What's this blog about?

As a result of a combination of factors, culminating in the shameful UCU boycott-in-waiting of Israel, I've grown alienated & silenced, working here in one of the UK's finest universities all the while feeling like a Boycotted British Academic, alone in facing some dilemmas of the moment. In this generally chilling environment, it's hard to speak out and be heard, and hear others...and I find myself writing this blog.

What's it about? At present, it seems to me like a rather tortured articulation of the state of being silenced & mute, beyond words; struggling for the right even to use them, for a voice which can still be heard. When it started, all those successive boycott motions ago, I'd hoped it would function as a blog forum of support & solidarity amongst academics similarly-situated to BBA, to help us break through the boycott movement's silencing strategies. That hope remains notwithstanding this silence... Perhaps it lives in trying to articulate beyond the filter of these coping mechanisms of old (denial, avoidance, withdrawal); by way of this labour of finding the words, this voice...
[A forum of sorts has also arisen in the blog's comments, in which others have adopted the BBA moniker in case of need (e.g.
and here exposing the racist hate speech which masquerades as UCU solidarity activism).]

Tuesday 18 March 2008

Mourning a Friend: Anthony Minghella

I only knew him through his movies and writing, through his lectures and public pronouncements, yet I find myself disconsolate on hearing this terrible news. I am, of course, a big fan of his fine body of work, his movies having given me such pleasure, evoked much emotion and taught me lots over the years - years which seem long in having being lived so well & fully, yet too few in number... But when I mourn today, I don't just feel the absence of a brilliant writer & director, a generous teacher, who had so much more to give & produce. I grieve the loss of this man, whose menschlichkeit has won me over to the point that I should experience his passing as if he'd been known to me beyond all this, even accounting for that strong hook of affinity between second-generation immigrant Londoners, a perspective I felt I could recognize in his work and in his being. More than anything, he showed us so fully and in such exemplary fashion what it means to be a decent, good & honourable human being who maintains high standards in everything, in art as in friendship.

His fair-mindedness, good character & fine sensibilities come through in so many ways which those who actually knew him are talking about today all over the place. Let me just put the spotlight on one aspect of the friendship he offered: his championing of Israeli cinema. In doing so, he took a brave political stance in opposition to the boycotter-types with whom we have become so familiar and he showed much solidarity and friendship in these times when both feel in such short supply. When he headed up the British Film Institute, for instance, London hosted a special season devoted to showcasing Israeli movies. The year before, he'd visited the prestigious Jerusalem Film Festival as guest of honour. The festival's director, Lia van Leer, recalls that he

was so taken with Israel last year that he went back to the UK to open a Jewish film festival there with the declaration "I'm a Zionist." And then, van Leer adds with relish, he went on to London's (ultra-liberal-artsie) National Film Theater, where he was greeted accusingly with jeers of "You're a f***ing Zionist!" [source]

Having spent an enlightening time in Israel at the Jerusalem Film Festival, Minghella told us with a laugh: ‘By adoption I guess I am Jewish now. I’d like to be.’ [source]

A life in pictures (podcast of what was probably his last lecture).

1 comment:

Incognito said...

Had no idea he was shunned for his anti-boycott stance. shameful.