Friday, November 19, 2010

There is No Hope for Us

It seems like every step mankind makes towards progress: emancipation, universal suffrage, the designated hitter; it takes another step backwards. Even within the last few decades we've seen ethnic cleansing, unnecessary wars, and the continuation of repressive regimes that deny equal rights to their citizens. It begs the question as to whether humans are in any way evolving into more mature and peaceful beings; or if we are destined to retain our darker habits, like seeking dominance through violence and social stratification, and watching reality television.

Sometime in June this year, after the Israel/Gaza flotilla episode, I visited the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. I wish I'd done more to capture the worst of what I saw. On it's own, Hagen Daas trash and spectators casually walking on the pillars don't seem like apathy to the slaughter of so many people. But there were better ways to make this point that I failed to capture. I didn't take a picture of the guys laughing and drinking beers. They were the first scene of disrespect I encountered, so I didn't think to take a picture because I didn't realize I was in for a full day of it. Video would have been better for these teenagers at the bottom here. They were jumping from one side to the other, using the memorial as a high-risk jungle gym. Video would have also done more justice to the girls with the bright umbrella up top were laughing it up like they were on a modeling shoot. And video of the overweight Arab looking guys walking behind them, these guys made a point to jump up on all the pillars they passed and then looked around to make sure people saw they were doing it. That's what made me think of the flotilla episode because I racially profiled their disrespect to mean they were unhappy with Israel policy and used this minor desecration of the Holocaust memorial to make their point instead of channeling their anger in a more productive fashion. Nonetheless, it made me realize how we're all fucked. Every last one of us.

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