3 September 2006

Aggression, Active And Passive

There is to be a Branch General Meeting of the SACP Johannesburg Central Branch this morning from 10h00 to 12h00 in the SATAWU offices, Old Mutual Building, 29 Kerk Street, between Loveday and Harrison Streets, Johannesburg. The terrible Israeli colonialist killings continue in the Palestine West Bank and in Gaza to the South. See the linked brief document from Helena Cobban’s “JustWorldNews” blog for some of the details and statistics. Helena Cobban is a professional journalist who writes in the Christian Science Monitor. She used to live in Lebanon and has often visited other parts of the Middle East as well as South Africa and parts of East Africa. The Israeli colonialists, when they realised they could not steal land from the Lebanese to their North, last month had to agree to a ceasefire. But as soon as they knew that the ceasefire was coming they dropped 100,000 “cluster bombs” that they knew would kill and maim civilian non-combatants and especially children. They knew that the people they had driven out with their high-explosive demolition bombs were coming back. They dropped these atrocious weapons that kill ordinary people who are at peace, so as for years afterwards to keep killing and crippling their children. See the linked document. The whole of North and South America was colonised in the past, and most countries there are still to this day ruled by whites who are descended from the former colonisers. How does this happen? The events in Mexico at the present time can tell us a lot about it. The article linked below is a little long but it is an eye-witness account. Tim Cohen is the Chief Reporter of the Business Day and writes a column in their new Saturday newspaper, called the Weekender. Yesterday’s column (linked below) was about bloggers, but it seems that Cohen does not know the field very well. He says that bloggers are not reliable, safe, sensible, honest or fair. Actually, the nature of the Internet means that there is no clearly-defined category called “blog” as distinct from any other kind of web site. An infinite number of variations are available. But even if we just take the kind of blogs that Cohen is referring to, his accusation is demonstrably untrue. For example, Helena Cobban has writing skill of the highest order, with knowledge and experience to match. The same could be said of Tom Engelhardt, who is a professional book editor. As’ad Abukhalil has written many books and writes brilliantly and also humorously. The editor of Counterpunch is a professional writer and son of a writer. There are many more like these. We know that newspapers have been among the greatest offenders against truth in the past. Why accuse bloggers in particular? It should be obvious to Cohen that in all cases it is the quality of the writing that make a publication good, and not whether it is in paper or electronic form. Tim Cohen often writes well, and sometimes he writes about writing. In other words he reflects on what he is doing. In 2003 he wrote a great little gem of an article on the “passive voice” in writing (linked below). This article is very well worth studying by both writers and by readers. Click on these links: Palestine Casualties, Helena Cobban, JustWorldNews (506 words) Israeli cluster bomb war crimes, Stanley Heller, Counterpunch (934 words) Pinche Indios, Mexican Earthquake, John Ross, Counterpunch (2795 words) Maximal bloggers with minimal edits, Tim Cohen, Business Day Weekender (614 words) Passive voice and some among us, Tim Cohen, Business Day (852 words)

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely, your point about the quality of writing is what makes all the difference. Tim Chohen's piece on bloggers is way off the mark, and says far more about the decline of newspapers than he perhaps intended; it's not the bloggers' credibilty at stake here, it's the newspapers.


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