Tuesday, May 03, 2005

free range

At the market today I stopped at the Health Food shop to get some eggs. It's a shop I like a lot, I still think of it as 'Cherry Blossom' although they renamed four years ago to the hideous 'nature-net'. Anyway I found the eggs at the fridge. And when I took one box out, I relized what was written on it: Organic Free Range Eggs from 'Hills of Eternity, Samaria'. I felt like throwing up. I quickly put them back and went outside. 'Hills of Eternity' are a settler outpost near Nablus. The settlers there are probably the worst in the occupied territories (although there's some hard competition). For some years now they have been terrorizing their Palestinian neighbours and any internationals or israeli activists who tried to help them (assault, murder, polluting their drinking water... see this article from Haaretz two years ago). Their leader is now a fugitve after even the IDF and the Courts decided to arrest him.
Beside the anecdote, there's a point I wanted to make. Many of the settler outposts are occupied by young settlers who are anti-authoritarian, hippie-new-agey-spiritual types, who talk a lot about the connection to nature and earth and so on, and they are the most hardcore racist bastards around. Eco-friendliness does not guarantee 'leftist' politics. Many of us share, to some degree, the rejection of oldstyle notions of modernist 'progress' (a naive belief in industry and science and o forth), but this rejection can be taken to very dark places.
Perhaps the link between 'nature' and reactionary politics is not new. Nazi supporters and sympathizers were a strange mixture of those who idealized nature and rural life, and those who worshiped modern industry and power in the shape of cars and tanks. But then at least it was easier to tell the difference. The Left was all for progress and industralization, dams and factory chimneys. Today it's more difficult to place ecological politics into left and right; indeed I'm not sure these terms are still valid.


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