Omar Barghouti, the Guardian and “Post-Normal” Journalism

A guest post by Geary

Anyone who has visited the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ site over the last couple of days will have been greeted slap-bang in the middle of the page by a video message from Omar Barghouti, looking as well-tailored and manicured as any Arab dictator’s favourite son. Omar’s message, taking time off from his doctorate at Tel Aviv University, was how persecuted he was by the Apartheid-State-of-Israel (perhaps they actually make him attend early morning lectures or produce the odd chapter form time to time; cruel and unusual indeed).

His message too was the importance of bringing down the Apartheid-State-of-Israel by all means possible. And in true Kitchenerean fashion he stresses how everyone can play their part. While he and his comrades will do all they can to bring international pressure (“international” being Syria, Iran, Hamas and the International Solidarity Movement goons presumably), you and I can do our bit by engaging in, and encouraging, boycotts, divestments, and sanctions against Israel and Israeli goods. I presume that means not buying them.

It is, therefore a truly heroic sacrifice on Omar’s part to – as he must – read Israeli books, listen to Israeli lecturers, eat Israeli food, breathe the rank apartheid Israeli air, while in his heart boycotting sanctioning and divesting it all.

(Alternatively he might in reality be a secret agent of the Israeli Hasbara, paid to bring ridicule on the BDS movement by the fatuousness of his message.)

As for the Guardian, one wonders. With the Middle East in flames from Tripoli through Tunis, Egypt, Syria, Yemen to Bahrain, our truly focussed organ of the press resolutely reminds us that the real problem in the region is the Apartheid-State-of-Israel.

In the philosophy of science there is current anxiety over the growth of what is being called “post-normal science”. That is science which, instead of the time-honoured scientific method of hypothesis-testing through experiment and observation, relies on theory-building and computer modelling to prove the theory.

Similarly, perhaps the Guardian is inventing a parallel form of “post-normal journalism”. Instead of concentrating on what is happening in the real world, it relies more on prejudice-building and publishing pieces to “prove” the prejudice. Hardly the “Guardian” of journalistic virtues then.

Indeed, whereas a normal whore only entices, stokes and then satisfies her clients’ pet desires, here we have an e-whore which entices, stokes and then assuages her readers’ pet hate.

What would the Tartian do if the Palestinian leaders were ever to get together and make peace? Would she then ply an honest pen or find a new pet hate to revive her flagging advertising revenue? Post-normal whoring, too.

11 replies »

  1. Omar Barghouti has been registered at Tel-Aviv University for a PhD since at least 2002. Is there any chance he ever actually attends any tuition or does anything towards obtaining his PhD (which is on the subject of Palestinian dance). Or is he allowed to be an eternal PhD candidate who uses his student card as a pass between the territories and Israel?

  2. Fortunately for us all, Omar Barghouti is not representative of all Palestinians, as seen this reply to him from Samir el Youssef

    It is, however, both tragic and dangerous that so many in the West – including of course the Guardian – support Barghouti’s passive aggressive methods instead of negotiation, compromise and hopefully – eventual reconciliation.

  3. Geary, where certain people are concerned I decided that the only thing to call their context (or subject or habitat) is Planet Palestine.

    Now with this post-normal phenomenon defined I think I now have to refer also to Planet Guardian.

  4. Israelinurse, I wonder if Adam could reproduce that piece you linked. It is very sobering to see how far things have deteriorated in five years.

    And I wonder if the writer has had anything further to say.

  5. What a great description of the Guardian (and all who sail in her)!!

    How bizarre is it that Israel allows people who call on others to boycott the country to study there. It is really quite perverse, no matter how much I admire the dedication to freedom of expression that is so important. But when that freedom is abused to call for the destruction of the very body that grants that freedom, it is time say that a read line has been crossed.

    In the US this was dealt with years ago by the decision that shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater goes beyond the acceptable limits of free speech. So it should be with those calling for the boycott of Israel, which is clearly meant to be only a step along the path to Israel’s destruction – which really means death for millions of Jews.

  6. You were not allowed to post that he was born in Qatar,grew up in Egypt and moved to Ramallah,they deleted anything that alluded to this.

    He’s as palestinian as I am

    Studying in an Israeli University,and calling for the boycott of Israel…..Biting the hand that feeds you,spitting into the plate that you eat from???????????????

    The Israeli Government does some silly things,but allowing this piece of dog-shit to stay in Israel for more than one second in Israel is beyond belief.

  7. One the posters on that thread called tinlaurelledandhardy coined a new word
    JEWDOM.And according to him/her “Jewdom is an idea”.

  8. Judy – are you sitting down?

    Actually, I believe that Barghouti’s eternal PhD is on the subject of ‘ethics’.

  9. I assume that Omar Barghouti will forcefully denounce the bomb attack in Jerusalem, as a lover of peaceful “resistance”.

  10. Barghouli “ethics” are Islamofascist”ethics”.

    The stoning of women to death for “honor” “ethics”.
    The beheading of bound captives “ethics”.
    The bombing of passenger planes like Pan Am 103 “ethics”.
    The cutting off of the nose of a Afghan girl “ethics”.
    The cutting off of the hand of a thief “ethics”.
    The calls for genocide by the Arab president of the islamofascist regime of iran “ethics”.