I do not know if what we are witnessing is legally considered genocide, but it is deeply tragic and horrifying on a human level and that should count for something. We are witnessing, though, Lemkin's idea of 'vandalism' - the destruction of a collective identity. This is happening through the bombing of Gaza's libraries, archives and universities, which house the collective knowledge, thoughts, writings, and poetry of its people, along with the destruction of centuries old mosques and architecture and, of course, the killing of Gaza's scholars, poets, writers, artists and all those that give expression to 'collective identity'. A recent Guardian article expressed it well: "...to void the architecture of belonging..." (Article title: 'What does it mean to erase a people - a nation, culture, identity? In Gaza, we are beginning to find out' by Nesrine Malik - also worth watching the 2012 documentary 'The Great Book Robbery')

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Dec 19, 2023Liked by Justin Ling

What is happening in Gaza is clearly genocidal......and the longer it continues, the more clarity the world will have on the precise meaning of that word. This article brings up some interesting historical details that most of us had no knowledge of.......but what might be missing is the nature of the clear signals that a genocide may be in progress.

1. Collective punishment is against international law........it is central to this current conflict. Israel versus Hamas? Don't make me laugh.....its the Israeli army against the entire population of Gaza.

2. Indescriminate bombing of hospitals, schools, water and power supplies: Good heavens, there's a lot of Hamas fighters out there.........and they do seem to be gathered wherever essential services struggle to survive.

3. The Denial of Water, Food, Medicine...imagine boys and girls, Israel gets to inspect all trucks entering Gaza.

4. Reports of soldiers shooting rooms full of civilians including children.....its not just three Israelis, waving a white flag and speaking Hebrew that were mistaken for Hamas.

Genocidal campaigns violate all the limitations the Geneva conventions tried to put on War. Genocidal campaigns have to posit an absolute evil in order to commit the absolute evil of genocide.

And why the civilized world has been so timid to name what in this case in particular, is so openly obvious on the nightly news........is beyond me. Scared of setting a precedent that might tie our hands in the future? That's the only reason I can come up with.

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Genocide is such a trigger word, too easily used and not one that will bring two sides together to talk about peace. I have struggled also with te overuse of "international law" , like there is a jude out there tha can arrest and charge someone for this multigenerational war.

Thanks, best for the holiday

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Dec 20, 2023Liked by Justin Ling

Merry xmas Justin. I say that as an atheist but I have a history. For all I know you could be Jewish because a lot of great writers are. What do I know?

This substack subscription has been worth it. Looking forward to the next dispatch. Happiness and success in 2024.

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Tangentially, I'm seeing multiple posts on Mastodon the last week urging me to give up SS, cancel all my subscriptions, that would include yours, to protest their lack of Nazi-censorship.

I'm taking their word for it, there, that the word "Nazi" is actually appropriate - after the way X went, I have to acknowledge the possibility.

What's interesting is that X, which I only know by description, quickly developed complaints that everybody was seeing Nazi posts and Nazi bot-replies and so forth. SS, on the other hand, I haven't seen a single thing except subscriptions and the random feed of possibly-interesting posts on my Home page. Particularly the ones (Noah Smith, Dan Gardener) that I've clicked on before.

SS would appear to not be using an algorithm for random recommendations that is likely to throw the worst at me. Either that, or they are 0.01% of a million substacks, and these folks have gone looking hard for reason to be offended.

Nazi-esque posts are a big part of your beat, Mr. L! You packing your bags just after we all go comfortable with a new delivery mech, or "staying to fight", or just ignoring it all until it's in your face?

I've of the latter persuasion for now. SS has allowed me to get JL, Paul Wells, and David Moscrop for a reasonable price, and the warm feeling that they directly appreciate the support, but also have enough supporters that all 3 of you have cheerfully tossed away disgruntled ones to curate your comments.

Direct user-pay rather than ads, for me, is the Great Digital Hope for saving journalism.

And here's a thing: I used to work on the UofC "Gauntlet", (sometimes elbow-to-elbow with Jim Stanford as we did paste-up, now I brag about it) and we'd take the boards up to the North Hill News presses about midnight to be printed. You'd see what else they were printing. Not just their own neighbourhood-level ad rag, but ANY job that put ink on paper, some of it barely-legal in 1980.

Lets just say that "underground comix" and the LGBTQ community both benefited from the North Hill News taking any legal work. (Small enough circulation, like the Communist Party, that today you'd just laserprint. We had "Gestetners" in blurry blue. Look it up.)

My point is that the Gauntlet readers never saw anything else printed by the North Hill News. If NHN had a sideline of randomly inserting "Daily Worker" editorials into Gauntlet pages, we'd have had a problem.

So if SS (my cutie nickname, which turned out to be very obvious on Mastodon) keeps their substacks apart, and I don't see them with MY subscription, then they're the North Hill News. If I do, then they are X and it is only a matter of time. We've all seen it happen over and over.

I wouldn't leave early, but I would eventually.

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So I've been thinking about this for a few weeks. The short answer is: I'm not going to leave Substack, no, and I'd recommend against others leaving as well — though, ultimately, people can decide for themselves. I am trying to snag an interview that might help me flesh out my longer thoughts, we'll see where that goes.

The medium-length answer: There are straight-up Nazis on this platform. They use Nazi iconography and are pretty straightup about being Nazis. They're pretty marginal and I have a suspicion that Substack blacklists then from the recommendation algorithm. Even still, I'd like to see them banned. I think "no literal Nazis" is an easy line to manage.

Then there are multiple Substacks that run the gamut from crypto-Nazi to white nationalist, roughly in line with Tucker Carlson. I don't see how you can set a test that doesn't either become extreme arbitrary or extremely strict. I don't like Substack recommending those outlets to my readers — and if they did, I'd have complaints. But I don't think it says anything about my publication that those publications exist on the same platform.

I'm just increasingly worried about balkanizing the internet based on lines that we all seem very unable to come to consensus on. And given that, we should revert to very clear lines and definitions we can all agree on.

This is why I didn't sign onto this broader petition, from some other Substackers. I think they raise some great points but I just don't agree with them about where the line ought to be: https://www.theverge.com/2023/12/18/24006405/substackers-against-nazis-want-the-company-to-explain-itself

I was at a conference the other week about the Splinternet: the risk that the internet will be split into interoperable or non-overlapping branches. Obviously there's Russia, China, Iran, etc. But we should also be worried about how we attack public spaces online. I was writing about this month's ago: we're gonna need big spaces and little spaces. In our little spaces, I think we expect and demand really stringent standards of participation and discourse. But you can't manage that in big spaces with millions of people. And we need big spaces.

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Oh, and what makes Twitter different is that the leadership is trying to encourage this absolute bullshit and is using its mechanics to do so. Substack, as you note, doesn't.

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Thanks! Here's where a Mastodon activist criticized SS, but also had only nice words for me when I said I'm not leaving yet:


I stressed that Substack is also unlike X in that if I go to "bugeyedandshameless.com" or "volts.com", I see only the author's content, not even thumbnail ads for any other material. By only subscribing from human recommendations, and then going to the substack-powered individual blogs, you can avoid "substack", as such, entirely. Not possible with, umm....ANY other social media??

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Mere "Vandalism" with weapons. I suppose we can live with that. Like Vehicular Homicide isn't murder.

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"The world had already come to ban privacy and slavery"

Should this be "piracy"?

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Yes! Thank you

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