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Flying Kites.

Written By: - Date published: 2:34 pm, June 26th, 2018 - 21 comments
Categories: class war, Deep stuff, discrimination, International, israel, Propaganda, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uk politics, us politics - Tags: ,

“Flying Paper” is a 2014 film documenting the attempt by Palestinian children and youth in Gaza to break the Guinness World Record for flying the most kites simultaneously.

Here’s the trailer.


During recent protests, near the so-called security apparatus that’s been constructed around Gaza, kites with burning tails were drifted over into Israel resulting in some fires. In total, some 7000 acres of farmland have been damaged and some $2 million has been spent on extinguishing whatever fires were started. Hardly big cheese then.

And just not at all congruent with the assertion made three weeks ago by the US’s Mideast envoy that “attack kites” were “indiscriminate weapons” or as reported in The Times of Israel, Israel’s Public Security Minister calling for a “program of assassinations targeting those who fly burning kites from Gaza to Israel

I lost count of the numbers of Palestinians wounded and killed by Israeli fire over the duration of the demonstration leading up to the 5th of June – the day that marked 70 years since Palestinians had been dispossessed of their homes and land, that often enough lies impossibly far away and in clear sight on the Israeli side of the Gaza wall/fence/barrier/border.

And now, on the tail end of whatever international condemnation there may have been over the slaughter of unarmed Palestinians by Israeli armed forces, Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, is gracing Israel with an official state visit that’s (according to The Guardian) “hugely significant for UK-Israel relations”.

It makes me wonder how genuine the furore being driven over the Trump Administration’s treatment of would be immigrants actually is. Or how much it’s just more of that same old yanking on the heart strings of a populace, meant to keep us busy and occupied with an endless stream of temporary distractions, while the real business of business grinds on – unchallenged, out of sight, beneath it all.

Or maybe there’s a rationale that would explain wh Mexicans, but not Palestinians? Or Syrians, but only when the photograph of a dead baby boy’s is circulated by the world’s media, and certainly not when people voluntarily venture into the Mediterranean or across the English Channel to bring people to safety?

It might seem that human tragedy is to be seen as a series of disjointed adverts in close up, presuming to elicit contradictory and ephemeral emotional responses in us. It might seem we are not to see any dots, or join any dots or look at the big picture. It might seem we are to surrender to an idea of so much going on that no one is able to keep track of it, and so retreat to our personal, manipulated orbits and enjoy them while they last.

21 comments on “Flying Kites. ”

  1. One Two 1

    ‘News’ is scripted drama, Bill…

    There are thousands of script writers, although there are only 2 major channels for ‘news’ distribution…


    You are correct. Heartstrings are being yanked with endless streams of distractions…

    Meanwhile the ‘big picture’ continues to be drawn in public view…and too many fail to see that picture for what it is…

  2. McFlock 2

    Or it could just be that public opinion is mercurial, because all these issues deserve our constant outrage but if we lived like that we’d shoot ourselves, so we have fits and starts when a particularly powerful image is taken or when the issue touches the “domestic” news category for the dominant power in decline.

    • Bill 2.1

      Public opinion is “mercurial”…meaning we only care about children in distress on some Tuesday’s of the month or year because “self preservation”? I don’t buy that

      Of course, we can’t live with the particulars of all the injustices of the world in our mind, having our feelings dominated each and every moment of the day by them.

      But we don’t have to know the ins and outs of each discrete piece of suffering that’s being imposed from a position of power, to get a handle on the fact the suffering’s being imposed, and to know where it comes from, and to alter any complicit actions or attitudes we may harbour accordingly.

      Maybe a focused “determination” to deny, challenge or root out the source of suffering in it’s identifiable political, systemic and cultural guises would serve everyone better than our mere impotent “outrage” at the spectacle of it?

      But I guess that means reaching for scissors that would fray and sever those strings of influence that have us dance to tunes favoured by political elites and cliques and….freedom scares far too many people.

      Manipulated orbits of concern and focus contain pleasures enough for most, aye?

      • McFlock 2.1.1

        We care. But the world is a big place with a lot of suffering and a lot of good, as well.
        And caring is an emotional response. The degree of emotion is the degree of connection we have. For most people now, “Syrian refugee” will be little more than a collection of words rationally understood. A dead baby on a beach gave a visceral understanding, but that understanding has an expiry date when the next outrage comes along.

        It’s not a puppetry problem. It’s a volume of information to be processed problem.

        • Bill

          From the post (last para)

          It might seem we are not to see any dots, or join any dots or look at the big picture. It might seem we are to surrender to an idea of so much going on that no one is able to keep track of it, and so retreat to our personal, manipulated orbits and enjoy them while they last.

          You think the fast paced clatter of news, whereby something reported a few days back is “last week’s thing” just “happens”?

          And when an issue is dominating the headlines, you don’t think the narrow (and usually predictable) range of acceptable opinion or analyses given air time, lends itself to the puppetry analogy?

          The discrete pieces of information don’t have to be (can’t be) processed one by one by one in order to arrive at an understanding of the world.

          • McFlock

            I think that the news cycle is largely driven by media catering to an audience that craves novelty and rewards immediacy rather than accuracy.

            Sure, there are examples of specific projects that use this tendency in order to serve a lie or simply muddy the information waters, but by and large I think most reporters and editors try to deliver accurate representations of what happens. But the time and information space is limited in traditional media, and studious expert research online isn’t highly rewarded or even overly distinguishable from a decent bullshitter.

            It’s not puppetry. The slowest router in the information chain is the space between our ears – we can do only one thing at a time. You want to know about all the issues relating to Syria? That’s going to eat into the time you can spend on Darfur, Western Sahara, Myanmar, Juarez, or where-ever. The more in-depth articles get published about one, the more the others are ignored. And then of course media opinion pieces aren’t written for geopolitical specialists, but audience members who might give more regard to football scores or regional water maintenance issues than the latest massacres.

            MSM can’t deliver quality, rigorous, in-depth, diverse but always reputable, sophisticated analyses for every issue on a long term basis. The attention it pays to one issue takes focus away from every other issue.

            It’s not puppetry, it’s practically a law of physics. You can know everything about one thing only, or a little bit about a lot of things. People pay money for the latter, very rarely the former.

            • Bill

              So who do you think the people are who pay money so we get fed a little about a lot?

              As for in depth, like I said before, the range of opinions and/or analyses given air time on any given political topic are narrow and largely predictable.

              And I’ve already agreed, we can’t know everything about everything. But when we’re constantly driven to the next big shallow thing (shallow in its treatment), we never get the chance to step back and purview the bigger picture.

              On whose behalf were our emotional strings yanked on yesterday’s, last week’s, and today’s various “big” stories do you think? Or do you reckon the news is simply driven by events, presented neutrally, and in a manner unshaped by any conscious or institutional bias?

              • McFlock

                There are two main models of capitalist media financing: direct subscription and advertising revenue.

                Direct subscription is when people pay for access to articles run with an editorial approach that serves the audience’s priorities. Those tend to go slightly more in depth, fwiw.

                Advertising revenue is when companies and suchlike pay the media company for advertising based on the size and characteristics of the audience of that media company.

                Thing is, nobody is forced to watch a particular news channel, just as nobody is forced to eat at mcdonalds.

                Also note, reliability and truthfulness are only factors in audience size for those news outlets that cater to an audience that cares about such things. A bit like restaurants that cater to discerning patrons, vs people who will shovel any old shit down their gullets.

                • Bill

                  Thing is, nobody is forced to watch a particular news channel, just as nobody is forced to eat at mcdonalds.

                  Sure. But at least there’s a choice in quality when it comes to eateries.

                  Reliability is only the product of the narrow range of opinions and analyses on offer – in other words, by the broad adherence to ideological parameters. Not much cop for news then, but a fine way to reinforce a broader message while appearing to offer a range of critical evaluations.

                  When was the last time you witnessed a progressive or left voice being given air time by mainstream media (a Ralph Nader say)?

                  Truthfulness doesn’t flourish in that environment of reliability.

                  Here’s a very good example illustrating the results of that lack, as provided by John Oliver’s reporting on Venezuela (echoing the standard line cast by all news outlets) and the subsequent take down of his piece by Mike Prysne (producer of the Empire Files).

                  Going back to your comparative analogy, it’s not at all unreasonable to suggest that many of the supposedly discerning patrons are happily wolfing down “glued meat” in the belief they are eating a prime eye fillet.

                  • McFlock

                    You might want to check on the proportion of sales by chain eateries such as maccas or KFC as opposed to regular cafes or actual fine dining.

                    Because just as you found a dude who serves the ‘takedown’ of JO, yesterday I found a delightful Korean joint in manners st that had me and two other customers for my entire visit. And they still served coke as well as kimchi. But the maccas across the road hasn’t had less than half a dozen customers every time I walk past.

                    I suspect news outlets are pretty similar. You’re annoyed that Subway doesn’t serve kimchi.

                    • Bill

                      That’s a pretty redundant use of analogy there McFlock, but I’ll stick with it (sort of), while I correct your ridiculous assertion over the source of any “annoyance” I might have.

                      If the BBC served up multiple, quality analyses from across the political spectrum (kimchi) and also gave us trivia and smash (coke), while other outlets (eg “The Sun”) only served up the media equivalent of coke, I’d have no complaints at all. None.

                      The mere fact we can have a coherent exchange over the integrity/lack of integrity or positioning of mainstream outlets, itself belies the fact that there’s a problem with those outlets.

                      Even this small blog has a more diverse range of views on given topics (as evinced by the posts that go up) than does the BBC, TVNZ, CNN, Washington Post etc – and that’s whether they are viewed separately or as a whole.

                      Just like this blog, there should be no discernible “position” when it comes to major outlets, unless it is one they are openly stating and running with.

                    • McFlock

                      So you like kimchi, and the BBC serves the mainstream burgers as well as kinchi on the side. You’re happy.
                      Others will use your complaint because there’s no takoyaki, or mongolian horse milk, cobra heart, or any other “in depth” dish that suits their perspective. But have you ever seen a restaurant that serves every single depth of every single cultural cuisine on the planet? Of course not.

                      Yet that is what you want from corporate media. You want businesses that cater to bulk, mainstream, global populations to serve deeply-crafted information dishes from a multitude of perspectives.

                      This blog isn’t funded by advertising revenue. That gives editorial freedom. It gives people the freedom to work without worrying about ratings – if a post gest f-all comments and views, it doesn’t endanger the viability of the blogsite. But even so, I suspect there are more posts about Palestine than there are about the ongoing South Sudan or Myanmar situations. That’s not due to corporate puppetry, it’s just the way people work.

                    • Bill

                      Looks like you’re on your way to 180 from media catering to an audience that craves novelty and rewards immediacy rather than accuracy when you imply that advertising revenue drives content (This blog isn’t funded by advertising revenue. That gives editorial freedom.)

                      Though, it’s only fair to point out that the BBC isn’t funded by advertising revenue. And PBS isn’t funded by advertising revenue. So there’s more to the homogeneity of msm than just advertising revenue.

                      But still…

                      Oh. And the reasons I haven’t done posts on South Sudan, Myanmer (or any number of other topics) are varied but specific, and range across and beyond such factors as simply not having access to info, the shorter format of posts, can’t be arsed battling ingrained prejudice/bias…

                      Maybe for others, it’s just (as you say) “the way people work”. I wouldn’t presume to know.

                    • McFlock

                      dunno how that’s a 180 – analogies do only go so far.

                      But I wasn’t criticising authors for ignoring an issue – merely suggesting that expecting an MSM newsroom to not have similar or greater constraints is a bit unfair. It’s still down to column inches and camera time.

  3. ropata 3

    This stuff about children in cages in the USA is horrific for a civilised country but it also serves as a distraction from all sorts of other shit, like Yemen and Palestine. I’m rather cynical about any reporting from the US corporate media and tend to get news filtered through twitter and blogs. Probably just as bad but at least you get a few outside perspectives.

    In Stoic philosophy, the human condition is suffering but it’s incumbent on each of us to work on fixing it.

    • Sabine 3.1

      its not a distraction its a continuation of the same racists attitude. After all the stolen kids are brown.

      and one can be horrified by what is happening in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, soon to come to Iran, Jordan and of course Gaza and still be horrified that now babies are being taken away from their families and warehoused somewhere in the States to never be returned to their families.

      One can talk and walk at the same time.

      But i guess that unless Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, several countries is Africa, PNG, etc is saved or something, its ok for other people to loose their rights too. Right?

      who is next?

      • Bill 3.1.1

        What’s the common denominator in all of those things/places listed?

        Surely it’s that which deserves our anger, resistance and opposition?

        Running around with a focus on the effects from an underlying cause, while ignoring the underlying cause itself, is just a recipe for entering into a never ending series of battles…

      • One Two 3.1.2

        “Who is next”…

        Every nation will be taken by force…if they do not submit.. NZ has submitted…

        No need to focus on constituent parts when the whole picture is visible…

      • ropata 3.1.3

        But i guess that unless Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, several countries is Africa, PNG, etc is saved or something, its ok for other people to loose their rights too. Right?

        No. As finite humans we can only take responsibility for things within our sphere of influence. As supposedly liberal democracies, we ought to uphold the law

        And the scale of the crimes against humanity by the US military are much greater than those of ICE agents

        Bush dropped 70,000 bombs in 5 countries. Obama dropped 100,000 bombs in 7 countries. Trump ramped up campaign of death to unseen levels dropping 44,000 bombs in 1st year alone. 121 a day. US obliterates innocent lives every 12 minutes in our name @LeeCamp https://t.co/p3c5YvdB7b— Abby Martin (@AbbyMartin) June 21, 2018


  4. Venezia 4

    So the Duke of Cambridge has been sent to Israel for what? To boost UK profits from Israel’s militarism? Promote the business of UK banks, financial institutions and the 19 companies known to supply Israeli military and government with weapons to support their war crimes against Palestinian people? https://waronwant.org/resources/deadly-investments
    Now I see the journalists accredited to cover the meeting of HRH with Netanyahu have been racially and ethnically profiled and turned away if they are suspected of not promoting the positive corporate spin. So the royal family continues their complicity in genocide once again.

  5. corodale 5

    Yeah, London goes way back to that money.
    Israel may well need that friendship again, with Germany due to scale back export gifts, to save Europe. UK should be funded by Europe to send in police.
    Shifting German support to Turkey may well be the trick to slowly getting folk back home.
    The other options list seems rather short.

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