping poverty: that one magical day good luck will suddenly rain down on them–will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn’t rain down yesterday, today, tomorrow, or ever. Good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day with their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms.
The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing. The nobodies: the no ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way.
Who are not, but could be.
Who don’t speak languages, but dialects.
Who don’t have religions, but superstitions.
Who don’t create art, but handicrafts.
Who don’t have culture, but folklore.
Who are not human beings, but human resources.
Who do not have faces, but arms.
Who do not have names, but numbers.
Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the police blotter of the local paper.
The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.
Sueñan las pulgas con comprarse un perro y sueñan los nadies con salir de pobres, que algún mágico día llueva de pronto la buena suerte, que llueva a cántaros la buena suerte; pero la buena suerte no llueve ayer, ni hoy, ni mañana, ni nunca, ni en llovizna cae del cielo la buena suerte, por mucho que los nadies la llamen y aunque les pique la mano izquierda, o se levanten con el pie derecho, o empiecen el año cambiando de escoba.
Los nadies: los hijos de nadie, los dueños de nada. Los nadies: los ningunos, los niguneados, corriendo la liebre, muriendo la vida, jodidos, rejodidos.
Que no son, aunque sean.
Que no hablan idiomas, sino dialectos.
Que no profesan religiones, sino supersticiones.
Que no hacen arte, sino artesanías.
Que no practican cultura, sino folklore.
Que no son seres humanos, sino recursos humanos.
Que no tienen cara, sino brazos.
Que no tienen nombre, sino número.
Que no figuran en la historia universal, sino en la crónica roja de la prensa local.
Los nadies, que cuestan menos que la bala que los mata.