this is a poem about feelings
here’s some money
to collaborate with invaders
how do you feel?
if this poem is white supremacy
there’s a euro boot on your neck
how do you feel?
if this poem is a dominant force
do you resist?
do you understand your oppressor
forgive them and heal them
be nice to the boot
as it crushes you to death
if this poem is oppression
if this poem is about land theft
whatever you do, don’t judge whitey
that won’t feed them
this is a poem about irony
it’s not about me
it’s never fair
divide and rule
they take your share
can’t you see
it’s not about you
they’re never kind
they have your absence in mind
this is a poem about hegemony
this is a poem about genocide
when there’s none alive to object
nowhere left to hide

October 16, 2023

Gaza Guernica

Those who remain silent and pretend to be neutral about deliberate psychopathic criminality, which Israel has conducted against the people of Palestine since 1948 in order to steal their land become complicit with genocide.

As Desmond Tutu said:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

Raz Segal, an Israeli expert in modern genocide:

‘I think that, indeed, what we’re seeing now in Gaza is a case of genocide. We have to understand that the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide from 1948 requires that we see special intent for genocide to happen. And to quote the convention, intent to destroy a group is defined as racial, ethnic, religious or national as such that is collectively, not just individuals. And this intent, as we just heard, is on full display by Israeli politicians and army officers since 7th of October. We heard Israel’s president. It’s well-known what the Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on 9th of October declaring a complete siege on Gaza, cutting off water, food, fuel, stating that “We’re fighting human animals,” and we will react “accordingly.” He also said that “We will eliminate everything.” We know that Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari, for example, acknowledged wanton destruction and said explicitly, “The emphasis on damage and not on accuracy.” So we’re seeing the special intent on full display. And really, I have to say, if this is not special intent to commit genocide, I really don’t know what is.’

The parallels with British colonial genocide of Aboriginal people in Australia are striking.

‘The analysis of the frontier genocides waged against the Aboriginal Tasmanians, the Yuki of California, and the Herero of Namibia reveals a surprisingly congruent pattern despite the fact that the cases took place on different continents, under different regimes, and in different periods. The pattern divides into three phases. Colonists initiate the first by invasion. Economic and political
frictions then develop between the two groups as they struggle for limited resources and political power. Unable to compete with the invaders’ technology, arms, and wealth, the indigenous people find their economy fundamentally threatened and basic political rights denied under the settler regime. Aboriginal people begin the second phase by attacking settlers and their property in an attempt to regain access to economic resources, reclaim lost land, protect political rights, or exact revenge. Settlers and their government then retaliate, but cannot quickly defeat the indigenous peoples’ guerilla insurgency. Out of frustration and expediency, the invaders choose a “final solution” to the military conflict.

During and after the genocidal military campaign, the settlers’ government initiates the final phase by incarcerating Aboriginal people in camps that bear comparison with the Soviet gulag. In these reservations, settler governments continue genocidal policy though a varying combination of malnutrition, insufficient protection from the elements, inadequate medical care, overwork, unsanitary conditions, and violence.’

Invasion Day 2018

Settler Colonialism

False Muse

what is this verbose cotton wool
but suffocation of truth?
sentinel poet effuses verse
for privileged settlers
descant to daily injustices
chorused in white racist media
relentless revisions of theft and denial
endless rights and return betrayal
triumphalism of patriarchal curses
veiled advice to contaminate resistance
normalise collaboration
embrace post-colonial defeat
tender submission to ongoing genocide
for security of invaders
boot must sink in hard
negative peace sucks the bones
such brave generous poetry
healing to conqueror spirit
a noxious complicity with drones
rubbing noses of oppressed
in the misery of their predicament
with hubris of beauty and art
escaped red lines revealed
in anodyne alliterations
and poetic capitulations

January 26, 2018

Invasion Day


January 26, 2018

Related Links

“The new campaign to deny the Aboriginal genocide, led by Quadrant, was taken up in the Australian mass media by a chorus of right wing columnists with records of antagonism to Aborigines and “leftist” supporters, and easy access to a wide public.”

In Genocide and Resistance in Southeast Asia by Ben Kiernan.

‘Even within the realm of literature, political writers and readers knew that their enemies were active. In 1956, Richard Krygier, head of the local arm of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, established Quadrant, explicitly intended, as he put it, as ‘a counterweight to the kind of leftism so evident in Meanjin.’ The founders of Quadrant liaised about their project with ASIO and Prime Minister Robert Menzies; their funding came primarily from the the Congress for Cultural Freedom.

Yes, that’s right – Quadrant, that scourge of tax-payer funded arts organisations, owes its existence to money secretly siphoned from American taxpayers courtesy of the CIA.’


‘ After a series of exposes and repudiations of the CIA connection, in 1967 McAuley published a careful response in Quadrant admitting the funding from the CIA was ‘deplorable’, but no more than ‘a well-intentioned blunder’. His defence that he had been an unwitting recipient of CIA largesse has been restated by the new editor of Quadrant and by its previous editors. Yet how was McAuley so unaware when Clem Christesen knew the money came from the CIA as far back as 1956? How was it that the editor of Quadrant had shown so little curiosity as to the source of money being so liberally handed out? A quick perusal of McAuley’s editorials give the flavour of the invective he would employ should the editor of a left-wing magazine discover he had ‘unwittingly’ been receiving 40% of his income from the KGB.’


‘THE conservative magazine Quadrant has accused the Australia Council of political bias after its annual grant for next year was cut by 30 per cent, from $50,000 to $35,000.

Quadrant’s editor, the historian Keith Windschuttle, a key protagonist in the history wars who denies that the removal of Aboriginal children from their families was racist or deliberate policy, has written to subscribers saying the decision by the council’s literature board was ”patently political”.’


‘The troubles Quadders has with Ozco funding might suggest that they would have an easier time returning to the CIA as their main funding source. But wait – in Cassadnra Pybus’s The Devil and James McAuley, we learn that the Congress for Cultural Freedom (the irony-free CIA front set up to pay for magazines like Encounter and Quadrant) repeatedly warned the magazine’s early editors that it was too politically strident, and not publishing enough of genuine cultural worth.

Got that? Even the CIA thought Quadrant didn’t publish enough good poetry.’


On Israeli Settler Colonialism and Indigeneity

Guest post by David Rylance:

On indigeneity, I wish to make a historical point. And I wish to start by acknowledging that it is absolutely true that there is a difference to the usual “plot” of settler-colonialism in Israel’s case, which usually revolves around a division of natives and foreigners. Certainly there could be no claims for origination from the land in the case of the Anglo-European extermination of American First Nations or Australian Aborigines, for example. However, indigenous “identity” is based on something far more fundamental than an identity claim to a historical relation to territory. It’s based on the concrete experience of dispossession from the place that one lives and the only home one knows. Even counting in the late terrible conditions in and after the Second World War, the experience of Jewish settlers was one of either deliberate planned immigration or, alternatively, of refugee flight. They had every grounds to flee and every right to be accepted wherever they fled to – *especially* Palestine. And Leftists of any principle will today defend the principles of open borders, precisely, in part, because of the quotas and closed borders that everywhere met the Jews in the lead-up to the Second World War. But there is a distinction between open borders and a project of colonization aimed at absorbing a territory under its own exclusive political power. Only the Right insists those two things are confusable, that too “large” an immigration is immediately a colonization – as though the free movement of peoples were a type of violent takeover in itself – and that colonization, meanwhile, as it has happened historically – especially in terms of the European dispersion across the globe – was ultimately little more than a regrettable but “inevitable” form of “modernizing” immigration of peoples.

I’m not sure if it’s apocryphal but it’s said that there was an exchange, reported in the memoir of Maarouf al-Dawalibi, between King Faisal of Saudi Arabia (hardly a progressive) and Charles de Gaulle (also anything but a Leftist) on this issue of indigeneity. I’ll quote from the text available online:

[In 1967], Charles De Gaulle held a dialogue with [Saudi] King Faisal. De Gaulle told King Faisal that the Jews have a right to Palestine because they lived there 4,000 years ago. King Faisal told him that in that case, France belongs to Rome, because 3,000 years ago, the Romans were in France. Does every country that occupies another country [have a right to it]? Palestine is the country of the Palestinians,who have lived there since the day God created it. If every country belonged to the people who entered it, no country in the world would belong to its people.
[De Gaulle] said: But some Jews were born in Palestine, and therefore, it is their country.
[King Faisal] asked: How many embassies are there in France?
[De Gaulle] said: 150 embassies.
[King Faisal] asked: What if every ambassador or embassy worker whose wife gives birth in France were to demand that France belong to him because his children were born in France? France would be lost to you.
Charles De Gaulle was speechless, and he was so convinced by what King Faisal said that he banned the sale of arms to the Jews in those days.

I’d amend this in a crucial manner. Rather than speak of embassy births in comparison to the Jewish population of Palestine – a population that was also, in 1948, comprised of many native Jews, with as fully continuous a territorial existence in Palestine as Palestinian Arabs, who were coerced and forced into shattering all civic social ties they had built with Palestinian neighbours in order to vindicate the declaration of “independence” forced down upon them – I would compare the formation of Israel based on claims to the historical lineage of Jewish births in the region – and thus a Jewish indigeneity, a non-foreign claim – as being equivalent to New Guinea being able to prove that the Aboriginal population of Australia had descended from migrations from its territory tens of thousands of years ago and to then make claims for its right to a *New Guinean* state on Australian territory due to the fact the Indigenous Aboriginals of Australia were, “in fact”, not indigenous *Australians* – native to their country of indigenous attachment – but were, on the contrary, a New Guinean diaspora that must identify with their New Guinea-ness now in order to qualify as indigenous.

That’s the plight of what Zionism inflicted on many Jews in Palestine – not invested in this project of state-formation – in the lead-up to 1948. As Ariella Azoulay, a Jewish Israeli, argues, one of the greatest crimes in this entire business has been the way racialization – deeply connected to capitalist state-formation – has enabled Israelis to insist that whatever the nakba might be, it is only a catatsrophe *from their point of view*, that it has nothing to do with a violence that had to forge an essential and absolute dividing line between Jews and Arabs that sliced across the civil society that actually existed on the ground. She writes of 1948: “Dayr Yasin, Sheikh Mouanis, Kibbutz Saris, Majdal, Sidna Ali, Miske and Rashpon are only a few of the places where Jews and Arabs tried to preserve their lives in common.” The utter devastation of that society – not only by the Zionist movement, I should add, if it was by that movement primarily and fundamentally, but also by the power politics of surrounding regimes which were deeply disinvested from care about the Palestinians’ autonomy and concerned more about the militarized colonial threat they could (quite correctly) see brewing on their doorstep – determines everything about Israel/Palestine today, from the shattered splintering of the Palestinian people into “citizens” of Israel, subjects of the occupation, “foreigners” in Gaza and exiles in the disapora to the perennial siege mentality, eulogization of state and military chauvinism, and deeply narcissistic wound culture of Israel that instrumentalizes trauma (sometimes real, but mostly imagined) both so hysterically and so cynically. To claim, then, that a very real Jewish historical indigenity in Palestine justifies the exclusivist and chauvinist Israeli state is not only wrong, it is an obscene erasure of the entanglements and interrelations in a single civil society that were the actual truth of that indigenous history. And this is exactly why there has always been, from the very moment Zionism came into being as a national-colonial political ideology, anti-Zionist Jews absolutely resolute upon opposing it not just for the sake of Palestinians but *for the sake of its oppressive demands upon Jewish indigeneity and diversity*, not only in Palestine but all over the world.

So I ask all of you who care for indigenous rights not to be confused by what can appear a very seductive argument about “conflicted justice” in this situation which exploits this fine point about indigenous ties. There is, indeed, in this historical relation a difference that sets Israel off from almost all other settler-colonialisms but it is *not* a difference that negates the fact it *is* a settler-colonial state, only that it has imposed that fact not merely upon Palestinians but also upon many Jews who lived in Palestine who it now claims, totalistically, to represent.