Editors' Notes

Maria Damon and Michelle Greenblatt
Jim Leftwich and Michelle Greenblatt
Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt

A Visual Conversation on Michelle Greenblatt's ASHES AND SEEDS with Stephen Harrison, Monika Mori | MOO, Jonathan Penton and Michelle Greenblatt

Letters for Michelle: with work by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jeffrey Side, Larry Goodell, mark hartenbach, Charles J. Butler, Alexandria Bryan and Brian Kovich

Visual Poetry by Reed Altemus
Poetry by Glen Armstrong
Poetry by Lana Bella
A Eulogic Poem by John M. Bennett
Elegic Poetry by John M. Bennett
Poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
A Eulogy by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Joel Chace
A Spoken Word Poem and Visual Art by K.R. Copeland
A Eulogy by Alan Fyfe
Poetry by Win Harms
Poetry by Carolyn Hembree
Poetry by Cindy Hochman
A Eulogy by Steffen Horstmann
A Eulogic Poem by Dylan Krieger
An Elegic Poem by Dylan Krieger
Visual Art by Donna Kuhn
Poetry by Louise Landes Levi
Poetry by Jim Lineberger
Poetry by Dennis Mahagin
Poetry by Peter Marra
A Eulogy by Frankie Metro
A Song by Alexis Moon and Jonathan Penton
Poetry by Jay Passer
A Eulogy by Jonathan Penton
Visual Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier
Visual Art by Marthe Reed
A Eulogy by Gabriel Ricard
Poetry by Alison Ross
A Short Movie by Bernd Sauermann
Poetry by Christopher Shipman
A Spoken Word Poem by Larissa Shmailo
A Eulogic Poem by Jay Sizemore
Elegic Poetry by Jay Sizemore
Poetry by Felino A. Soriano
Visual Art by Jamie Stoneman
Poetry by Ray Succre
Poetry by Yuriy Tarnawsky
A Song by Marc Vincenz

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Arab Rites of Spring
by Arturo Desimone

The Arab Spring was named by non-Arabs after the anti-soviet offshoots of perestroika in formerly Russian-colonized Eastern Europe. As a construct of the Western imagination, 'The Arab Spring' is in itself an Orientalist fantasy.

In her mosaic called "The Myths and Legends Room," exhibited in the Carthage museum of Tunis, the Egyptian artist Hala Elkoussy expressed this reality among many other mysteries of her country. Elkoussy adorned her tapestry-circus of demonstrators and missing children haunted by the spectres of the military state with images of the cheapest kind of internalized Orientalist spectacles: magicians making people levitate, swamis hanging upside down, the cobras and hypnotists.

Why would Arab revolutions be celebrated as posh causes in Western Europe and the United States by those who before would not hesitate to stereotype the former peoples as submissive fanatics? The West now celebrated the new accountability of the people who blamed Israel and the West for their problems, the ones who only took action when a mediocre Danish cartoonist drew Mohammed, albeit this depiction of the Quranic illiterate prophet had him wearing an explosive bomb-turban.

Why would the former racists, the former patriots of Europe and North America who saw their national martyrologies in the execution of Theo Van Gogh and in the September 11th fall of the Towers suddenly rush to celebrate the causes of Libya, Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, and other countries of which they knew almost nothing?

Why did Israelis take to the streets as well, calling their demonstrations a revolution inspired by the Arab revolution, to protest housing and employment crises in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv?

The Israeli revolution inspired by Arab revolts made, perhaps unsurprisingly, very little mention of any kind of solidarity with the desire of Palestinian Arab population to not live under sustained occupation. In Israel, there were important and pressing oppressions to take stances against, such as the housing market in Jerusalem, but no mention of house demolitions by the Israeli army.

But this is not entirely fair to the Israeli appearance on the stage of Arab rites of Spring: one motivation in Israel was the Israeli Labor-left's indignation towards the religious right and settler movement. It seems despite the passionate solemnity behind humanist anti-settler stances, that Israeli concern with settler's aggression and power-politics is primarily out of the fear of the religious neo-Judaism taking over and compromising Israel's secular-Zionist character. Israel's middle classes often fearfully prognosticate a looming "Jewish Iran" replacing their democracy. For Israelis' their main concern has to be none other than the integrity of the Jewish state, while the suffering of Palestinians at the hands of the non-religious or secular Zionists remains a humanitarian side issue.1

"Arab Spring," the revolts in Arab countries against their dictators and oligarchs, as reinterpreted and reconstituted in the commercial imaginary of Europe and America's media, is by no means a revolution of Arabs against clear enemies who are external to them. There is neither mention in the historic coverage of how Ben Ali's was a US and French client state, nor how Mobarak was an Arab-facade regime for the United States and an ally of Israel—perhaps sadly, his client-allegiance with Israel earned him more hatred from his people than all his police state crimes against Egyptians who were abducted and tortured in junta-fashion for decades.

Elites in Europe-America adhering to a capitalist and business-oriented way of life could never support a revolution of any kind should they have noticed this revolution opposed more than an image or a symbol, that it revolted against existing power relations. They would never have cheered solidarity had this revolution appeared as not only cultural but also economic and concerning international and beyond-national political hierarchies.

Western audiences from right to progressive elite would have not taken pleasure in an upheaval that transcended the meridian-like painted borders of cultures and clashing civilizations drawn by right wing Ivy League intellectuals serving as their states and corporations' propagandists. The word revolution was archaic and politically incorrect, irrational and quixotic only until January 2011.

The Arab Spring was a revolution, by Western perceptions, of Arabs against themselves, Arabs against their inherent Arabness. Their sympathizers in powerful economic societies witnessed their Arab struggles in the media and then celebrated domestic imitations of the quasi-religious and esoteric Occupy movements—Occupy is covered now daily in Tikkun magazine of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and has self-appointed Hegelian prophets who act as its representatives such as the apocalyptic and at times apparently histrionic Zeitgeist movement.

The West failed to see, as its media completely failed to report, a movement of Arabs who were acting in accordance to their own, natural and civilizationally inherent morality, reason, emotion. It seemed Arabs were acting on feelings, intellectual motivations, and a rationality and masculinity that were all in fact essentially alien to themselves, to their societies, history and cultures. The Arabs had become alien from what is commonly argued or held to be Arab; they had not merely overthrown brutal dictators and drugdealers who had imprisoned their Arab philosophers and poets, they could not biologically or culturally be outraged at the police state records of disappearances, the abductions of dissidents, the organized robbery.

Outside the Arab world those who accepted the neoliberal status quo had long believed the old European colonial slogans about Africa and the Orient, which continued and still lives to this day in the vocal-chords of Israeli politicians justifying onslaughts on Gaza: "The Arabs only understand the language of the use of Force." The West was celebrating not a successful chain of historic Arab uprisings within the long centuries-old history of Arab uprisings, their jubilee was at The Arab Epiphany: "they got it," as popular philosopher Slavoj Zizek cheered in his praise of the Swiss Islamist Tariq Ramadan as if the latter were a delegate of Egyptian revolution. They, the Arabs, had understood a language that was not of brute force or sluggish conformity to domination, unthinking, irrational. At last they had instead awakened to a force utterly foreign to them, propelling them in a Gandhian, pacifistic war against Arabness.

1 We should not discount, however, that many Israelis of lower classes originate in countries such as the Greater Maghreb and Yemen, and had parents who may have endured the same or similar regimes that were toppled. Hopefully to some extent the happiness and marches among Oriental Jews had less to do with Israeli housing markets but was a revindication of memory: for a few weeks some of the Arab Jews ceased to be the more-recent Arab immigrants who had to denounce and swear off places they knew before the aaliyoth in the later 20th century, when always under scrutiny of Isreali nativist middle class' accusation of patriotic disloyalty and lack of eagerness to assimilate in the new country, the dilemma of new immigrants in many countries.

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