Rome, avocados, and post colonial thoughts

Today we went to the ‘ethnic’ market (the place where liberal States frame their acceptance of the ‘other’, and let him sell his goods). Avocados looked nice at one particular stand but I was quickly repulsed by an etiquette saying that they came from Israel. Call it an ‘Arab’ reflex, this little chill down your spine when you something or someone baring the mark of ‘the Israeli’, but hey, can’t help it. How many countries produce avocados around the world? And its Israel who gets to have its avocados on the lucrative EU markets. I don’t think this is what economists call ‘competition’…

So why oh why do the Europeans import their avocados from Israel? Because of something called a ‘preferential trade agreement‘. There seems to be a petition to suspend the EU-Israel agreement (not that I believe in petitions but you could go sign it).

Anyway so I quickly stepped away from this vegetable/fruit place and went to another one whose avocados looked nicer. As I could not find a country of origin displayed, I asked the guy if he knew where these avocados were from. The guy diligently started looking between boxes until he finally claimed triumphantly pointing his finger to one label that they were from South Africa. I couldn’t help but think of the once prevalent Apartheid regime and all that, but then I’m like, the hell with it, it is still better than buying Israeli, and as I am paying the guy, he asks me where I am from, I answer him and return the question to which he answers: Bengladesh. And so being a bit surprised, judging from his light color of skin (forgive my quick stereotype here), I tell him that I thought he was Spanish or something. He immediately screams with a huge smile: Thank you!

Ok so what was this all about? Bengladeshis wanting to be Spaniards or anything else European for that matter. This is what it was all about. The ‘colonized’ wants to be like the once ‘colonial’ and today ‘European’. Antonio Gramsci (being in Rome I should refer to Italians) once explained that Marxist revolution in terms of the appearance of working class consciousness was not going to work just like that because ‘the poor’ wants to become ‘the rich’, to emulate him, to identify to the image he makes of ‘the rich’. This could be extended to any type of social distinguishing group (so instead of class we could thing of any ‘type’ of social group). The colonized/colonizing, first world/third world, us/them basically, given that ‘them’ looks more afluent or powerful, more at ease etc.

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Long live the Worker… in Lebanon

This is just hilarious. Do you know that in London where you have one of the oldest tradition of Labor syndicates (hell if I’m not mistaken, historically the first labor syndicate), today on the 1st of May, “the worker’s day”, everybody is working?

I think the only place on the planet where the whole country is paralyzed is in Lebanon. Funny, because, isn’t it the country where you basically don’t even have a proper Labor syndicate? Isn’t it the country where workers are not represented and never really mobilized for their rights because they are basically bribed by their various confessional lords?

So I don’t understand, there is no coherent labor organization who could succeed in doing anything cross-sectarian for the public interest in the history of Lebanon, yet workers are celebrating something today. I am very curious as to what they are celebrating. Please somebody give me one good reason for them to sit idle today. The “1st of May” is actually a way to buy labor forces off by giving them a symbolic gift (a day in their name) so that they shut the fuck up and continue accepting the main partitioning of resources between elites.

This is why the 1st of May is like any other celebrated day ‘religious’ or not. It has the same objective: to keep the oppressed dormant, quiescent and in denial of his real situation. Whether it is the birth of a prophet or some ‘liberating’ day of one sort or another, any occasion is good for Lebanese to sit idle and wait for “the other” to change things for them.