Friday, April 15, 2005

rough night in jericho

I find it very sad that when I see an article titled Punk rock in the Holy Land I immediately assume it's about Utah. I should have realized that PBS wouldn't use the phrase 'Holy Land' as disparagingly as I do... not everyone knows there was a vibrant punk scene behind the Zion Curtain, and most Americans think that religious oppression is something that happens in distant lands *.

Liz Nord's documentary-in-progress Jericho's Echo shows the punk scene in Israel, where political issues aren't something you read about in the news, they're blowing up all around you. There has always been a high sociopolitical consciousness in the punk scene; add mandatory military service into the mix and rebellion against the consensus narrative takes on a whole new dimension.

Whether they are opposing military service, or providing social commentary as they do their service, or expressing the anger and sadness that seem to be the only reasonable responses to the constant political crisis their country is in, the Israeli punks have something fresh to say... it looks a lot like our scene did in the Reagan years, except we were just getting marginalized, whereas they are getting killed. Unfortunately our government also looks a lot like it did during the Reagan years, and I don't see people here getting too upset about it this time around... it's amazing how for all of our swagger this country has been pissing itself the last few years.

Punk's not dead? I fucking hope not.

* Side note: in a recent interview Tom DeLay said this:
I blame Congress over the last 50 to 100 years for not standing up and taking its responsibility given to it by the Constitution. The reason the judiciary has been able to impose a separation of church and state that's nowhere in the Constitution is that Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had judicial review is because Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had a right to privacy is because Congress didn't stop them.
Putting aside for the moment the fact that this fascist asshole just told us that the only reason we have separation of church and state, judicial review, and the right to privacy is that he and his buddies have so far been unable to take them away from us, technically he is correct that that 'church and state' bit isn't in the Constitution. It is, however, in the first amendment to that document, the very first sentence of the Bill of Rights which begins "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion".

DeLay's statement disregards the 1st, 4th, 9th, and 10th amendments to the Constitution. Of the remaining 6 amendments, 5 are either unapplicable in modern times or have been neutered by the Bush administration. The only one that isn't under attack by the 'right' is the one that lets them have guns. I think it might be time to refine our ideas about just which parts of the planet have oppressive governments.