Monday, October 19, 2009 at 05:07PM
Shanghai is modernity in action, it is up for business, its many staggering new high-rise buildings, spear the imagination as well as the sky. It is saturated with festive almost unreal glamour, it is soaking in wealth, it is overwhelmingly proud and yet, it is humane, very humane in fact. It is habitable, it is relatively quiet, it feels safe, it welcomes you on board. It is the Western Metropolis wannabe, yet it is in the East.
I was advised before my journey that Shanghai is not exactly a cultural shock, quite the opposite; one seems to have met Shanghai in ones urban fantasy a long time before landing there. Shanghai is in fact the incarnation of the Western urban dream: it is an astonishing materialisation of everything the Western metropolis is claiming to be. In parts it is the embodiment of the urban imagery; it is what New York was aiming at but somehow failed to reach. In other parts, it is the ultimate urban tranquillity of a Parisian tree-lined avenue with small bars and cosy cafés. It offers everything a big city can offer in terms of culture, entertainment, business and food yet it is totally sympathetic to its visitors and inhabitants.
I was teaching jazz in China this week and performed at the Shanghai Jazz Festival, Though I was pretty busy with my students, Jazz combos, concerts and other musical commitments, I tried to absorb as much as I could. I travelled around, tried to meet local people and to grasp this miracle. I, for instance, visited the Shanghai Music Fair, probably the biggest music fair in the world.
China is now the biggest producer of Western musical instruments. And guess what, they are making some unbelievably good saxophones out there. I have tried and reviewed Chinese saxophones in the past. For some reason I was always pretty convinced that the many Chinese brands were made by one or two manufacturers. Somehow, all contemporary Chinese saxophones and clarinets follow a very similar design and they are all equally good. In the music fair I realised that I was totally wrong. There are actually many small Saxophone manufacturers and they are all very good at it. The Chinese manufacturers whom I met were actually seeking criticism. In a very modest manner they would ask for your honest opinion of their different models. They just want to make it better. They want to improve.
China is a financial miracle. It is
about to surpass Japan as the worlds second largest
economy. It is expected to leave America behind within
the next five years and to become the world's largest
economy. China is the largest producer of most industrial
and agriculture products. In spite of the ongoing Western
criticism of Chinas political structure and its one
party system, the success of China proves that its
political system and economic model maybe far more
efficient than anything Western democracies can offer.
Unlike the crumbling English Speaking Empire and other
Western service economies, China is a productive society
and it is ruled by a single Peoples
Party. Rather than copying the Western economic
model and value system, China adopted some Western
advantages, modified them and integrated them into its
own economic model and social system.
China and Israel
In my Shanghai visit I stayed in a rather fancy Western hotel. Already on my arrival just after checking in, while attending the tourist desk, a familiar golden Menora * shined at me from one of the tourist brochures. I picked it up, The Jews in Shanghai, it said: the story of 30.000 Jews who found shelter in Shanghai between 1933 and 1941. I guess that you can no longer imagine a metropolis on this planet unless it has some relevance to the Holocaust or the Jews. Visitors to Shanghai have a lot to choose from: temples, sight seeing, shopping, new developing markets, food, Chinese folklore and ofcourse even a bit of Shoa business. I honestly believe that no one, except a few Jews, is interested in the historical role of Shanghai in the Holocaust. And yet, the brochure was there for a reason. Many Israelis and Jews are visiting Shanghai in the last two decades, as China and Shanghai are the future and the Israelis know it very well.In the breakfast at the hotel I could hear a lot of Hebrew. They were not Israeli tourists. They were actually selling and buying. They were meeting local businessmen already at 8.00 am. But it wasnt just business.
In the bus that picked us up to go to the festivals stage, we found an Israeli flag hanging under the drivers front mirror. A quick inquiry with the assistance of our English speaking stage manager revealed that the band to play before us was an Israeli Dixieland band. I may as well mention that I myself have lived in Britain for 15 years, I travel around the world with musicians from many different parts of the world and I have never seen a single musician leaving nationalist souvenirs anywhere. For Israeli artists, so it seems, leaving their Star of David is apparently a common practice.
I soon realised that I knew those Israeli Dixieland musicians, they were actually my old friends from Israel. Some of them were my teachers and mentors others had been playing in my band. Two of them were very close friends of mine at the time. Needless to say that it was very exciting to meet them after so many years. In fact they were very good at what they were doing. They could play the music and they clearly mastered the Dixieland style. On stage I heard one of my old friends telling the Chinese audience, here we are, 60 years for the Peoples Republic of China, 61 years for the Jewish State and all we really want is peace. Such a simple message, we the Jews and you the Chinese all share one simple belief.
The Israeli horn player may not have realised that a few hours earlier the Peoples Republic of China voted in favor of adopting the Goldstone report at the Human Rights Council. As far as China is concerned, Israeli war crimes should be further investigated.
A lot of China's success story is because it is run by a very unique Peoples party political system. It is a miracle because it somehow manages to restrain hard capitalism with a unique socially orientated system. It is a big question whether there is room in this system to accommodate Israel, a bourgeoisie nationalist philosophy based on racial supremacy and choseness in general.
After all I
am a Proper Zionist Jew
Yes, I am a survivor, for I have managed to survive all the scary accounts of the Holocaust: the one about the soap (1), the one about the lamp shades, the one about the camps, the mass shooting, the one about the gas (2) and the one about the death march (3). I just managed to survive them all.
In spite of all these fear inflicting stories, that were purposely installed in my soul since I opened my eyes for the first time, I have become a functional and even a successful human being. I somehow survived the horror against all odds. I even manage to love my neighbour. In spite of all these fearful, traumatic indoctrination I miraculously managed to master my cheering alto saxophone rather than the sobbing violin.
In fact, I have already decided that in case the Queen, or any other member of the Royal Family should ever consider to make me into a Sir for my bebop achievements, or even for facing Zionist barbarism with my bare pen, I will immediately change my surname from Atzmon to Vive, just to become the first and only Sir Vive.
I am also totally against Holocaust denial
I clearly resent those who deny the genocides that are taking place in the name of the Holocaust. Palestine is one example, Iraq is another and the one that is set for Iran, is probably too scary to contemplate.
The Holocaust is a relatively new religion (4). It lacks mercy or compassion, instead it promises revenge through retribution. For its followers, it is somehow liberating because it allows them to punish whoever they like as long they gain some pleasure. This may explain why the Israelis ended up punishing the Palestinians for crimes that were committed by Europeans. It is rather clear that the newly emerging religion is not just about eye for an eye; it is actually an eye for thousands and thousands of eyes.
A month ago, while visiting in Auschwitz, Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak left a note in the official visitors book: a strong Israel is both the comfort and the revenge(5). No one could summarise the aspiration of the religion any better. The Holocaust religion doesnt offer redemption. It is a crude violent manifestation of sheer collective brutality. It cannot resolve anything, for aggression can only lead to more and more aggression. In the Holocaust religion there is neither room for peace or grace. Take it from Barak, revenge is where they find comfort.
To deny the danger posed by the Holocaust religion and its followers is to be complicit in a growing crime against humanity and against every possible human value.
I am also in total support of the Jewish National Project
Some believe that after 2000 years of phantasmic Diaspora Jews are indeed entitled to an imaginary national home land of their own. The Zionists apparently meant it sincerely. The Jewish state is now realistic enough to have turned the entire Middle East into a ticking bomb.
Reviewing the Israeli record of crimes against humanity in the last six decades doesnt leave much room for speculation. We are dealing here with a pathological sinister society. Hence, as much as some of us may agree that Jews should enjoy a hypothetical right for a land of their own, planet Earth is certainly not the ideal location for such an affair.
Hence, I would urge NASA to join in and to make a special effort to find a suitable alternative planet for the Zionist homeland in outer space or even in another galaxy. The Galactic Zionist project would signify the immediate move from promised land to promised planet. I would enthusiastically stress that rather than searching for a land with no people for a people with no land, what we really want is a lonely planet. It can even be a desert for they claim to know how to make the desert bloom. In a planet of their own the galactic Zionists wouldnt need to oppress anyone, they wouldnt ethnically cleanse either, they wouldnt have to lock the indigenous people in concentration camps, for there wont be any indigenous people around to abuse, starve, murder and cleanse. They wouldnt have to pour white phosphorous over their neighbours for there wont be any neighbours. I would highly recommend NASA to search for a planet with very low gravity just to make it light for people to wander around. After all, we want the new galactic Zionists to enjoy their futuristic project as much as the Palestinians and many others may enjoy their absence.
So here I am, a proper Jew after all: I am a survivor, I oppose Holocaust denial, I support the Jewish national aspiration. Even the chief Rabbi of Britain cannot ask for more than that.
(1) Acknowledged recently to be a myth by the Israeli holocaust museum Yad Vashem
(2) A historical fact protected by European Law.
(3) A slightly confusing narrative. If the Nazis were interested in annihilating the entire European Jewish population as suggested by the orthodox Zionist holocaust narrative, then it is rather ambiguous as to just what led them to march what was left of European Jewry, into their crumbling Nazi fatherland at a time when it was clear that they were losing the war. The two narratives i.e. annihilation and death march, seem to oppose each other. The issue deserves further elaboration. I would just suggest that the reasonable answers I have come across may severely damage the Zionist holocaust narrative.
(4) The Israeli Philosophy professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz was probably the first to define the holocaust as the new Jewish religion.