Back in the day (1999), I was sat in my dorm room smoking pot with a young American woman, an Iranian guy and an American Jew.
The two men broke out into an argument (quelle surprise) that got gradually more heated, because the Iranian believed that the numbers of Jews murdered in the Nazi hollocaust had been exaggerated by the media for political purposes.
My friend and I weren’t phased, but were little annoyed that they were spoiling the moment, before she shut them both up with an insightful comment.
She said, “Joe, if you were born in Iran, and Amir, if you were born in America, you’d still be having the same argument but from the opposite point of view”
She was right, of course.
But at the same time, there is such a thing as objective truth.
Finding the objective truth is difficult. But there are a couple of tools you can apply.
As a general rule, those that have the biggest media platform, are the most powerful. Those that have the least, are the least powerful.
You can also add another, less reliable, measure to the mix, which is: Does this ring true? This method relies on subjectivity, but it can be helpful sometimes when you can’t decide whether the movie you’re watching, the news you’re reading, the stats you’re looking at, the class you’re taking, are actually offering you truthful and accurate information.
Radical feminists have a platform of a handful of unmonetized blogs, mostly archived now. Most blogs have been closed, shut down. Radfems get the odd conference here and there, which are never televised. The odd book. Going by my rules radfems are pretty powerless.
By comparison the Jewish media platform is overwhelmingly powerful.
By the time I was 15, I had seen more than 10 American movies about the Holocaust, as well as countless documentaries on this topic. Since that time even more Hollywood movies on this topic have been released.
Let’s be clear. I believe the Nazis tried to exterminate the Jews. I’ve been to Bergen Belsen in Germany, seen the Nazi propaganda. I believe the numbers are probably about par. It rings true. I also don’t think there’s any wrong at all with making innumerable movies about the history of your people being put in concentration camps. On the contrary, it’s morally right.
But just to give you an idea of how powerful the Jewish media platform is.
In my lifetime I have seen:
One movie about Britain during the second world war. (I have seen some documentaries on this)
No movies about the witch-craze, in any country. There’s a documentary flying about made by some Canadian feminists. Hard to find online. I’ve never seen it televised.
No movies about Hiroshima.
Not a single movie made by Native Americans.
I have yet to see a single movie about the Russians murdered during WW2. Some figures estimate that Hitler killed up to 30 million Russians. Hitler killed far more Russians than he killed Jews. Never seen a movie about it.
After the war, when Stalin came to power, he murdered a further estimated 40 million Russians in concentration camps all over Siberia.
Mao Zedong murdered 60 million in the twentieth century. I’ve read one book about it, written by a Chinese woman. Never seen a movie about it.
Pol Pot killed 7-8 million in Cambodia between 1963 and 1997. I found out about that from reading a tiny article in a woman’s magazine when I was 16. Cosmopolitan, I think. Random. It had sneaked past the censorship on account of it being a woman’s story, and therefore a “women’s issue”.
I’ve seen a couple of movies about African slavery. I know that some have been released recently, actually made by Africans. They’re not in cinemas nearby.
No movies about the Aborigines in Australia.
To be fair, the U.S made a good attempt at atonement for Vietnam. I’ve seen plenty of American movies about the atrocities committed there. But I’ve not seen any movies made by the Vietnamese themselves. Very telling.
I’ve seen one Indian feminist movie about Pulan Devi televized in the U.K.
And obviously no movies about what the British, French, Belgians and Spanish have been up to in their colonies around the world, in general, and how this still affects politics today.
But why would I, a non-Jew, and a non-Russian, living in the U.K, have seen more about the holocaust of the Jews than all the other, just as important, just as terrifying, historical events?
The obvious answer to me is, some people have the power to create a worldwide media platform, and some people don’t.
Those who have the power, are the ones whose stories we hear about. To be a legitimate movie, to me, the people whose stories it tells have to be invested in it. So movies about prostitutes, for example, made by men, don’t count. The movies/documentaries have to be made by prostitutes, or at least funded by the particular group in question, to have any significant contribution to furthering understanding. And it’s no good you telling me “but I’ve seen them“. Because my answer would be “well, why haven’t I?”
There was an interesting British movie a few years back about Eastern European sex trafficking. Interesting, until the woman had to have sex with the journalist Brit good guy who saved her, because he let her stay at his place to escape the Moldovian pimps.
Right at this moment there is media footage available about a protest march being held by thousands of Jewish and Palestinian women. This is a good united front. I am not suspicious about the motivations. However, I am suspicious as to why the media is reporting on the march. When looking at that part of the world, you absolutely cannot avoid the undertone of Jewish colonization of Palestine. The fact that in recent history and ongoing today, the Palestinians have been the targets of genocide at the hands of the Jews, is being overlooked. As is the fact that Israel has weapons of mass destruction.
Don’t think the surrounding Arab and Persian countries are unaware that the U.S has its hand in Israel, and has got strategically placed atomic weapons bang in the centre of the middle east. The Muslims are terrified.
Which makes me think the media is reporting the women’s march, not out of any particular interest in women, but because it erases what the Israelis are doing in Palestine.
I’m glad Jewish and Palestinian women are finding solidarity and friendship with each other. It rings true that the march is based on female solidarity and a desire to end bloodshed. And besides, it’s not Jewish women’s fault at all. Jewish women have had a raw deal with the creation of the Israeli state. I’ve not yet read Scapegoat, but Dworkin wrote passionately about the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis in Right Wing Women. She has also written about how Jewish women were dominated by their own men upon the creation of the new state in the twentieth century, how extraordinarily difficult it was for Jewish women to get a divorce, for example. She sees Jewish men as having a masculinity complex due to having been persecuted, which of course they take out on women. And the religion, of course, is no less misogynistic than any other.
You see, this is what Iranians think. They think that the holocaust of the Jews was exaggerated in global media in order to justify Zionism in Israel, and the deaths of Palestinians. And I am personally against the Jews setting up shop in Israel , turning it into a Jewish-governed state, just because their religious scriptures tell them they used to own this land thousands of years ago.
You can’t just use military might to undo history which took place thousands of years ago.
Unless you can.
Unless you are powerful enough to have the military and financial backing behind you. Israel has been relentlessly killing Palestinians for decades, backed by U.S money. Yep, backed by Jewish money.
Powerless people can’t get their land back. Women. Native Americans. Africans. The Welsh. (Lol, that old joke of the Welsh people still existing. Are the Welsh not gone yet?) aren’t able to get their land back from the colonizers. And yet the Jews are able to create a Jewish state based on distant historical land grabs, and in order to do so they throw the people off their land and put them into camps? That’s power.
And the reason I’m writing about media black outs and propaganda is because it’s always relevant to feminism. Especially in light of the fact that we don’t know what type of media other women have been privy to, how much of that media was propaganda, and how the media in their respective countries is censored in general. I think this might be the root of many misunderstandings between women in feminism, when they’re working with women across cultures and countries. We take it as a given that women are coming to us on a level playing field, that they have had access to the same information that we have. That their education has been similar. And we mostly prefer to trust our own media.
So trust noone then? Well, not really. Radfems have had to create their own media. This is what the blogging always meant, to me. There are certain bloggers, and commenters, that I now trust to be authentic– even if I disagree with their points of view. And this is the starting point. Then we learn from each other, build on the truths we know, share knowledge. Radfems are soothsayers (truth-sayers), if nothing else. We also have to be visionaries, to live on the outskirts of media and search for what is real. Mary Daly called this process “pirating”. We have to pirate information and smuggle it back to our sisters, and understand what is what. This is our work.