Saturday, January 01, 2005


For a while I wasn't really sure how to respond to the tsunami. People would ask me about it, and I would just kind of mimick their statements, which usually amount to thin or empty statements which can appear to be very deep.

According to Slavoj Zizek, the homo sacer for this century are those who can only receive humanitarian aid. Those who can only be acted upon but can never act. Isn't this the way in which we ALWAYS tend to look at people in the "third world?" For example, in Afghanistan, when it was on the verge of being bombed and invaded did anyone think that maybe the type of assistance that the country should receive, should not be humanitarian handouts, but reparations which admit to the US and Soviet roles in destroying the country, as well as provide ways in which the country could help itself. The focus instead was on how Afghan women need our help, or that we need to help these people survive.

In these contexts, it is interesting how to survive and to live aren't the same thing. Those starving masses can survive, but so long as they remain their, they are not allowed to live.

How does one relate to this tragedy in Asia? Is it possible to relate to it in an ethical or original way, which doesn't just orientalize/ exoticize or repeat too often repeated platitudes? The ways in which the poorer regions of Asia, Africa and even South America have been represented limits me in how I can respond to this event.

Maybe I'm just reacted against the pressure to form a packaged response. Maybe it is because people want bit-sized, easily digested bytes of speech, that forming a reponse is so difficult.

Si Yu'us ha' tumungo' todu, ya put i ti Yu'us yu', ti hu tungo'...

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